Monday, December 8, 2014

Movie Review: Horrible Bosses 2

Nobody will argue that Horrible Bosses 2 is an original or poignant film. In fact most people are probably wondering why they even bothered with a sequel. Not I however. I love me some dumb lolz and Horrible Bosses 2 brings the lowbrow humor in spades.

Last time, our heroes Nick, Kurt and Dale [Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day] hatched a zany scheme to kill their tyrannical employers that didn't work out so well but brought lots of cheap laughs and crazy hijinks to the big screen. It's pretty much the same deal here, only instead of plotting a series of murders, they've decided to go the kidnapping route. It's like the running gag from this years 22 Jump Street where they keep referring to the plot of the last movie, "Just like last time." Nick is still the only guy with common sense, Kurt is still a raging horn dog and Dale is the totally loveable but oh so wild miscreant. In fact the villain in this one is less twisted than any of the three 'horrible bosses' from the first film. Sure he's a douche-y cut throat business man, but there are millions of those dudes out in the world. This sort of makes the gang's plot to kidnap his son a feel a little contrived...but who cares? Shit is funny!

From the opening scene it's clear that this movie gives no fucks whatsoever. I don't know if they even had a script because the whole thing feels like a gloriously long improve session between the cast. Yes it's so super raunchy, crude and repetitive but, as a former twelve year old boy I can appreciate the lost art of juvenile, potty humor. The past decade of smart ass yet sanitized, Judd Apatow branded comedies has left a void in my heart. It's refreshing to see stupid comedy excel at being both.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Movie Review: The Hunger Games- Mockingjay (Part 1)

The latest installment of The Hunger Games movie franchise is easily the darkest film of the year. I'm not talking about the film's content either [although it's pretty grim itself]. No, I mean the picture quality is literally black as midnight. Lots of scenes take place in secret underground bunkers or inside abandoned buildings and it makes for one of the muddiest pictures I've ever seen. Be prepared to squint and grimace slightly while watching this one. Of course the film's ridiculously forced love triangle and sheer lazy directing/camera work might have you doing that anyways.

What's my beef with The Hunger Games you ask? In case you missed my evisceration of the last film, I'll summarize by saying they're just way too bland for my liking. Mockingjay 1.0 falls victim to the same troubles that plagued Catching Fire, and suffers from some new mistakes as well. The script is still a big bag of "meh" [as most films adapted from 'Young Adult' fiction tend to be] but Mockingjay lacks the dazzling set pieces that propelled the first two films. Jennifer, Katniss, is no longer a wee young lass trapped inside the games. That means no more crazy fight sequences or wacky costumes from the Capitol. Now Katniss is transitioning into the role of freedom fighter and hanging out with the resistance in their less than glamorous subterranean headquarters. Because Mockingjay was divided into two films to maximize profits, that means all the "cool" stuff is being saved for the series finally, which leaves nothing but exposition and Jennifer Lawrence making "OMG" faces every five minutes in this one.

The lame script and, you know...lack of any real climax, could have been countered by some crafty camera work or truly standout performances. Mockingjay 1.0 has none of that. John Wick might be the most cliched movie ever made; yet the directors counter the banality of it's plot with awesome camera tricks and direction that keeps the audience engaged. Mockingjay is by comparison...a snoozefest. The fact that Julianne Moore and Philp Seymour Hoffman share multiple scenes together, which constitutes an Amber Waves & Scotty J. Boogie Nights reunion, is The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 1's only saving grace.