Theatrical Releases: Chappie & Unfinished Business
Director Neill Blomkamp follows up his science action film “Elysium” with yet another futuristic film, this time about a robot that has its own thoughts and feelings, growing up quite like a child would under certain circumstances. Dev Patel, Hugh Jackman, and Sigourney Weaver fill out the human portion of the cast while Sharlto Copley, main collaborator with Blomkamp since their first film together, “District 9,” plays the title character. Interestingly enough, Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er of Die Antwoord star in the film as well.
As far as sequels go, “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” could be worse. It does successfully bring back almost all the stars that made the first film so enjoyable, like Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Dev Patel, as well as adding new, fresh faces like Richard Gere. But what made the first film so special was the fish-out-of-water storyline of a group of old people moving to a new country that is way outside of their comfort zone and the antics that followed. This time, everyone is used to their surroundings and all the drama comes from stresses on certain relationships, whether it be Dev and his soon-t0-be bride or Dench and Nighy dealing with the start of a new relationship. Either way, this becomes less about the country and the culture and more of a geriatric soap opera.
I actually saw a version of “Unfinished Business” before it was released. Needless to say, it felt unfinished when I saw it and after hearing that several scenes were added and certain character traits changed throughout the course of post-production following my viewing of it, I assumed it was probably a much different film. But reading the reviews coming from the film, perhaps it wasn’t too far off, as Rotten Tomatoes states that it “would have been better left unreleased.” Vince Vaughn deserves better and he just cannot seem to get it.
Not knowing how hold Danny Trejo actually is, I questioned how he could already be at the point in his life where he’s playing the old man characters that still kick ass. But look up how old he is and you will be astonished that he hasn’t been doing this sooner. At 70 years old, Trejo reprises his role from the film “Bad Ass” as the Vietnam vet that takes justice into his own hands. Last year, he was in the straight-to-DVD sequel with Danny Glover, titled “Bad Ass 2: Bad Asses” and now both return for the third film, titled “Bad Asses On The Bayou” where they head to Louisiana where a friend’s daughter has been kidnapped for ransom.
Not enough Danny Trejo in your life with “VANish” last week and “Bad Asses On The Bayou” this week? Well how about doubling up on Trejo with “The Burning Dead,” a low budget volcano, zombie movie where he plays some sort of all knowing Indian guide at Mt. St. Helens. If you can’t tell it’s low budget by looking at the performances you’ll sure as hell be able to tell when you see the bargain basement graphics projected on your screen, with some of the worst lava I’ve ever seen and zombies shooting out of green balls of light? All I can assume is Trejo is saving up for retirement.
I really can’t decide if I actually want to see “Buzzard” or not. Described as “Office Space on crack,” the film features an eccentric man (Joshua Burge) who wears a Freddy Kruger glove and eats disgusting spaghetti in bed while laughing at the television. A con man at heart, his latest scheme drives him to paranoia and apparently sends him to the streets of Detroit with a pocket full of bogus checks. There seems to be a distinct humor present and with reviews describing it as extremely unique and original, I’m still finding a hard time justifying seeing this.
Films like “Faults” are the reason I got into watching trailers every week. Because you never know when you’re going to come across a film that you never would have known about if you don’t sift through a hundred bad trailers. The film sees Mary Elizabeth Winstead (“Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World”) and Leland Orser (“The Bone Collector”) face off in a hotel room when Orser’s character is hired by Winstead’s parents to kidnap her and reprogram her brain after she joins a mysterious cult. The psychological and almost paranormal occurrences apparent just in the trailer alone are enough to make me want to see this, added to the fact that this is a huge step outside of Winstead’s normally loveable character demeanor.
75% MOST LIKELY
If you’re like me, you had never heard of Amazing Randi until watching the trailer for the documentary “An Honest Liar” about the man who spent his life debunking psychics and illusionists. Apparently the film looks to dissect his life a little bit as well, shining a light on some his own deceptions. However, I do have a level of respect for Randi because of his profession in keeping people to their words and bringing truths to light that otherwise would be shrouded in lies, as far as psychics go. But having not known who he was and getting to know him just in the trailer seems like enough for me.
Two things went into to making me “maybe” want to see “Kidnapping Mr. Heineken”: Anthony Hopkins and the fact that it’s based on a true story with the end of the synopsis reading “it was truly the perfect crime… until they got away with it” which really makes me wonder what happens. The story sees a group of lifelong friends planning the perfect kidnapping of the Heineken beer mogul played by Hopkins. Starring Jim Sturgess and Sam Worthington, there are definitely familiar faces throughout, tipping the scale more to seeing this than passing.
Perhaps it’s just me, but the trailer for “Merchants Of Doubt” feels a little off point at times. The documentary is about the group of men and women hired by certain companies and groups to shed doubt on topics ranging from climate change and global warming to tobacco and flame resistance. These people are not scientists and yet they are projected in the media as being such. Where the trailers loses me slightly is in whether it is trying to make a particular point, whether positive or negative, about these people or whether it’s just an informative documentary letting us know that these people exist. Regardless, I can already tell that this film and these people would frustrate me to no end.
Adam Carolla writes, directs, and stars lead in his comedy “Road Hard”. Not to say it looks particularly good, but I support Carolla’s career enough to eventually venture out to see this film. His comedy style is apparent even in the trailer and there are enough stars in the film to warrant a viewing, including Jay Mohr, Howie Mandel, David Koechner, and David Alan Grier, all of which are comedians that have had similar career trajectories as Carolla. The film itself sees Carolla on the road doing stand-up and begging for a change, while the opportunities around him involving huge moments of swallowing his pride or taking steps backward.
Academy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel definitely look on point in “Two Men In Town,” with Whitaker playing an ex-con cop killer just being released from jail and Keitel playing the sheriff in town with a watchful eye on Whitaker. Playing the misunderstood, violent man trying to keep it together, Whitaker easily shines even in this trailer. But with almost zero story backing this film up, and nothing we haven’t seen before, it’s tough to mark this as must-see let alone a maybe.