The DUFF or Designated Ugly Fat Friend is a new teen film that just came out and unlike most teen films in recent memory this film actually holds a positive message for people of all ages about acceptance and being proud of who you are. I really didn’t know what to expect from the film going in, a fun little teen movie distraction sure, but it’s message was so touching and yes the geek gets the guy in this case but the story about labels and being proud of who you are and not caring about what other people think is the thing I keep coming back to. The teen movie clashes are there from the makeover montage to the hot mean girls and the misunderstood jock but the film does a good job in drawing out most of them and making them well rounded characters. The young cast is very good especially Mae Whitman and Robbie Amell, the supporting cast is just as good with not nearly the opportunity to shine like the main stars. I give the DUFF 5 stars out of 5.
Hot Tub Time Machine 2 was a feeble attempt at making a sequel to what in this bloggers estimation was a pretty good little comedy back in 2010 when it came out. Mistake number one – waiting this long to bring out a sequel. Mistake number two – not bringing back John Cusack and letting the cast improvise too much. The guy who plays Lou is so much more a jackass this time around I was hoping they would kill him. The biggest problem with this film is the idea that there is very little to hang a plot on and I know that more and more comedies are relying on that kind of thing. They try to be funnier less anything that makes sense or that people have to follow. I myself wish we could go back to the glory days of comedy by which I mean the 80’s and early 90’s Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, hell, even some of Jim Carrey’s early work has more to offer than this film and I don’t really care for Carrey at all. With all this said I still love the first Hot Tub and think that if they make a third one they have a lot to make up for. However there are at least half a dozen funny moments in the film that make it worth a watch at least once. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 gets 2.5 stars out 5.
Newcomer Taron Egerton leads an absolutely awesome cast in what can only be classified as a loving tribute to James Bond and the spy movies of yesteryear. Director Mathew Vaughn and his relationship with comic creator Mark Millar has proved to be a very worthwhile collaboration that keeps giving movie fans great movies. What started with Kick Ass and has continued with Kingsman will hopefully lead to more of these balls to the wall action films that have just as much heart and story as blood and guts. I personally think the thing that makes these films work is how you grow to love the characters and the situations they find themselves in. More than once in the film I found myself thinking of parts of Eggsy I could relate to, such as how he had a family, how he was misunderstood and how he reacted the way many of us would in extreme situations. Mark my words I know we have not heard the last from Taron Egerton. This cast is really made up of a who’s who of the acting community Michael Caine, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, and Samuel L. Jackson. It really is hard to say much more about this film without giving too much away. I give Kingsman: The Secret Service five stars out of five.
Jupiter Ascending is the latest from the brother sister duo that brought us the Matrix movies. This again surprised me greatly. When I was much younger I loved the Matrix (well the first one at least) nowadays the film is not bad but not one of my top go to choices either. With that said I was not sure what to expect from this one because while it looked really good I was not sure how the story would be. To my surprise I found myself really enjoying what was a pretty damn good little sci-fi film. The story, while not great, was something different and that to me at least is always a good thing. I think that people have been hard on a good movie that came out almost a year later than it was going to and was released at a crap time of year. Personally I think this film, while not Oscar worthy, is a pretty good distraction that I give 3.5 stars out of 5.
Mortdecai is getting a lot of bad reviews but I for one enjoyed it. I know there are a lot bad movies out there, Blackhat anyone? However I think this one is getting a bad rep for no real reason except for people liking to crap on Johnny Deep just because his last several movies have not done well at the box office. This film feels in many ways like an old comedy out of the pink panther slapstick variety. While there will always only be one Peter Sellers I think that this character would have been someone he might have played some forty years ago. The acting was great the story was a great caper film with aspects of James Bond thrown in at times. Personally the film looks great after the last one I wrote about. I am noticing that a hell of a lot more than I did before. So if you are in the mood for a few laughs check out Mortdecai. Four stars out of five.
Black Hat was the worst of the bunch I saw in January. The film itself was very generic and the cinematography was crap. This film, in the hands of say Paul Greengrass, and not Michael Mann would have been much better. I hate to say that the best Michael Mann film I have seen in years is Collateral from 2004. The man has lost his sense of style and I think his best years are behind him. I personally don’t mind a bad action film but there is a difference between an over the top action film like say the Expendables and the horrible Black Hat. The worst part of this film is seeing good actors doing a bad movie that they should not have been in because they don’t fit the part. Black Hat to me has only one redeemable quality about it and that is that the plot to this, while generic, could be recycled in a few years after the bad taste has gone and make a half decent January release. Black Hat gets 2 stars out of 5.
Taken 3. I, like most people, know that the movies coming out in January are generally lackluster to say the least. While the third Taken film was not as good as the first it was pretty good overall when compared to some of what we normally see this time of year. Neeson gave a great performance in a film well below what he should be doing. The rest of the cast was good, not great, but good and the story was serviceable. Will Taken 3 be a classic action film like the first is becoming, probably not. But will it be a fun action movie to revisit in a few years? I’m going to say yes. Taken 3 gets 3 stars out of five.