The Other Woman (2014)

MV5BMTc0ODE4ODY1OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDA5NjkzMTE@._V1_SX640_SY720_

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann, Kate Upton, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Kinney, Don Johnson

Screenplay: Melissa Stack

109 mins.  Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual references and language.

 

The Other Woman is the story of Carly (Cameron Diaz, There’s Something About Mary, Annie), an underdeveloped character who has just scored the man of her dreams in Mark King (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, TV’s Game of Thrones, Oblivion), until she discovers that she is being played when she meets Mark’s wife Kate (Leslie Mann, Knocked Up, Rio 2). The two create an unlikely (try impossible) bond over the fact that they are both still digging Mark even though they should hate him, which they also kind of do. The plot (if you can call it that) thickens when they discover another mistress (Kate Upton, The Three Stooges, Tower Heist) and the three of them join up to take vengeance in a strange mixture of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Saw. Pretty much, yeah.

I recall seeing the trailer for The Other Woman some time ago, and thinking about how much this movie was going to disappoint, particularly because I used to think Cameron Diaz was funny and I still usually find Leslie Mann to be a real treat. I think Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has some major chops from his performance in HBO’s Game of Thrones and films like Mama. This film is nothing like these previous works in that I liked the previously mentioned works.

THE OTHER WOMAN

Cameron Diaz plays her way through this movie as one of the most unlikable characters in her kind of situation, and Leslie Mann acts as though she is trying to act in a musical from the 1950s. Everything is overdone. Boobs McGee, or (you may recognize her stage name more, Kate Upton) has a body and a voice for silent pictures, and she has the acting skills of a mop handle. Her function in this film is to convince husbands to see it. Don’t be fooled by the breasts behind the curtain, moviegoers, it just isn’t worth it.

Nicki Minaj (Ice Age: Continental Drift) is in this piece of horseshit as well. She had trouble acting her way through a Lonely Island music video. Everything she says falls flat and without resonance. Someone throw a tomato at this clown and get her off the stage.

Even Don Johnson (TV’s Miami Vice, Django Unchained) isn’t spared from the terrible acting virus, though it is hard to blame him. I imagine the conversation with his agent went something like this: “Wait! You’re telling me I can bone Kate Upton in this picture? I’ll take it!” This coming from a major fan of Miami Vice, too.

The music sounds like someone grabbed Now 51 off the shelf and put it into iMovie.

Such a skilled director as Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, My Sister’s Keeper) behind the camera, you’d think something better could be said here, but unfortunately, he just doesn’t have a handle on the bogus screenplay. Go home, Nick, you’re drunk.

And on the subject of screenplays, this one is a doozy. It is almost as if they finished a rough draft and forgot to do the rewrite where they actually add in the humor. The entire film finally shreds to nothing by the finale, a bloated, overly out there ending that involves not one, but two breakaway gas gags and the biggest nosebleed I have ever witnessed on camera. It was a dumb idea that got turned into a dumb screenplay that got turned into a dumb movie.

the-other-woman-df-06793r_rgb

The Other Woman is hands down one of the worst movies I have ever seen, and it is a big contender for worst film of 2014, folks, please stay away from this one. In fact, burn all copies you may come across.

 

1/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

So what did you think of The Other Woman? Was it an affair to remember or did you feel cheated? Let me know!

Why You Need to be Excited for Jupiter Ascending!

Jupiter_Ascending-267973304-large-2

Folks, I’m about to go on a rant here…

This year, we were supposed to be treated to a new sci-fi epic from The Wachowskis. Its name is Jupiter Ascending, and it stars Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis. This movie will not be released this year. Instead, it got placed out in sci-fi no-man’s land, February. How many people hit up a fantasy for Valentine’s day. That’s right, I don’t really want an answer to that.

The reason you need to be excited for this upcoming film…it is because these two filmmakers will most likely not be allowed to make another film after February 2015, because I don’t think Jupiter Ascending will be a hit. I want it to be, but the Wachowski track record hasn’t been great for box office gross.

I loved The Matrix. You loved The Matrix. Everybody loved The Matrix.

I loved The Matrix Reloaded. You liked The Matrix Reloaded. Some people liked The Matrix Reloaded.

I loved The Matrix Revolutions. You did not.

I loved Speed Racer. You didn’t see it.

I loved Cloud Atlas. You haven’t heard of it.

Disappointed is the name of the game here. The Wachowskis have, time and time again, given us something new and fresh, and we have ignored them. I can see why the sequels to The Matrix didn’t take off as much. People wanted what they wanted and this wasn’t the film (or films) that they wanted. There was so much fan fiction floating around the internet that people new they weren’t going to have normal expectations to the films. They didn’t.

People just flat-out didn’t see Speed Racer. I can kind of understand that. You maybe weren’t sure if it was a kid movie or a family movie or an adult film. I wasn’t either, but it kind of became all three, and it did so with heart, enough heart that is rarely seen nowadays and difficult to muster up in movies where it feels authentic and also new. Speed Racer had that. Go watch it once. If you saw it back in 2008, go give it another try. You might just see what I was talking about.

Now, Cloud Atlas boggles me. I can see polarized reactions to the film. That makes sense. It is fine if there were parts you just hated. That’s what makes a film worth talking about. People just didn’t see it, and that saddens me.

Lastly, we come to Jupiter Ascending. There is one thing that sets this film apart. This is the first truly original work for The Wachowskis since The Matrix (which was the last box office and critical success of these two). Expectations aren’t high, so there is no bar. Speed Racer was based on an anime and Cloud Atlas a book. The Matrix sequels were in fact sequels and therefore not exactly original works. Jupiter Ascending has the ability to be the next Matrix. I hope it is. I hope you see it. I hope lots of people see it. Good or bad, these two filmmakers make movies worth discussing, and soon, if we don’t fund unique talent in Hollywood, it will be gone. Remakesville, here we come…

Watch the trailer. Give opening night a thought.

 

No Xenomorphs in Prometheus 2? What has this all been for?

prometheus_movie_engineer_deletedscenes

Now, viewers, I truly enjoyed Prometheus for the reasons a lot of people didn’t. I liked that it was creating new mythology out of old mythology and creating a richer and more fantastic experience for viewers of any film in the Alien franchise. I’m not saying it was a perfect film; it has, since its release, dropped a bit from grace, but I do believe that it was a beautifully visual and sometimes visceral experience.

Ridley Scott has been pretty open as of late in his discussion of sequels to both Prometheus and one of his other high-end properties from the 80s: Blade Runner. Since both films have obvious connections with their visions of the future and replicant/android focus, it is a nice time to see some more, if done right.

The only complaint that I have always had for Prometheus is its lack of Xenomorphs, also known as the Alien from the Alien series. There is only a slight tease in all that plot and philosophical musing near the end, and it isn’t even all that fleshed out, a cameo merely. Fans of Prometheus will claim that they still want to see the evolution of the Xenomorph species, because we’re nerds. We are, let’s not beat around that bush.

Scott recently laid claim in an interview to his wanting for less Xenomorph in Prometheus 2 and more Engineer. I don’t mind more Engineer, but I feel like that would be a cop-out to not even include some of the original plan for Prometheus (an Alien prequel).

prometheus-xenomorph

So, no Xenomorphs in Prometheus 2: Electric Boogaloo. What do you think, fandom? Is that all cool or are you now cooled on the idea?

Prometheus 2 chest-bursts onto big screens (or doesn’t) on March 4, 2016.

Liam Neeson also joins Ted 2; in related news, lots of people in Ted 2!

2012Ted01Gb310712

I’m going to stress this heavily. I didn’t see A Million Ways to Die in the West, but I thought it looked pretty damn funny. I’ll soon find out if I like the film more than critics and audiences or I will find that it is flat and disappointing. That being said, I was a major fan of Ted, and I look forward to seeing Ted 2 upon its release.

Earlier this month, I wrote about Morgan Freeman’s casting in the upcoming comedy sequel. Now it appears as though Liam Neeson will be following suit. You may recall Neeson was also in A Million Ways to Die in the West with director and star Seth MacFarlane.

As before, I won’t bore with too much info as I really don’t know too much at this moment, except that both Neeson and Freeman were on set this week. So I got that going for me, which is pretty nice.

Ted is the story of a teddy bear that is brought to life by the power of love, and his heroic journey into being the most hated non-human celebrity in the world. It also starred Mark Wahlberg.

Ted 2 gets taken to theaters June 26th, 2015.

Liam_Neeson_TIFF_2008

Divergent (2014)

Divergent-2014

Director: Neil Burger

Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ashley Judd, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoe Kravitz, Miles Teller, Tony Goldwyn, Maggie Q, Kate Winslet

Screenplay: Evan Daugherty, Vanessa Taylor

139 mins. Rated PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements and some sensuality.

 

I wanted to like Divergent. I’ll repeat myself, I wanted to like Divergent, but the movie gave me nothing with which to like. I’m going to start my review today with a quick analysis of the plot, and then list all of the reasons why it isn’t the film I wanted it to be.

Divergent is the story of Tris (Shailene Woodley, The Descendents, The Fault in Our Stars) a teenage girl who exists in a dystopian landscape of the near future. In this interpretation of the future, there are five factions each defined by literally one trait. There is Abnegation, a group of those who practice selflessness (of which Tris is born into). There is Amity, those who choose peace over all else. There is Candor, the truth-tellers. Let me repeat that, there is a group of people that tell the truth, and that is it. There is Erudite, those of intelligence. There is finally Dauntless, the strong and brave (of which Tris envies). The Dauntless are presented as apparently a mixture of parkour and West Side Story. There are also the factionless, who have been sent away from their group from disobeying or failure. Then, there is Divergent, someone who embodies multiple factions over one. The people of future Chicago do not care for Divergents as they are unpredictable. Tris is, at the start of the film, about to perform in a test that will determine where she should be placed. It is basically a big sorting hat, with one major exception: the test doesn’t really matter because you can just choose whichever faction you would like to join permanently. Tris takes the test and discovers she may be a Divergent, so she chooses Dauntless just because. There she meets Four (Theo James, TV’s Golden Boy, Underworld: Awakening), a Dauntless leader who may just have a few secrets of his own. As she becomes more accustomed to Dauntless life, she also becomes more susceptible to being discovered as a Divergent, and the entire story is about the testing she will do to prove herself a worthy Dauntless.

So anyway, that is the movie.

My first problem with this movie was the whole test thing having virtually no effect on the story in the way that anyone can choose any faction. I just found it an extra-convoluted way of fashioning a plot point.

download

Then, there is this faction breakdown, how can there be only five traits worthy of having a group of people and why would you want to keep these groups separate? I just don’t get the gravity of the situation and how this helps whatsoever.

Four’s character is kind of stupid. So if you haven’t seen the posters, avert your eyes, because [SPOILER ALERT] Four has a giant tattoo on his back of the five factions, which essentially tells us that he is a Divergent as well. Perhaps he would’ve been better off with a tattoo of a big bulls-eye, since that is pretty much what he announces to the world with it.

This isn’t really a complaint, but I did find it odd that this film is like a whos-who of people who have gotten it with Shailene Woodley in other movies, with Miles Teller (from The Spectacular Now) as an adversary, and Ansel Elgort (from The Fault in Our Stars) as her brother. Blech.

I want to point out the pacing as well, this movie drags on like a son of a bitch. By the time revelations start coming on, I had completely stopped caring and I just didn’t want to hear any more about these factions.

The performances are good (or merely as good as this poorly written script would allow) but none in particular stand out because the characters are too flat and one-dimensional. Now, I haven’t read the book series, but I should hope we get to flesh these characters out in another installment.

The look of this film is pretty much the unused sets and costumes from The Hunger Games movies. I could go on and on about the superiority of that franchise at this point, but you probably can already tell that.

Now, I did enjoy the Lord of the Flies vibe I got from the Dauntless faction, if they would just spend less time bickering and trying to kill each other and more time fleshing out these nameless bodies before bickering and trying to kill them.

cf46960dcb722555ccaf0d3c2c0bdd01

All in all, Divergent is a disappointing and underwhelming beginning to this franchise, which has already set markers for a remaining three films (the final book will be split into two films, because fuck, why not?). Perhaps all of these confusing and convoluted plot points make more sense in the book, so I won’t trash the novel because, as I said before, I haven’t read it yet, but as far as films go, this is a very boring and lazy fantasy.

 

1.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

So what did you think of Neil Burger’s Divergent? Did you pass the test or choose to be factionless to get out of the theater? Let me know!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

MV5BNjUzODQ5MDY5NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTc1NzcyMjE@._V1_SX214_AL_

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Cast: Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszak, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Danny Woodburn, William Fichter, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub

Screenplay: John Applebaum, Andre Nemec, Evan Daugherty

101 mins.  Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence.

 

 

The Ninja Turtles are back! Go Ninja Go Ninja Go!, and while they may not be the same Teenage Mutants that we knew from previous installments, and they may not be as good yet, fans who are willing to jump in and evolve with the franchise will find some thrills here.

Master-Splinter-April-Leonardo-Raphael-Donatello-and-Michaelangelo-in-Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles-2014

This year’s TMNT sees our fabled turtles meeting up with April O’Neil (Megan Fox, Transformers, This is 40) and her partner Vernon Fenwick (Will Arnett, TV’s Bojack Horseman, The Lego Movie) to stop an evil corporate tycoon (William Fichter, The Dark Knight, Elysium) allied with the vicious Shredder from unleashing a fatal toxin the general public. Pretty normal fare, I know that, and it isn’t all winners, so let’s break it down.

Megan Fox is just terrible. She is the worst April O’Neil I have ever seen, and it isn’t particularly difficult as far as roles go. Luckily she has some solid help from the always wonderful Will Arnett as Vernon, the video guy that wants in April’s jumpsuit. Arnett is the absolute saving grace performer here, as he gives nods to his other likable roles (did anybody else see him make the parmesan mustard sandwich from Arrested Development?) and provides us with exactly what this picture sometimes lacked: levity.

My only other major character qualm is in the form of the ruthless Shredder, a very underdeveloped monstrosity who serves only as the “final boss” of this video game of a film. In the inevitable sequel, I want more Shredder. I want to know Shredder like I did in the live-action 90s predecessor.

The turtles are much more developed individuals, and I can see the similarities between this incarnation and the 2003 animated series. I like that we see some more fleshed out characters, the animosity and rivalry between Leonardo and Raphael, the often giggle-able Michelangelo, and the kooky and odd machine-freak Donatello.

The major win here is the effects. I know watching the trailer made my stomach churn as I imagined really badly animated turtles, but thankfully, some solid fixing up before the release made this an extravaganza.

Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles-Reviews-starring-Megan-Fox-and-Will-Arnett-2014

Well, this incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wasn’t perfect by any means, but I would disagree with former Turtle performer Robbie Rist, who at one time claimed that Michael Bay was sodomizing the characters (please South Park, do not dig too deeply into this). I think that these are turtles with room to grow and develop further, and to be honest, I didn’t really find them cringe-worthy (a fear I had previously held). This movie is fun. I already hear rumblings of a sequel and I hope that the creative team is willing to take time to listen to the feedback they received for this initial outing and use it to make the second installment worthy of the TMNT moniker. For now though, I had a lot of fun at the theater, and if you see this film willing to actually give it a go, I think you will be presently surprised.

 

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

So what did you think of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Did you enjoy some ninja pizza or did your enjoyment vanish quickly without trace? Let me know!

 

For my review of Jonathan Liebesman’s Darkness Falls, click here.

Puss in Boots (2011)

Puss_in_Boots_poster

Director: Chris Miller

Cast: Antonio Banderas, Zach Galifianakis, Salma Hayek, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris

Screenplay: Tom Wheeler

90 mins.  Rated PG for some adventure action and mild rude humor.

  • Academy Award Nominee: Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Not too long after the completion (for now) of the Shrek franchise, Dreamworks got the bright idea to expand the slightly off-kilter world of fairy tales by telling an origin story of one of the favorite side characters, Puss in Boots.

In 2011’s Puss in Boots, we meet Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas, Desperado, The Spongebob Squarepants Movie: Sponge Out of Water) during his dark days of hunting for bounty, when he is enlisted by old thief and ex-confidante Humpty Alexander Dumpty (Zach Galifianakis, The Hangover, Birdman) to steal a golden goose. He is aided in this effort by Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek, Frida, Grown Ups 2), a silent but deadly assassin and thief. Matters are further complicated by the bandits Jack (Billy Bob Thornton, Armageddon, The Judge) and Jill (Amy Sedaris, TV’s Bojack Horseman, Strangers with Candy), who want the goose eggs all for themselves.

This movie plays out its one trick, and its one trick is played out pretty well. The one trick referenced here is the “he’s a cat” joke. We have seen the cutesy work before with the dough eyes to escape torture or the way he drinks his milk. It is funny, but by the time the film comes to an end, we as viewers understand why Puss in Boots has always been a side character.

The references to the fairy tales upon which these characters are based work pretty well, too, but not for children. This is the candy for the adults, and in that way, I feel like Puss in Boots was merely stuck in its place by not knowing its audience. It spends equal parts trying to please everyone with cheap jokes. Now, I liked the movie, but it didn’t stand up with the first two Shrek films.

puss_in_boots_by_alicevon_stevart-d4r10jg

See Puss in Boots, it has the ability to make you love it, but it also has the ability to annoy you away. Take the chance but not a guarantee.

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

For my review of Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson’s Shrek, click here.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

amazing-spider-man-2-poster__140603232341

Director: Marc Webb

Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Dane DeHaan, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, Sally Field

Screenplay: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner

142 mins. Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.

 

After the okay-ish 2012 release of The Amazing Spider-Man, I was uncertain if the franchise had the staying power after essentially remaking the original Spider-Man. Now, with this year’s sequel, is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 further proof? Find out now.

And, I should point out, Spoilers be warned for any and all plot points of previous films. I won’t ruin this one though, so feel free to read on.

Amazing-Spider-Man-2-Peter-Parker-Harry-Osborn

Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield, The Social Network, Never Let Me Go), still suffering from his failure to save Captain Stacy, is forced to juggle his role as Peter with his role as Spider-Man when new villain Electro (Jamie Foxx, Django Unchained, Annie) rises to power, literally. Peter’s problems only get greater as old friends and new enemies appear, all seemingly linked to the death of Peter’s parents (Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz) and his father’s connection to Oscorp. His relationship with the captain’s daughter Gwen (Emma Stone, The Help, Birdman) has progressed to a point where he must constantly fear for her safety. Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan, Chronicle, Life After Beth), an childhood friend of Peter’s shows up, wanting to cure a disease, but to do that, he needs too much from Spider-Man. Peter is further tested when his relationship with Aunt May (Sally Field, Forrest Gump, Lincoln) is strained by his hunt for the truth in his lineage.

This film dramatically improves on many of the faults and worries I had from the previous picture, while still having issues with pacing and tone. From a visual perspective, after 5 theatrical Spider-Man films, this one has a lot of nice work going on for us to watch. The camera knows when it has to focus and when it has to move. The effects are, in a word, stunning. I love the costumes here as well. For the fact that there are a lot of villains in this movie, each one, from the new to the recognizable, is an awesome costume which breathes life (or new life, in the case of one) into the characters. Garfield’s performance has improved as well. He isn’t as confused about where his character needs to be, emotionally, in each scene. Fresh faces Jamie Foxx and Paul Giamatti (Sideways, River of Fundament) as Alexsei Sytsevich, a russian gangster, provide something fun to play with. Foxx’s performance only kicks in as he becomes Electro, but when it does, he takes off.

I have to say this, the real win of this film is the mystery surrounding the deaths of Peter’s parents. This is something that we didn’t really have in the previous series, so it is a point that we as viewers didn’t feel like we had to compare.

The music choices surrounding Electro were interesting. Webb cast a musical group specifically for Foxx’s character, called the Magnificent Six. This works at times and fails as others. See what I meant by tone issues.

The ending is where this tonal confusion really gets notable. I won’t play with any reveals for you, but strictly speaking, things get much more serious than they have the entire film previously. So many important plot points jammed in there, and it just didn’t work.

Now, the open-ended set up for sequels worked fine, setting us up for a little Spider-Man Cinematic Universe feeling, and that excites me.

-6e8d0ad4-2d19-441e-86a0-6ef366edecbe

I need to day that this film definitely isn’t the Spider-Man 2 we have seen before, and it isn’t as good as we deserved, but it is a ton of fun and a big step up from its immediate predecessor. Remember that, and enjoy yourself.

 

3.5/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

So what did you think of The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Did you feel the electricity or was this a short circuit? Let me know!

 

For my review of The Amazing Spider-Man, click here.

Get a Good Look at Batffleck’s New Batmobile!

118501_gal

This Batmobile image, released from the set of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, is stunning. It appears to me, no matter how not great the footage I have been seeing from this movie appears, I am always saved by the sweet Batman news.

I’m not going to spend too much time on this today because chances are you have probably seen this image already this week, but I like what I see from the Batman side of things, even if my thoughts on this film are somewhat marred by the less-than-stellar release of last year’s Man of Steel.

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice will be the second (?) film of the DC Cinematic Universe, and will, for the first time, bring together Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and possibly more in a battle against Lex Luthor. I think. Still not a ton of news releases from this film. The Zack Snyder-directed film is scheduled for release in 2016.

123632_gal

ps. Does anybody out there know for certain if this film is trying to continue the continuity from The Dark Knight Rises? I have heard some disappointing early reports say yes, but I hope they aren’t true.

Morgan Freeman will be a Civil Rights Lawyer for a…Talking Teddy Bear?: A-Lister Joins Ted 2

morgan-freeman-ted-2

Wow, this is some interesting news.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Morgan Freeman is joining Ted 2, the upcoming sequel to the comedy mega-hit about a magical talking bear and his owner, played by Mark Wahlberg. Freeman will be portraying a civil rights lawyer who assists Ted in a legal case concerning his rights as a stuffed and self-aware teddy bear.

This actually sounds absolutely hilarious and I’m excited that someone like Morgan Freeman is going to be sending himself up. I hope that there will a narrator battle between him and Patrick Stewart at some point. What makes me nervous is that I’ve seen the directions that comedy franchises have taken in recent memory. What that means is, I’ve seen The Hangover 2. Now, I don’t trust anything.

Good luck, Morgan Freeman and the cast of Ted 2. Make this a winner.

Ted told the story of John Bennett,  a normal kid who wishes that his new teddy bear would become real, and he gets his wish. 30 years later…

Ted 2 comes to life June 26th, 2015.

Ted-850x560