Hancock Review

January 30, 2009

hancock3Reviewed by: The Film Snob

Synopsis: Hancock (Will Smith) is a one-man wrecking crew. He has super powers, but he can’t seem to figure out how to use them effectively. When the city turns against him, Hancock hires Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) to help upgrade his image.

Review: See that picture I posted? That’s what this film did–fell flat on its ass. It was awful–just awful. The premise is a sound one–the person with superpowers has a volatile relationship with the public–and as such, he needs a publicist. However, the execution of this premise is unimaginative and unintelligent. Let me present this to you (the list contains some plot details, but you should read this rather than see the movie–believe me).

  • Hancock rips the roof off of a car traveling on the highway and takes a seat in the back. He then continues to carry on a conversation with these gentlemen, one of which continues to drive the car. There is absolutely no wind during the whole high-speed scene. They might just as well have been in a library.
  • During this conversation Hancock tells the gentlemen that he is going to take one of their heads and shove it up another one’s butt. Not only is this the worst line ever, he actually proceeds to do so later in the film. It was the goofiest movie moment since Rocky tried to save the Soviet Union by punching a guy really hard.
  • Mary Embrey (Charlize Theron) does not want anyone to know that she has the same abilities as Hancock. So what does she do hide her identity? She starts by tackling Hancock through her kitchen wall and destroying a few of the cars in the neighborhood. Then for a follow up she flies through the city–and once to an extraordinarily well-populated part of the city she engages Hancock in a fight, utilizing all of her super powers. Which, coincidentally, lands right at the feet of her husband–the person she was trying to keep the secret from most.
  • The two men who were engaged in the head-up-butt exchange later decided that they needed revenge on Hancock. They were in jail at the time so what they decided to do is break out of prison and take their personal revenge. Do you see any flaw in this plan? These thugs are going to find Hancock and do what? He’s got super strength, super speed, and what’s that other thing–oh yeah, he deflects bullets and all sharp objects. What exactly is this master plan going to be? Now, there may be a logical explanation for all of this, but the movie goer would never know it–therefore it does not really exist.

Also, I like Will Smith–but is inept at playing the introspective, tough-guy character. Someone should inform Mr. Smith that pursing your lips together does not convey anything except that you have spilled your milk.

Now that I’ve outlined some of my criticisms, let me divulge the upside of this movie–Jason Bateman is kind of humorous. Did you get all that? In a movie that is poorly thought out and poorly acted, Bateman is the only bright spot. Theron is one of our finest actresses, but in a role that demanded nothing, there was little for her to contribute.

Rating: 1.7

Recommendation: I’m not going to say it’s the worst film of they year because I assume that title goes to Bride Wars, what I am going to going to do is travel to my backyard with a shovel, bury this film, tell Netflix it must have gotten lost in the mail, and then never speak of this movie again.


The Lookout Review II

December 31, 2008

Also Reviewed By: Mr. Film Snob

Review: I have been reviewing some very recent releases of late, but I wanted to take a second to shine a light on this underrated gem from late 2007/early 2008.

The film has some very familiar noir elements, but I didn’t know what that meant until today, so I’d rather focus on the fact that this was an excellent cast film that will surprise most audiences.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been very smart about the roles he has chosen since his sting on 30 Rock and he delivers here as Chris Pratt. It would have been easy to over-act the character, but he remained subtle and nuanced, and I enjoyed throughout.

Just because he has memory issues, don’t try to compare this to Memento. Levitt isn’t really a man on a single mission, rather a troubled, flawed character just trying to return his life to some level of normalcy.

Jeff Bridges, Isla Fischer and Matthew Goode are all very solid in their respective roles, and therein lies the strength of this film. I really enjoy stories that are character-driven as opposed to plot driven, and this is one of those stories.

There are a couple of holes in the plot; the most notable one for me is the way Fischer’s character, Luvlee, is just phased out without the viewer knowing what happens.

As the Film Snob mentioned, the opening scene is beautifully shot, the ending is relatively clever (even if it’s a bit too clean), and I will add that I really thought the Thanksgiving dinner scene at Chris’ parents house was excellent.

Rating: 7.9

Recommendation: Rent this movie and appreciate some great performances from this solid cast. Enjoy the ride, and keep an eye on Levitt (his career path and ability to pick movies might lead him down a Ryan Gosling path, though I’m not sure he’s as strong as Gosling).

The Lookout Review

December 30, 2008

thelookout070402_560Reviewed by: The Film Snob

Synopsis: After the accident, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) doesn’t remember so well, yet he finds himself  right in the middle of a bank heist. His lack of memory puts his life in danger, as well as his best friend Lewis’s (Jeff Bridges).

Review: Often times the ending of a movie makes it worth mentioning. This would be one of those. It’s an intriguing movie throughout, with noteworthy performances by Jeff Bridges and Isla Fisher, but it’s really the last twenty minutes that got me all excited. Chris is in a bit of a bind with some dangerous people and he’s got to figure his way out of it. Of course, his brain doesn’t function so well—that makes things rather interesting.

The opening scene is also beautifully shot. Chris and his friends are driving through a collection of fireflies (or something like that)—it’s a great looking scene.

Rating: 7.7

Recommendation: A nice movie to rent–really, I recommend this one. I love movies that stay within themselves and this one does just that. Plus, it’s smart and has some worthy performances.

Marley and Me Review

December 29, 2008
Marley, The World's Worst Dog !?

Marley, The World's Worst Dog !?

Review By: Average Joe

Synopsis: John Grogan (Owen Wilson) and his new wife Jenny (Jennifer Aniston) are reporters for separate newspapers. When Jenny mentions a family, John obliges by taking her to get a lab, Marley. What follows is the story of a growing family and their disruptive dog.

Review: I think I wanted to dislike this movie. I decided to go at the very last minute and admittedly I had very light expectations. I will say this, I went into the movie knowing it was supposed to be sad. You should know this too if you are thinking about taking the kidlets, but take them anyway.

The basic jist of the movie is that this growing family loves this dog in spite of the fact that he is, as they joke, “The worst dog in the world.” It’s hard to sympathize with the main characters because, after all, they do nothing to discipline the dog, ever. That fact doesn’t change the fact that this movie overachieved, at least in this Average Joe’s mind.

Movies like this have a lower ceiling than other movies because you know that in the scheme of things there is not going to be a whole lot to them. Marley and Me surprised me a little because both Wilson and Aniston were pretty good with this script. Some of the challenges they faced were real challenges we would expect of a family trying to have kids, transition from one job to another (or job to housewife), and deal with a ridiculous dog.

Some critics will bark at the fact that the movie does not delve into these issues as deep or as realistically as they could, but that was never this movies’ intention. It wasn’t setting out to be a 10, it was striving to be an 8, and will save the other two points for movies like Revolutionary Road to grasp at. Marley and Me is how this animal can be so frustrating, yet be such an important part of your family.

Alan Arkin was not as good as he usually is, but Eric Dane was decent as John’s best friend. Call the ending a manipulation if you want, but I will say that it elicited the emotions it intended to for the people I watched it with and myself. It certainly has places where it falls short, but all in all I enjoyed the film for what it was, and this is even with the lady behind me commentating the entire movie.

“Oooh girl, that dog is disruptive.” “Oh no girl, they can’t leave that dog home alone. I sho wouldn’t do that girl.” “She PREGnant?”

Rating: 6.2

Recommendation: Wait for it to come out on DVD and then watch it with your significant other. Watch it with your family/kids. Watch it with your group of girlfriends. Don’t try to be overly critical, just sit back and enjoy the film for what it is, the story of a man and his dog with a little bit of real life mixed in to keep us honest.