After saving the mall 6 years ago, Paul Blart thinks he is the best there is when it comes to security. Now he is invited to Las Vegas for a convention, and he takes along his teenage daughter before she leaves for college. Unfortunately for Paul and the convention, a group of criminals have infiltrated the hotel and before the show can go on, the group of misfits must battle against these new foes.
I’m not going to elaborate much on this movie as it is total crap. It is not funny. It is awkward. It is uncomfortable. The story is old and tired. The slapstick is unoriginal and stupid. The goofy characters are annoying, and I just feel bad for the actress who plays his daughter for having to be put in the middle of this. I’ll be the first person to say that I love Kevin James and I love the big oof on King of Queens, but when you take Doug Heffernan and turn him into even more of a child (and minus Carrie), you have Paul Blart, and I just can’t watch this. I wanted to leave after 30 minutes of this crap and decided to give it another 15 minutes before I actually left. I mean even Ana Gasteyer got a part! WHY KEVIN WHY!?!?!
2/10 Stars – As stupid, unfunny, awkward and annoying as this movie is, I still would rather watch it over 50 Shades of Grey again!
Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) is a high ranking official in the Russian secret police during World War II. His job is simple – find and eliminate traitorous threats, however, when it comes to his attention that his own wife is named as a traitor, he has a decision to make. He can either renounce her and be praised by his peers or he can side with her and risk banishment or possible death. If all of this political drama wasn’t enough to cloud Leo’s mind, an apparent serial killer is on the loose in Moscow targeting young boys around train yards.
As you can tell from the synopsis above, there is actually 2 separate stories going on here that try to be woven together. You have on one hand the political story where Leo has to juggle his job and the accusation of his wife being a traitor and on the other hand the investigation of the child killer. As the movie starts out, I was very intrigued by the story and the characters. The Russian accents were a little hard to follow, but it didn’t hinder my understanding of the film. However, once the crime thriller involving the dead boys starts, I was baffled as to how the 2 stories intersected. Why couldn’t these 2 idea be 2 different movies? I understand the characters are the same, but the movie basically tells us that once Leo and Raisa are banished, they decide to fill their time with a murder investigation. It just didn’t flow, and because it didn’t flow, the movie seems to fall apart due to having too many things going on. Because there was so much going on, the movie drags on and on with many scenes being redundant and/or irrelevant. I’m thinking that about 30 minutes of this movie could have been cut out with many of the core concepts being retained. In fact, I strongly believe this movie should have been split into 2. One about the murder mystery and one about the political dilemma facing Leo and his family.
As far as the actual movie itself is concerned, the setting, costumes and acting is superb. Tom Hardy is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors in Hollywood. Gary Oldman and Noomi Rapace are in their elements with this subject matter and offer great support. I do feel that the characters they portray are flawed to the point that the audience will not have sympathy for them. The interactions these characters have are off-putting and confusing. People are double-crossing and backstabbing in one scene only for the next scene to show these same people as trusting and loyal. I found it hard to care if anyone in this movie lived or died except for Leo. Everyone else is shown as either heartless, mean or untrustworthy and it wears on the viewer.
When it is all said and done, Child 44 had a great idea and premise, however, I strongly believe that this should have been turned into 2 movies due to the stories and length. The story is both interesting and messy all at the same time which leads us to pray the movie ends way before it actually does. You best bet is to skip this unless you really like the cast. Co-starring Gary Oldman, Joel Kinnaman, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassel, Jason Clarke, and Paddy Considine.
5/10 Stars – Child 44 has a great idea and premise, however, I feel it tries to take on way too much and the jumbled plot and length show for it.
Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) is a coder for an internet search company and he has just won a trip to spend a week with the mysterious and reclusive CEO Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaacs). When Caleb arrives at the secluded wilderness bunker Nathan calls home, he is informed that he will take part in a Turing Test. The Turing Test is a way for someone to analyze and critique a computer’s artificial intelligence to determine if the computer is in fact learning or is just programmed in a certain way. Nathan is hoping for Caleb to “pass” his latest creation, Ava (Alicia Vikander), but once Caleb begins his sessions, he begins to question everything around him – even himself.
Ex Machina is something out of an Isaac Asimov story. The world around us is real, but for these 2 men, they are dealing with something very futuristic. The setting is remote and underground. The scenery around the house is mountainous and green. Nature is everywhere. The characters, on the other hand, are the wild cards. Nathan is mysterious and almost an obstacle. His is always getting drunk and causing uncomfortable moments for Caleb. Caleb just wants to do his part in the analyzing of this new creation, but he can’t help but feel like Ava needs him. Ava isn’t just another “robot.” She is a “living” machine that can think and make decisions all on her own. This creates the inevitable problem – when does she stop being a computer and start being “human?” Isn’t that what Caleb has to figure out after all? However, what happens when the human starts thinking the machine is human? Is that when the A.I. passes the test?
For those of you that like sci-fi dramas (or as I mentioned before, Isaac Asimov’s stories) then this movie is all for you. The sounds and situations create an odd and uncomfortable vibe throughout. You never can be quite sure of what you actually know because important clues are purposefully left out (for us and Caleb.) You could call Ex Machina a mystery from the very first frame since very little is explained. You will have to pay attention to hints and clues throughout, and even then, the movie can trick you into thinking something completely different.
If you understand that Ex Machina is more about the psychological drama associated with artificial intelligence rather than the sci-fi aspect, then this movie will treat you right. It is highly entertaining and the beauty that emanates from Ava is almost hypnotic. Highly refreshing and uncomfortable all at the same time!
7/10 Stars – Personally, I would have liked the ending to be different, but this psychological, sci-fi, drama is both refreshing and eerie all at the same time.
Danny Collins (Al Pacino) has been a famous singer for many decades. Approaching the twilight of his career, Danny is given a letter from John Lennon that was written to him back in the 1970s. In the letter, John tells him to be true to himself and his music and includes his personal phone number. This causes Danny to wonder how different his life would have been had he received the letter back when it was written. With a new view on the life he has remaining, Danny decides to run off to a New Jersey hotel to make new music and reconnect when his son.
On the surface, Danny Collins seems like a silly comedy surrounding a washed up singer trying to reclaim old fame, but it doesn’t take long before you see a movie about a man who realizes his priorities in life were always backwards. He figures out that his life has always been about the money and fame, but now he wants to use the money and fame to benefit other people who need it – namely his son. His grown son, who wants nothing to do with him, lives in New Jersey, and instead of going on yet another tour, Danny decides to set up camp near his son in hopes to create a relationship that they never had. Danny is happier than he as ever been, and he seems to make everyone around him happier too, even his granddaughter. His son isn’t so sure about why Danny is around, but you begin to see that Danny has good intentions.
Sure there might not be anything new with this story, but Danny Collins has realistic characters and likeable actors to make an enjoyable and touching movie. I believe that because of Al Pacino and the story with his son, more men will enjoy this movie than had the story been female driven, but since this movie ultimately is a touching family movie, the ladies will love it just as much (especially the granddaughter.) At the end of the day, Danny Collins shines due to the familiar faces playing likeable roles. The family bonding story is one that no one can hate. Co-starring Annette Bening, Bobby Cannavale, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer and Josh Peck.
7/10 Stars – Sweet and touching, nothing special or new, but entertaining and enjoyable!
Woman in Gold tells the true story of Marie Altman (Helen Mirren), a Jewish woman who escaped to America during World War II, and how she fought the Austrian government for a famous painting she believes is rightfully hers.
On the surface, the story of Marie Altman is pretty bland and straight forward. She believes that the “Woman in Gold” painting hanging at the Belvedere Hotel in Vienna is that of her aunt and she wants it back. Through the help of amateur lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Ryan Reynolds), they make their way from Art Restitution all the way to the United State Supreme Court in order to get the painting back. This aspect of the movie is the driving force, however, it is as it sounds – boring. There really isn’t anything exciting about the struggle we see as these two people fight for what is rightfully theirs, but the ending is well worth it.
What makes this movie more heartful and emotional than most is the back story that is woven into the present day chase for the painting. This is where we see Marie as a young woman and her life in Austria. We see her relationships with her aunt and father and how the paint was created. We see her escape from the Nazis and how she was able to get to America. This side of the story is what makes the painting have meaning and connection. As an audience, we no longer see the painting as simply “art” but as representation of this woman’s heritage and family.
I believe that if it weren’t for Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds, this movie would be a “nice” watch, but these two A-list actors put their talents to work and give a moving performance. For those of you that saw Philomena (2013) and enjoyed it, you will enjoy this movie immensely. I was pleasently surpried by Woman in Gold! Co-starring Daniel Bruhl, Katie Holmes, Tatiana Maslany, Max Irons, and Charles Dance.
7/10 Stars – Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds elevate this touching and emotional story from “nice” to “rewarding.”
His Review: After saving the mall 6 years ago, Paul Blart thinks he is the best there is when it comes to security. Now he is invited to Las…
His Review: Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) is a high ranking official in the Russian secret police during World War II. His job is simple – find and eliminate traitorous…
His Review: Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) is a coder for an internet search company and he has just won a trip to spend a week with the mysterious and…
His Review: Danny Collins (Al Pacino) has been a famous singer for many decades. Approaching the twilight of his career, Danny is given a letter from John Lennon that was…