Movie Review: Entourage (2015) – Meandering, Plotless and Completely Pointless

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A long time ago, when I was doing some court ordered community service (don’t ask) I worked with a vet tech who did cat vaccinations for low income families just about all day long. She had a weird way of referring to every cat as a ‘pussycat’. I worked with her for 160 hours and I was pretty sure I’d never hear someone use the word ‘pussy’ so much again.

Then, I watched this pile of cash grabbing crap.

Entourage ended in 2011. Despite the guys behaving like a bunch of locker room douchebags, and the open misogyny, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it and I was perfectly satisfied with the ending. It was one of the few long running series that I felt did not need to be wrapped up with a movie. But apparently, HBO thought they could squeeze a bit more money out of it and went ahead with the movie anyway.

The original cast returns, led by Adrian Grenier as Vince Chase. Pretty much all the popular characters reprise their roles, regardless of where they left off at the end of the series. The plot moves forward by a common career shift in Hollywood. Pretty boy actor Vince is trying to direct his first motion picture, on a $100 million budget. Of course, he’s already late and over budget. Then, you have his buddies, bouncing around Hollywood and drooling over boobs. The biggest plotline any other character gets is Johnny Drama having a tape of him pleasuring himself go viral.

There’s a bunch of unnecessary celebrity cameos that were apparently crammed in for the purpose of making the movie more marketable. When the boys see Liam Neeson at a stoplight, one of them yells “Hey Schindler, save every Jew.”

Real current joke, guys. It took me like five minutes to get, and Schindler’s List is one of my favorite movies.

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This much hyped movie was kind of a waste. It was meandering, plotless and completely pointless. I felt like I was eavesdropping on a bunch of adolescent boys in a locker room. You know, the kind that brag about getting laid without ever actually getting laid.

It’s pretty much nothing but tits, locker room humor, and more tits. Vince charms, Ari yells, and Johnny Drama is always second best. This wasn’t so much a movie as it was an excuse to get people to open their wallets for a show that ended three years ago. I can’t blame HBO. I mean look how much they raked in from Sex in the City. The problem here was that Entourage was already wrapped up pretty nicely. We didn’t need to see more.

In fact, all I really want to do is forget I saw it at all.

Apparently, America feels the same way as me, because it flopped at the box office on opening weekend, raking in only about $10 million. That’s about $48 million less than the first Sex in the City movie made in 2008. Here’s hoping that disappointing result will keep them from making a sequel.

WE GAVE IT: 2 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

2 Stars

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Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron – Easy, Stupid Fun With A Ridiculously High Budget

The summer movie season rolled out with the first big blockbuster of the season. The much anticipated Avengers: Age of Ultron is finally out. While not the best in the series, it certainly looks like the most expensive.

The premise is this. Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) has created a villain. Ultron was initially designed to protect the planet earth. Of course, because it’s artificial intelligence, it immediately becomes an evil robot bent on world domination.

When will people learn?

The avengers, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) all get together to save the day. As if there weren’t enough main characters to remember, be prepared for a couple more including Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and sister Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen).

The humor that made the first few movies good is still there and fans of the comic books series will appreciate some of the tongue in cheek comments, like why Thor is the only one who can lift his hammer. There’s a few side stories going on where the writers try to inject some humanity into their characters, by showing the burgeoning love affair between the Black Widow and Hulk, as well as Hawkeye’s rural life.

Despite that, this movie is nothing you don’t expect. It’s easy, stupid fun with a ridiculously high budget. Everything unfolds as you’d expect and it’s pretty much a paint by numbers big budget action movie. They didn’t climb too far out of the box on this one.

It’s absolutely CGI heavy, with extensive battle scenes filmed from impossible angles, with people doing impossible things. While visually stunning, it feels a bit like the battle scenes were padded out for the purposes of fleshing out a simplistic script.

Everyone reprises their characters with the same enthusiasm as they had in the first few movies. That’s a feat in and of itself, as they’ve all been at this for a while. Iron Man is still charming, the Black Widow is still creepy, and everyone still wonders why Hawkeye is even there.

This is Joss Whedon’s last direction go around with this franchise, and I will say he went out on a high note. The movie is well done, fun to watch and easy to follow. It’s exactly what a big budget blockbuster should be, and Whedon has managed to keep it going for awhile now. Here’s hoping when someone else takes the helm, it will be just as good.

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There’s already a new one planned, Avengers: Infinity War Part 1, that is expected out in 2018. This is a franchise that has still managed to not lose its steam and will probably be around for a long time to come…as long as they keep making money.

While a bit heavy on battle scenes and CGI, it’s still a commendable effort and was the perfect start for the summer movie season. If you’re looking for fun that won’t make you think so much, this one is worth the watch. .

WE GAVE IT: 4 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

4 stars

 

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Movie Review: The Water Diviner – An Unforgettable Movie Made with Skill and Focus.

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I was kind of dreading the second period drama of the week, The Water Diviner, as the first left a bad taste in my mouth. Add in the fact that I just don’t like Russel Crowe and I expected to be miserable. But really, this was actually pretty well done.

The Water Diviner stars Russel Crowe as Joshua Connor, an Australian farmer with a special skill. He’s great at being able to find water deep underground, using only a stick and his instincts. He’s living a lonely life, as his three sons went off to war in Turkey and never came home. So Connor decides to use his gift for finding things to see if he can find the remains of his sons and bring them home.

Crowe is breaking into directing with this movie and I have to say, he has a gift for it. This is a complicated movie, with multiple venues and several underlying plotlines. But Crowe has a natural gift for pacing and manages to make it all work together to tell a seamless story.

Particularly impressive is that this was filmed on a limited budget, but still manages to look epic and big budget. That might have been due to getting gifted cinematographer Andrew Lesnue, who shot “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings” on board for the filming. He managed to catch the endless blue skies of Australia, all the way to the claustrophobic battle scenes of Gallipoli, with the unique ability to capture all the moving parts while presenting a full picture at the same time.

Crowe was buyable as an Australian Farmer, on a quest that defies reason. He’s particularly poignant in his scenes with Turkish Major Hasan (Yilmaz Erdogan), a Major from the opposite side who’s been tasked with identifying countless remains. The dynamic between the two of them is incredible. They are one part adversaries and one part compatriots at the same time. Both of them play their parts as multifaceted, fully realized individuals and you can hate nor like neither one. They both have their reason for behaving the ways they do.

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This is an unforgettable movie made with skill and focus. While the storyline is simple, the complexity of the scenery, direction and characters themselves make it a cut above most of the movies out there right now.

The only problem I see with this film is getting it to appeal to a wider audience. It’s a fantastic film that has been crippled with limited release. What Crowe was able to do on a limited budget is amazing, but I only wish he’d put a little money aside for marketing. This is a gem that could easily be missed because of the lack of distribution.

There’s very little I can say was poorly done in this movie. Even Crowe’s sometimes stagnant stoicism seems to work. The minor characters are all fleshed out and the war is viewed from realistic point of view, rather than as simple hell, or over the top patriotism. It’s a film that strikes the right balance and is easily worth the watch.

Official Movie Trailer and Movie Poster Below.

WE GIVE IT: 4.5 STARS!
four and a half stars

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Movie Review: Black Hat (2015) – somebody give Hemsworth back his hammer

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The best way to describe Blackhat is to call it a movie about hackers, written by people who’ve never met any real hackers. I mean really, a buff Chris Hemsworth playing a dude who allegedly spends 15+ hours a day on a computer? I doubt Chris Hemsworth even knows how to turn his computer on in real life. Hackers get so good at computers because they spend so much time on computers and no time in the gym. You want to know what a real hacker looks like? Find the doughiest IT guy at your company, and add 50 pounds.

Sorry, rant over. Back to the movie.

Nicholas Hathaway (Chris Hemsworth) is behind bars because he’s a master computer criminal. Of course, he isn’t so good that he managed to avoid getting caught. Anyway, some cyber villain who is just as good as him (probably better, actually because he didn’t get caught) has hacked into the computer of a Chinese nuclear reactor. In order to stop a disaster, they toss in Chen Dawai (Leehom Wang), a computer expert who proposes reaching out to the Americans. Of course, he decides to go with Hathaway and the two set up the nerdiest buddy cop team ever.

The unfortunate part of this movie is the fact that the writers clearly didn’t know how to make computer crimes interesting, so they had to turn Hemsworth into some buff action figure who’s throwing punches and breaking jaws every few minutes. That’s a shame, because the hacking in and of itself could have been interesting. To prove that, I bring up the much better 90s cult hit “Hackers”.

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That was a hacker movie that actually features hacking and people who looked like they could be hackers. In this one, I kept on waiting for Hemsworth to yank out his magic hammer and give them all the Thor smackdown.

The dialog and acting was wooden, which is a shame because Hemsworth already proved he could act in Rush. I think he might have started phoning it once he realized this movie was being released in January. i.e. the new release graveyard.

The plotline is murky and filled with holes. I mean, these people are looking for a hacker so good they can’t catch him. So they go with a hacker they already caught to help? Also, I highly doubt China needs our help with anything. They’ve been kicking our butts in technology for the last 2 decades. I highly doubt the first people they turn to are the American’s when they have problems.

The lady characters were there to be nothing more than T&A. Honestly, Dawai’s sister shows up on the scene, allegedly because she’s a master hacker too, but spends most of her time batting her eyelashes at Thor…I mean Nicholas.

If you’re going to make a movie about computers, actually consult with some people who know things about computers. Maybe hire someone who actually has a background in hacking. Otherwise, expect an audience full of snickering IT guys.

Blackhat had potential, but instead of making it an intellectual action, they just went straight action and ruined the effect. For god’s sake, somebody give Hemsworth back his hammer before he ruins any more movies.

WE GAVE IT: 2 Stars – Watch the Official Trailer and Official Movie Poster below!

2 Stars

 

 

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