The Latest Mini Movie Reviews From My Amazon Prime and Redbox Rentals
You can read past posts like this here, as always.
Mark Wahlberg is a guy I usually turn out to see. I missed Contraband in theaters but caught it on Blu-ray and came away with the knowledge that it is an above average thriller. Wahlberg plays Chris, a reformed smuggler married to Kate (Kate Beckinsale). When Kate’s little brother gets caught dumping drugs for baddie Tim (Giovanni Ribisi), Chris has to pay off the kid’s debt or pay the price. Needless to say, Chris re-enters the smuggling game, only to see all hell break loose while he is in Panama. Sebastian (Ben Foster), may or may not be the confidant Chris has always thought he was, and his alcoholism plays a role in drama back home in New Orleans while Chris is away. This one takes the usual twists and turns and can be difficult to follow, but the in your face direction and solid acting from a notable cast makes up for it. One downside, there’s not much to do here for Beckinsale, who is under utilized in the damsel in distress role. Additionally, is Ribisi becoming increasingly thrashed in roles or what? Nothing mind-blowing, but certainly a worthy rental for fans of the actors or heist movies.
Steven Soderbergh’s low budget action movie in the minor vain of a Bourne film, pits MMA star Gina Carano in the female lead as an agent who is caught up in a plot to kill her. I stayed away from the film ‘til now, despite my interest in Soderbergh and a stellar supporting cast, including Michael’s Douglas and Fassbender, as well as Ewan McGregor. A bit of a mistake on my end, because I thought that Carano would be so bad as the lead that I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. I was wrong. While she doesn’t blow you away with acting talent, her fighting skills are formidable and she is believable enough in the role as an agent who “doesn’t do dresses.” The direction is typically solid, the music by David Holmes is great and though the plot is not stellar, the film works. It mixes The Limey with Out of Sight in a way (two of Soderbergh’s previous efforts) to decent enough effect. Again, you won’t leave the viewing with your tongue wagging, but it’s quality enough for fans of Soderbergh or action fans who can handle something a bit different, since the action is more artfully done and less in your face. Not bad.
The Hunger Games (2012)
“I volunteer as tribute!” The same words that Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss says in the movie, I was saying to myself after being suckered in to watching another teen movie. I’d risk death rather than sit through this again. The reviews suggested that we had a better film than the Twilight’s of the world, and while I don’t have first hand knowledge of that franchise, I certainly hoped for better from the first film of this one. The film, based on the popular book, is essentially a code name for a game show where kids fight to the death and the winner is able to live. This film however, naturally (spoiler alert!) broke the typical rules by having two winners because they were willing to die for each other (supposedly). Josh Hutcherson, pequeno by a dwarfs standards, plays Katniss’ love interest and a love triangle of sorts (sounds like Twilight doesn’t it?) is formed since Katniss was in love with Gale back home (outside of the deadly game). It’s all so clever to set up the trilogy and I was let down yet again by sifting through the waste of the film, which features a The Running Man style game show in a futuristic woodsy (Twilight again!) setting. I’ll pass on the rest of the films from here on out. Shame.