Movie Review: The Perfect Host

IMDB, The Perfect HostThriller, 93 Minutes, 2010: The Perfect Host on IMDB

Taking a break from gorging on the summer blockbusters we missed, we gave this little indie darling a try. The decision was based solely on David Hyde Pierce’s [IMDB] participation – his very first starring role, no less. We had no preconceptions and little idea what to expect.

The movie begins with an injured thief, John (Clayne Crawford [IMDB]), looking for someplace to lie low.  The purpose of these scenes is to make the audience comfortable with John’s character.  He’s a hardened criminal, but not a brutal or unfeeling one.  He’s willing to do what needs to be done, as he sees it, but happily accepts the path of least resistance.  Bleeding and desperate he knocks on a random door and cons his way in.

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Movie Review: All Superheroes Must Die

IMDB, All Superheroes Must DieThriller, 78 Minutes, 2011: All Superheroes Must Die on IMDB

We’re going to give this one a lot of leeway for the sheer audacity of attempting to produce a superhero flick with a budget in the dozens of dollars.  Instead of, like everybody else, producing a shitty, derivative zombie movie these guys at least tried something different.  They get credit up front for that no matter what.

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Movie Review: Taken 2

IMDB, Taken 2Thriller, 92 Minutes, 2012: Taken 2 on IMDB

The original “Taken” [IMDB] was something of an oddity among action movies.  In a genre split between biceps and explosions or massive conspiracies and lone-wolf operatives it was a simpler, smaller more intimate movie. Yes, Liam Neeson’s [IMDB] Bryan Mills commanded resources and skills out of scope for most but the story was universal: somebody took his daughter and he was going to get her back.  I enjoyed it immensely.

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Hurricane Movie Review: Get the Gringo

Action,  96 Minutes, 2012: Get the Gringo on IMDB

[Hurricane Sandy is currently causing all kinds of hell for all kinds of people.  Here in Scranton, PA we’ve still got power and Internet (at least for now).  We’re going to watch movies until either Sandy puts a stop to it or we can actually leave the house.]

Mel Gibson [IMDB] is, let’s face it, a seriously fucked up human being.  Whatever truth exists, whether it be better or worse than we suppose, about him personally it’s difficult to argue against him on one front: the man makes some damn fine movies.

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Movie Review: Dirty Little Trick

Action,  98 Minutes, 2011: Dirty Little Trick on IMDB

This is a low-budget, ham-fisted thriller that thinks it’s a hell of lot more clever than it really is.  Most of the budget is blown on the marquee talent, Dean Cain [IMDB] and Michael Madsen [IMDB].  Both of their careers have taken undeniable downward turns in recent years and neither puts forth his best effort here.  Madsen, especially, sleepwalks through his scenes.  The rest of the acting is universally terrible.

The bad acting is magnified through soap-opera quality camera work.  Every scene (and I literally mean every scene) is a close up.  This could be because they seem to have had only two locations.  Here, it’s an apartment.  Then we add some boxes and now – movie magic! – it’s a warehouse!  It doesn’t help that the sound work is nearly non-existent – everything exists in a flat, lifeless monotone.

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Movie Review: Tower Heist

Comedy,  104 Minutes, 2011: Tower Heist on IMDB

What do you when Alan Alda [IMDB] screws you (and I mean screws you bad)?  Well you put together a completely inept crew to break into one of the most secure buildings in the world and steal from him.  You know, people who mentioned that they might know how to do things or other people who you barely know and wouldn’t trust with your neighbor’s cat.  Those people.  Collect them into a room and tell them all about how you plan to steal 20 million dollars.

The movie starts out pretty well.  Not laugh-out-loud funny or anything, but well-paced and with a certain amount of charm.  Then we get into the heist itself and it all goes to hell.  The things that happen are just plain stupid – which might have been somewhat forgivable if they had been funny, but they’re not.

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Movie Review: The Mechanic

Action,  93 Minutes, 2011: The Mechanic on IMDB

[Wife and kids are away on their last weekend jaunt before school starts so while I catch up on some mind-numbingly tedious work I’m distracting myself with bad movies.  This is the second.]

Jason Statham may arguably be called the thinking-man’s action star.  (In case you’re wondering Bruce Willis is the everyman, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the machine, Jackie Chan is the clown, Sylvester Stallone is the schlub and Ben Affleck is the mistake.)  His films tend to favor moody, complex plots and style over substance punctuated by extended physically brutal fight scenes.  While this isn’t the best Jason Statham movie ever, it is a very good one.

When a contract killer is forced to kill his mentor he takes the mentor’s estranged son on as an apprentice.  The killer, known for his calculating, methodical style, is forced to deal with his new student’s aggressiveness and ego.  A reasonable argument can be made the plot is well-trodden territory but I think there’s some life left in it.  Of course action movies don’t necessarily need a novel premise to succeed but it does help.

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