Review: The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

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“The Bible says to never take revenge, to leave it to the Lord. But I wasn’t prepared to wait that long.” 
– Darius Kincaid

SYNOPSIS: The world’s top bodyguard gets a new client, a hit man who must testify at the International Criminal Court. They must put their differences aside and work together to make it to the trial on time. – via IMDB

Dear Lord, I didn’t expect a great movie or anything like that, but I am truly shocked at just how terrible this movie turned out to be. It was godawful and a bag of chips. The trailer had me thinking it would be alright, and it literally featured anything worth seeing in this movie.

My husband and I watched this looking for something a little silly, nothing serious, as we were exhausted from packing up the house (again) and thought something light would tick the boxes. Well, uhm, yeah, then there was this. We expected a bit of cheese, instead we got this hunk of junk. It was not even good cheesy, it just sucked. And it was so long. The two hour run time was so excessive – the movie felt even longer than that, while we are at it. A total punishment to watch.

The jokes were so lame in this, and not one brought forth even so much as a smile from me or my husband. It was deadpan all the way and checking the time more often than not. I know, stupid, we are completists and just sat through it and had regrets. I watch terrible movies because it is fun to write about after the fact, and you all know I have seen some really bad ones over the years.

Anyway, not even Ryan Reynolds could save this, and even a healthy dose of Samuel L. Jackson did nothing to cushion the blows from this. Lame, embarrassing, littered with crappy action sequences and horrendous dialogue, the plot is also just stupid and has no kick to make it worthwhile. It is predictable and messy, that’s all there is to it. Reynolds and Jackson work together, but it just isn’t enough for this wreck.

Yes, I disliked The Hitman’s Bodyguard immensely. That it had a decent cast attached to it and still managed to fail is not shocking, but I honestly didn’t think it would be quite so bad. But it is. It’s long, bloated, badly written and comes together poorly, I would say give this movie a wide berth, you won’t be missing anything at all.

Review: Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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“We are dealing with a monster from a bygone era.”
– Preston Packard

SYNOPSIS: A team of scientists explore an uncharted island in the Pacific, venturing into the domain of the mighty Kong, and must fight to escape a primal Eden. – via IMDB

I finally got to this, and I must say that I was more impressed than I expected to be. While Kong: Skull Island has some issues, if you don’t overthink it and just go in for what it was made for (pure entertainment), you are bound to have a pretty good time. I quite enjoyed myself throughout.

I had quite a good time with the humour, which was cheesy at times, but every now and again had a good, sharp snap to it. I also absolutely loved the soundtrack, which was totally right up my alley, and worked with this. I think the movie touted quite the impressive cast, though some of them were underused. None of them were actually given a character to really chew on, but they all served their purpose of bringing the story of Kong to life. I thought Hiddleston to be a good ex-military type, Jackson played who and what he always plays, Larson was solid (as is to be expected), and it was a treat to see Reilly here.

I did not enjoy the romance that was squashed into this (I could totally have done without it), and I must acknowledge that the movie had some super dodgy effects at times. Also, just don’t overthink it, because this is a movie to entertain, not to be picked apart like The Godfather or something. Kong was really cool, and I totally enjoyed his scenes. Those icky-ass monsters on the island that Kong protected everyone from served their purpose – to be gross as hell. Ewwww. There were also plenty fight scenes, and all were done quite well – exactly what they needed to be, which is a blockbuster action film. If that’s what you are going in for for Kong, then that is exactly what you are going to get.

Anyway, there isn’t really much to say about Kong: Skull Island other than it is quite a bit of fun and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I had a few laughs, there were some cool fight sequences, a great soundtrack to carry it all, and decent performances from the cast. It’s seriously not a bad movie to while away some time with.

Rapid Review: Die Hard – With A Vengeance (1995)

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die hard with a vengeace poster

“Why me? What does he got to do with me?”
– John McClane

SYNOPSIS: A man calling himself “Simon” begins a reign of terror in the streets of New York: he threatens to detonate bombs around the city unless Detective John McClane cooperates in a game of “Simon Says”. McClane has a bad hangover and a bad attitude, and isn’t in the mood for games, especially this one. – via IMDB

die hard 3 with a vengeance

GRADE 6.5So, this one started out and is definitely different from the previous two. Something I was not a fan of, and I don’t care what anyone says about it, it is the race card. I know this is an old movie, and I know it was brave for the time, but I am so over hearing about “it’s because I’m black” and “it’s because I’m white” – and before you judge, chill here in South Africa for a little, and we will see how you feel about it then. It was relentlessly hammered in, over and over, and it was so unnecessary. It did not make me laugh. In fact, it just peeved me, as you so obviously can tell. Really bad. Okay, now that we have the race card bitch session out of the way, let’s move on to the movie. What I did like about this was the riddles, which gave a smarted edge to the movie, something that was not exactly present in the last one. However, it also featured characters I did not give a crap about and didn’t care to see whether they made it or not. The main villain was interesting, and I suppose it was good for tying the movies together, but this just wasn’t my favourite. I wonder if these movies really are just a male thing? I don’t know. It was shot quite well and looked pretty good, but the movie just never sucks you in the way it is supposed to, and Willis just came across as a little tired here, which is a pity, because he is usually the best thing about these films. Jeremy Irons was a solid pick for Simon, and definitely was worth a watch. Better to see him in person than to continually hear him on the phones. Uhm, again, don’t really have too much to say about this. I do feel that the movie picked up when it was established that the Federal Reserve was being hustled, and that’s where it got interesting and worth watching, but it is a long prelude to that, and the racial angle is littered throughout, so it makes for a chore to watch.

 

Sporadic Scene: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) – Church Massacre

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You know, Kingsman had a lot of good things going for it, really. It was entertaining, carried by a good cast, had an interesting story, contained good humour and it was shot well. I think one scene that captures how well this was shot and how crazy it could get was definitely the church fight that Harry Hart finds himself in. It is plain down weird. Everything went from perfectly normal, to dissing, to straight up action and insane fights – all choreographed and shot beautifully, keeping you riveted for every second the bloodshed senselessly continued.

If you have a scene that you would like featured, drop me a mail at sporadiczoe@hotmail.com with a link to the scene and an explanation as to why.

Rapid Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)

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kingsman poster

“The suit is the modern gentleman’s armour. The Kingsmen are the new knights.”
– Harry Hart

SYNOPSIS: A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency’s ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius. – via IMDB

kingsman what it iskingsman meeting

GRADE 8I was so stoked to finally get to this. Kingsman: The Secret Service got so many great reviews, and people who loved Bond loved this, so I just had to know what it was all about. British? Spies? Suits? Colin Firth? I was so in. Unfortunately, I missed it in cinemas, which sucked, but I finally got to seeing this. It has been my only break between exams, and damn it, it was a really great one! I had so much fun with this. I thought Colin Firth was absolutely brilliant here, but then, Firth is always good. He is like the epitome of British class, and I love him for it. He was so well suited here (hehehehe – just leave me and my exam brain be). Aside from him, the rest of the cast was highly entertaining, too, what with Samuel L Jackson stepping in as the odd villain, Michael Caine standing as a fancy head of a fancy, top secret institution, Mark Strong as the great technical mastermind (think Q). I enjoyed the throwbacks there were to the Bond franchises, and I have to admit that Kingsman was funny and fresh. I had so many genuinely good laughs throughout. I am so glad that the glasses were explained, because each time I saw something about this movie and saw Colin Firth in those glasses I was like “WTF”. However, it all makes sense eventually. The unknown for me in here was Taron Egerton, though I think he did a really good job with Eggsy, and I enjoyed his character. The action scenes were so exaggerated and the style in was shot and presented in was different, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, it fit so well with what was going on. There was so much that was predictable (do not take that to mean boring) and then there were also places that were plain down shocking, things happening I didn’t really expect. The extreme Britishness of this movie was just so awesome, though some places didn’t seem quite as convincing as they should have, and I loved the suits that we got to see in here (because suits… come on). The costume design overall was very good (aside from the suits now). There were so many absurd moments laced throughout this movie (think McDonald’s) and there were scenes that were perfectly captured (think the church) and dialogue that got you giggling (think politicians), and bringing them all together you get a fresher comedy than we have seen in quite some time. I had such a blast with Kingsman and  highly recommend it – funny, action-filled, entertaining and well shot. What more could you possibly want from a film like this?

Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

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captain america winter soldier poster

“Captain, in order to build a better world sometimes means turning the old one down… and that makes enemies.”
– Alexander Pierce

SYNOPSIS: As Steve Rogers struggles to embrace his role in the modern world, he teams up with a fellow Avenger and S.H.I.E.L.D agent, Black Widow, to battle a new threat from history: an assassin known as the Winter Soldier.  – via IMDB

winter soldier fight

What a movie! I missed the period setting feel of the first one, but this came together so well that it didn’t really matter anymore. This movie was good. It was put together exceptionally well, it looked great, had a good story which progressed at a great pace. The effects were wonderful and the cast was great. I was totally blown away with the appearance of the Winter Soldier, the costume design was fantastic.

I found the Winter Soldier to be quite a badass villain, and definitely one of the more interesting ones in a very long time! For once Black Widow didn’t completely grate on my nerves (I put that on Scarlett Johansson usually though) and they finally made her a little more human. The Nick Fury story arc was very entertaining, and it was nice to see him get more screen time. There were times, however, where I felt that Captain America was a little more in the background than anything.

The camera work was lovely and the score set the mood more often than not. There was a very impressive cast, too, and everything just came together very well. This is the best movie to come from the Phase 2 Marvel films so far, the other movies have been lacking, almost as though Marvel built up to The Avengers in Phase 1, delivered the big bang then sort of tapered out. This shows that they still have the goods.

I absolutely love Captain America, he is awesome, has integrity, loyalty, and is extremely brave and selfless. Chris Evans truly lends life to his character. It was interesting to watch how he is trying to catch up seventy years worth of history as well as find a way to fit into society after the incredibly long hiatus. I thought there were some great twists and turns in here and the plot simply barreled along… so excellent! It was fantastic to watch that shield being flung around again as a weapon and later being caught by the Winter Soldier…? Thrilling. Sebastian Stan was mesmerising as Winter Soldier and gave credence to a new villain and just gave a solid performance all round. Definitely the best villain performance I have seen in years.

The fighting sequences were excellent in here, too. I liked the way they explored Captain America’s disappearance and how people went on after that, even though it was not a terribly in depth look at it. I liked that it was more serious and not run into the ground by excessive cheesy humour. Overall, this movie was extremely well put together and executed and is a wonderful way to follow up on what they did with the original! I would highly recommend seeing this movie, especially in theatres if you can wrangle it… I want to go again… right now…

Review: 1408 (2007)

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1408_mech_052407.indd

“They say you can’t die in your dreams… is that true?”
– Mike Enslin

Mike Enslin (John Cusack) is a washout author of true supernatural events. Since his daughter Katie’s (Jasmine Jessica Anthony) death and split from his wife Lily (Mary McCormack) he has become rather embittered and disenchanted with the world. He does not believe in hauntings, etc. though he makes his bread and butter from it. While on a book signing tour, he received a postcard titillating about room 1408 at The Dolphin, a hotel in New York City. Naturally Mike moves on to go and see what is so “haunted” about this hotel. Nobody wants to give him a room, and eventually Mike resorts to quoting the law. Gerald Olin (Samuel L Jackson) is the hotel manager, and tries his best to dissuade Mike from staying in 1408. Mike has done his research, and knows that some strange things have happened here, but is unconvinced of its authenticity.

1408 mike researching and working

“Hotels are a naturally creepy place… Just think, how many people have slept in that bed before you? How many of them were sick? How many… died?” – Mike Enslin

Olin really makes things difficult for Mike, and Mike is sure that Olin is only hyping the place up, and ultimately makes the decision to stay in 1408, no matter what Olin has to say. Olin tells Mike that fifty six people have died in 1408 over the past ninety five years, and that most of them couldn’t even survive their first hour. Olin has done all he can to warn Mike off, and takes Mike up to the floor when Mike continually insists that there is nothing up there, that the paranormal does not exist. Mike enters the room and starts recording his findings on his little cassette player, making jokes and mockeries. The room is dull and mediocre, leading Mike to believe that there really is a ridiculous hype over nothing, just a ploy to bring in more customers.

1408 olin and mike arguing

“I will let you have this, give you access to my office, you can take notes and put it all in your book. My only condition… is that you do not stay in that room.” – Gerald Olin

Soon, though, things start to go wrong. Little things, nothing too major, and Mike is convinced that someone is playing with him, holding Olin accountable for the trickery. The digital clock in the room later flicks to “60:00”, and Mike finds it humourous that he has a timer now to count down whether or not he can brave an hour. However, it soon turns out that something may very well be wrong with the room, and Mike can no longer disregard the obviously supernatural occurrences surrounding him. Spectral hallucinations take the front and centre and terrible nightmarish thought occur to him. Mike has also found that he cannot leave the room, and desperately tries to contact Lily, his estranged wife.

1408 mike and the noose

“Why do you think people believe in ghosts? For fun? No. It’s the prospect of something after death.” – Gerald Olin

Is 1408 truly haunted? Will Olin come to Mike’s aid, even after making it abundantly clear that he would not be involved with whatever happened? Will Mike survive his hour? Will he go on to write a book with a fresh finesse now that he has experienced something so blatantly supernatural? Does Mike now believe in the paranormal he has for so long refuted?

I would score 1408 a 7/10. I actually enjoyed this movie up until the point where it got messy, but it went ahead and recovered itself, too, so it has a saving grace. Gotta say though the poster is utter rubbish. John Cusack played Mike Enslin so well – cocky, tired of life, and dispirited. Samuel L Jackson was quite entertaining as the hotel manager and gives a few laughs, as well as sets the tone for the formidable and sinister which he believes to reside in room 1408. Enslin’s total disregard for what could happen in there is what lends credibility to the events that do transpire. I thought it was well done when he walked through the rooms and it flashed the victims at their relevant places. The film was progressing just fine, and when things started going faulty in 1408 I could deal with it too. It was all good. But then it was sort of like it lost the plot halfway through, too much messed up and creepy tried to be squashed in, making it nothing short of overly annoying and slightly comical. The film does redeem itself, shockingly, towards the last quarter and manages to keep in with a good pace for the remainder of the duration and settled on a decent conclusion for the tale it told. All in all it was a lot of fun for what it was.

Rapid Review: Django Unchained (2012)

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Django Unchained

“Gentlemen, you had my curiosity. But now you have my attention.”
– Calvin Candie

django unchained training

King Schultz is simply the best!

django unchained king schultz

 

GRADE 9YES! After all this time, all the excitement, the time has finally arrived for me! I am sure I damn near drove you all insane (most notably Chris, Ryan and Tim – sorry, forgot to link) what with posting about it, all the eagerly reading reviews and lamenting the fact that I have not yet seen this film. Tarantino pulled out all the stops, as per usual. It was a really rough thing to watch certain things, and to see the slavery, the despicable Mandingo fights, the injustice suffered due to racism of its time, and the total disregard for fellow human beings and their freedom. However, Tarantino again blew me away with the style that he brought all that drama out and made it tangible, all the while weaving it into a solid story. I know this may sound dreadful, but he packed in plenty of uproariously hilarious humour (but naturally, placed correctly). I laughed so hard at certain places, especially with the hooded group riding in with their lack of sight. Leonardo DiCaprio was again a pleasure to watch, and I was highly entertained by the total role switch of Christoph Waltz from outrageous racist German to a humanitarian German. He had me in stitches, however, being the lunatic that he was. The film was also visually appealing, and it would not be a Tarantino without crazily exaggerated blood, a serious showdown of note, and some core and/or lead character being taken down in a brutal blaze of glory. Overall, this movie was definitely worth the wait and the hype, and lived up to all the expectations that I had for it, and truly rocked my socks. It was worth the wait, and is highly recommended, though if you are not one that is able to stomach violence, then this will most certainly unnerve you and likely not be your cup of tea. Well done, absolutely!

Review: The Avengers (2012) – Overhyped and underwhelming

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The following statement will be deemed heresy by the firm believers in the franchise, the fans and my friends: I was seriously underwhelmed by The Avengers.

I heard about it for months. It was everywhere. I did not see it in theatre, although many of my friends did and went back repeatedly. I was not that desperate to see it, I would wait for the DVD release, after all, The Dark Knight Rises was my extreme freak-out superhero movie for the year.

Just before the release of The Avengers, I rewatched all the movies pertaining to what would become the crime fighting squad. I own both Iron Man movies (big time Robert Downey, Jr junkie, I love his work), and started with them. I progressed to Captain America: The First Avenger, and I was duly impressed (aside from the fact that I am still trying to reconcile Chris Evans being both Johnny Storm and Steve Rogers – I sort of expected to hear “flame on” come up somewhere) with the role that Chris Evans portrayed. He was what I would have expected for a Captain America, and he aced it. It was believable. The movie was entertaining. Then there was Thor. I really like Norse mythology, so this promised to be a treat. Not really. It was ok.

Hulk out

Superhero movies so often fall short of the mark. They are alright to a point, and sometimes are not even semi-decent. Of all the movies, I skipped The Hulk. I watched the Eric Bana one when it was released, and I was not thrilled about it, but I refuse to subject myself to watching Edward Norton do it (I respect him far too much to watch the flawed logic of a brilliant scientist go daft when he hulks out). My friends keep telling me it is not so bad, and a friend’s father, who is big into his comic books and especially the Hulk, said that Edward Norton was definitely worth seeing in that film. Aside from that, I was now ready for The Avengers.

THE PLOT (very roughly):

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), S.H.I.E.L.D. director, gathers a group of crime fighters together when Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and his followers decide to invade Earth. Loki has teamed up with the Chitauri Army, and have stolen the Tesseract to open portals to Earth. Loki starts up with some mind control of a crazy different level, and S.H.I.E.L.D. soon realizes that the Avengers might be the only way to survive it all.

Thor and CoulsonThe Avengers Initiative is back on track, and Norse god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meets with the rest of the freshly assembled team: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) is Iron Man, Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) is the Hulk, Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is Captain America, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johannson) is Black Widow, Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) is Hawkeye. They meet to stop his stepbrother’s insane plans.

Despite all their differences and separate ways of dealing with things, the group needs to band together to stop Thor’s stepbrother Loki from taking over the world. They would be doomed should it happen. Agent Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg) is slightly overwhelmed to have the entire team together, as he is fans of most of theirs. Loki is intent on destroying Earth in the most public and humiliating way – to have the people become his slaves, and though Nick Fury has gathered them all together, the Avengers project seems dead in the water before takeoff has even been established.

Iron Man and Captain America

When the ages just don’t correspond

Loki is brought into custody, and plans go awry when Thor is convinced that he can reason with his brother, and talk him out of the disaster he is setting them all up for. Many things would (naturally) go wrong, nothing can be as simple as someone wanting to take over Earth and just quickly apprehending the traitor. A death in the unit brings the members closer, and gives them a common goal to fight for. Together they work on their strong points and try to work out the bad points, leading them to becoming a great unit of heroes.

Thor and Captain America the Avengers

Fighting for Earth

Earth has long since needed saviours such as the Avengers, but now is the time. Loki holds the key to closing the portal to ensure his defeat: his staff. Manhattan is in danger of being permanently eradicated due to Loki’s presence within it. Will the Avengers be able to stand up to him, to defeat him without bloodshed, and restore  Earth back to its calm and peaceful ways?

THE VERDICT:

Overall, I give it a 6.5/10. You know, I got home, all excited. It was time. I was going to have my mind blown. I was going to be super impressed. I was not. I was not pulled into the movie to that extreme at all. The cast was solid and phenomenal, the story was pretty much non-existent, and there were inexplicable inconsistencies with the story lines. The humour was, however, entertaining (at times, when it was not too childish), the effects were good, but that was it. It is not a dreadful movie, not by a long shot, but I cannot comprehend why people went so ballistic about it. I did, however, think that Mark Ruffalo played the best Hulk I have ever really seen on film, so well done. I don’t think I would have been as disappointed had it not been called the movie of the decade, best thing this year, blah blah blah. It was overplayed, that is all there really is to say about it. I thought The Dark Knight Rises was way better, and not just because I am a fan, but because it was way more consistent.