Movie Review: Escape Plan (2013)

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Escape Plan is the newest action/thriller that teams up Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger….and it’s the first movie that made me wish Schwarzenegger would run for president. It’s not that I agree with his politics or think he would make a good leader. I really just want him to stop making movies. It’s starting to get sad.

Escape Plan is yet another prison escape caper. In it, Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) must escape from the most escape proof prison in the world, otherwise known as The Tomb. As an added twist, he’s the one who built the prison in the first place, being one of the foremost security experts in the world. He gets fellow inmate, Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help devise an escape plan, so he can break out of prison and figure out who framed him. [more…]

Not a bad premise, really. The problem isn’t with the story itself. The problem is with the execution. The producers could have just had fun with the premise and accepted the fact that it is an action movie aimed at people who like action movies. There’s nothing wrong with that. Unfortunately, in order to squeeze in some intelligence, they chose to cram several convoluted and completely unnecessary side plots as well. There’s a terrorist named Manheim (yes that’s really his name). In a flop back and forth between in the prison and out, Breslin’s buddies Hush (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) Abigail (Amy Ryan) and Lester Clark (Vincent D’Onofrio) attempt to find and help Breslin. Well, Hush and Abigail do. Lester mainly stands around, exhibiting shifty eyes, acting suspiciously and wearing a t-shirt that says “I’m the one who framed Breslin!”

So, ok, I made the t-shirt up, but he might as well have. The bad guy is pretty obvious from his first scene.

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Here’s the thing. I think we all know that Stallone and Schwarzenegger can’t act. Hell, they can’t even elocute. That’s just fine when I’m watching them blow stuff up and beat the crap out of people. However, when I’m forced to try and decipher what they’re saying while they have thick accented conversations, I just get frustrated.

Also, for a prison that is supposed to be a fortress, it has more holes than the plot. Most people watching will wonder why the prison officials didn’t just choose to store their inmates in a drafty barn, with a door that doesn’t close all the way.Escape From Escape Plan 3

Finally, producers, stop trying to convince me that Schwarzenegger and Stallone are still in their forties. I think we all know better. These are two men that are clearly showing their ages. “Space Cowboys” rolled with their aging cast and it worked. Why couldn’t Escape Plan?

For die hard fans of action, there’s plenty of that. Escape Plan is still fun, as long as you don’t try to think too much or decipher what Schwarzenegger and Stallone are saying. Instead, shut off your brain, tune out the noise, and watch for explosions. If you try to follow the plot, you’re just going to get dizzy…and bored.

Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years A Slave Movie Poster12 Years a Slave Will Stay With You Forever

5 Stars

How can something be so incredibly painful, but absolutely amazing at the same time? 12 Years a Slave is the depressingly true account of Solomon Northup, a black man who was living a free life in New York, prior to being kidnapped and sold into slavery.

The story is true, which makes it that much worse. Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor), was living as a free man in Saratoga. He was a gifted violinist. Then, he is lured to Washington DC for what he thinks is a show. Instead, he is trapped in a cell, manacled and stripped of his papers declaring him a free man. He is sold at auction and what follows is him trying to regain his freedom for 12 years.

First, the actors in this film need a serious shout out because they were flawless. Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender) is the main bad guy in the film, a drunken, debauched, complete monster of a plantation owner. Fassbender plays his roll in a way that came very close to making me hate him as a person. I had to continue reminding myself that he was just an actor and that I shouldn’t start sending him hate mail based on the way he acted in the film.[more…]

As for Chiwetel Ejiofor, the man who played Northup, I can say nothing more than…wonderful. To be fair, I have been madly in love with Ejiofor since I first saw him in Serenity. However, he so completely changed himself for this roll that as first, I did not recognize him as “The Operative”. Instead, he literally became Northup, an educated man who had lived a beautiful free life, not just of acceptance, but of actual celebration. Then, he was taken down, as far as a man could go, but still retained a quiet dignity. I imagine if photos were available of Northup during both those periods, Ejiofor would match them frame for frame. If he doesn’t get nominated for an Oscar for his performance, I can only assume someone in the nominations office has brain damage.

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There is of course, a happy ending. Northup wouldn’t have been able to write his biography if there wasn’t. But before this happy ending, you’ll need to see a lot of heartbreak. It’s actually pretty hard to watch, but at the same time, you won’t be able to look away.

I rarely call a movie flawless. In fact, in most cases, even when I give a great review, I always find something to pick apart. This is a rarity for me, because there is nothing to pick apart. This movie was 100% flawlessly executed. The background music, produced by the noted Hans Zimmer, highlights the moments without taking them over. The director, Steve McQueen, knew when to fade out and when to keep filming. There were no lazy actors in this film. Even the bit parts were played with realism and authenticity.
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12 Years a Slave will stay with you. If you were a fan of the book, then you can rest assured that the movie remains true to it. This is a true story of triumph over adversity that is guaranteed to become a classic.

Here’s the Trailer and if you’ve Seen the Movie – Leave a Review & Earn Some Points!


Movie Review: Zero Charisma (2013)

ZEROCHARISMA_27x40_FINISH_final_halfsizeZero Charisma is Surprisingly Alluring

3.5 stars

Zero Charisma was a charming look as what happens to a misfit, when he becomes a misfit among misfits.

Sam Eidson plays Scott Weidemeyer, a chubby, fantasy role playing nerd who is king of the nerds. He hosts a weekly Dungeons & Dragons style game with his group of underlings, while living in his grandma’s house. Then, right before a major turn in the came, one of the under-nerds quits. They are forced to fill the nerd’s sport with ultra cool hipster Miles (Garrett Graham). Miles is everything Scott wishes he was, with a hot girlfriend, a popular blog, and an extensive knowledge of everything nerdy. Soon, Scott’s overbearing attitude takes over. This is compounded by the fact that Scott’s life outside of the game is pretty terrible as well. He lives with his grandma, works as a delivery boy, and has an absentee mother intent on putting precious nana in a nursing home and taking the house he lives in.

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The film is aptly named. The main character is surprisingly unlikeable and his quick fits of temper, ridged ways and ability to alienate people have turned him into a guy that no one wants to be around. Before the arrival of Miles, Scott is able to convince himself the reason he is alone is because he’s a nerd. However, Miles has his own nerdy attributes and seems to be doing just fine. This creates a conflict for Scott as he struggles to maintain hold of his group

While the movie is a pretty well written comedy that has some slapstick moments, it also has a serious side. Scott isn’t a character nerd, like in Revenge of the Nerds. He is a nerd you could actually know. He is the guy who uses his nerdiness to protect himself from the world around him. He is delightfully delusional, and at one point, when he gets called out for never having a girlfriend, loudly proclaims “It’s because I don’t want to get tied down, you know that!” In another scene, his mom’s boyfriend is trying to talk to Scott about a Dallas Cowboys game, and Scott thinks he’s talking about westerns.

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Eidson was expertly cast for this movie. He has impeccable comedic timing and managed to really make the self centered, pitiable Scott come to life. Keep in mind that this is a movie made for geeks, about geeks. It is a way of poking fun at the new ‘hipster-geek’ lifestyle, where attractive people assume the identity of geeks to sell to a geek audience. As a result, some of the humor might go over the heads of more mainstream audience members.

The ending of the movie is a bit of a mirror about Scott’s own life. It leaves the audience in a position where they don’t know what is going to happen, because Scott doesn’t know what it going to happen. However, the film does have the standard self-examination points that this type of movie usually does, and Scott seems ready to a least accept some of his own flaws.

Here’s the Trailer and if you’ve Seen the Movie – Leave a Review & Earn Some Points!

Movie Review: Romeo and Juliet (2013)

romeojulietposterRomeo & Juliet…Again

stars

Finally! Someone finally adapted Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet for the big screen.

Just kidding. This has been done to death. In fact, Romeo & Juliet has been made into a feature film more than 50 times since the invention of the ‘talkie’. That being said, if someone wants to make a stand out Romeo & Juliet film, they need to do something different. They need to find a way to adapt it for the times and make it new.

In 1996, Baz Luhrmann pulled this off by putting the traditional dialog over a kick ass soundtrack and casting Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio.

In 2013, Carlo Carlei tried to do this by dumbing down the language.

Ok, so I am sure there are a ton of high school students who really appreciate the Cliff Notes version of Romeo and Juliet. I know I would have appreciated in high school. But by changing the language, Carlei managed to suck all the romance, mysticism and suspense out of the movie. Carlei managed to make a movie about two teenagers falling in love, and then offing themselves, bland. [more…]
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The choices of leads were good in theory, but didn’t work in reality. Olivia Hussey (Juliet), who was Oscar nominated for her role in True Grit, falls flat as a teenage girl filled with lovelorn despair. Leonard Whiting (Romeo) was probably cast because he looks like Robert Patterson and the producers were hoping to cash in on a loyal base of teenage fans. Together, the two lack chemistry and make us wonder what all the fuss is about. They don’t seem like star crossed lovers. They seem like two teenagers wrapped up in puppy lover. I half expected them to start passing notes during study hall.

The writing is surprisingly bland, coming from Julian Fellowes, who writes for Downtown Abby. It’s almost as though Fellowes heard they were writing yet another adaptation of Romeo & Juliet and just gave up.

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Was the film absolutely terrible? No, not really. There have been much worse adaptations of Romeo & Juliet (see Tromeo & Juliet for a reference). However, directors who want to put this out there need to keep in mind that this has been done to death. Just dumbing down the language isn’t enough. Tossing in a pretty boy with his shirt off isn’t enough. Instead, they need to learn to approach this classic film in a new way. They can pull it off through the soundtrack or through the chemistry of the actors. However, just having two pretty young people read lines to each other does no justice to the legendary scribe’s tragic play.

This version of Romeo & Juliet feels shallow and poorly thought out. In addition, the score in the background, done by Abel Korzeniowski was a bit of an annoying distraction. All in all, this is a mediocre adaptation of Romeo & Juliet that feels like it could be a made for TV version. In the end, it’s probably best to wait until this one comes out on video.

Here is the official trailer below.

Movie Review: Machete Kills (2013)

machete-kills-movie-posterMachete Kills… and Still Kicks Ass

3.5 stars

Machete Kills is the latest installment of the Machete franchise. It is currently getting ripped apart by critics and as usual, I couldn’t disagree more. Keep in mind that Machete Kills is an exploitation flick. Keep in mind that this is a sequel to a movie where a man repelled using someone’s large intestine and Lindsey Lohan mowed down people as a machine gun wielding nun.

Simply stated, if you don’t take it too seriously, Machete Kills is a lot of fun.

In this latest installment Machete (played by the ultra-scary Danny Trejo) is back for some more violent, over the top action. Machete is hired by President Charlie Sheen to stop Mendez (Demian Bichir) an evil crime lord from launching missiles at North America. Machete proceeds to shoot and swear his way through an Acapulco brothel, a tech guru’s lab (played by Mel Gibson) and a group of mercenaries (Antonio Banderas, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lady Gaga) all playing one mercenary. [more…]

I’ve already heard complaints about bad dialog and I really think most critics missed the point. The dialog is supposed to be bad. It’s an exploitation flick. It’s campy fun. It’s not the King’s Speech for god’s sake. Some of my favorite gems from the movie include;

“Machete don’t Tweet.”
“You just saved the world’s ass.”
And my favorite, with the promise of the sequel Machete in Space…”See you in space, Mr. Machete”.

The violence is over the top, the action is over the top and the methods of murder are even more inventive. One guy gets eviscerated by a helicopter blade. People get shot by shotgun bra wearing hookers.

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Machete Kills is just as fun as the original. Expect explosions, flying speedboats, Machete shaking off bullets and electrocution without a change of expression, Charlie Sheen smoking and sleeping with multiple women and more. No one is taking themselves too seriously in the movie.

Mel Gibson was a stand out star in this one, as the Bond-type crackpot named Voz, who wants to blow up the Earth. Sofia Vergara is a great foul mouthed Brothel Madame and Sheen does a great job of playing…himself if he was president.

Same goes for the effects. There are quite a few obvious green screen moments that make this even more fun. This is an exploitation flick that is fully self aware and done with a tongue in cheek intention much like the original.

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Of course, the original was pretty hard to live up to as far as tongue in cheek goes, but Machete Kills does a pretty good job.

I think a lot of the critics that watched this movie and hated it might have missed the point. This is an exploitation flick that is an exploitation of exploitation flicks. This movie isn’t trying to send a deeper message. In fact, there only seems to be one message this movie is sending. That message is “see how much fun we’re having.”

Machete is a great choice for those looking for some action packed light cinema that doesn’t make them think too much.
Here’s the Trailer and if you’ve Seen the Movie – Leave a Review & Earn Some Points!

Movie Review: Gravity (2013)

gravity-movie-posterGravity Will Make You Grip Your Chair

four and a half stars

Gravity is a gripping suspense movie with a great premise and some incredible special effects. Luckily, this effect heavy movie does not skimp on the acting or the plotline and it pays off well.

The movie starts with an experienced astronaut, Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) working with Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a nervous medical engineer who is on her first trip into space. They are there to work on the Hubble Telescope. Then, disaster strikes and the debris from a demolished satellite come flying at them. Kowalski manages to recover but Stone doesn’t and instead goes tumbling out into space, with no connection to the people back on earth and no way to get back. The movie follows Kowalski and Stone as they try to find any way to get back to earth.

The movie manages to be both beautiful and terrifying at the same time. There is very little dialog, but that doesn’t stop both Bullock and Clooney from displaying a full range of emotions. Bullock doesn’t go into full on weepy mode in order to convince us her character is suffering. Instead, she is all business holding back a wall of panic that she won’t dare to let free. Clooney plays the astronaut as a joke-making good old boy and is more of a side kick than a main character. However, he is great as Bullock’s backup and only connection to humanity.

Director Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) could have turned this movie into standard sci-fi trope with tons of special effects and coincidental rescues. However, instead he focused on realism and creating a believable plotline. In the end it worked, because this is something that really could happen. There are no convenient rescues or mismatched teams of astronauts sent to help. Instead, there is only Bullock and Clooney and they are on their own. The director takes great advantage of the silence of space in order to set up the hopeless, empty feeling that the characters are facing.

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The special effects can not be ignored in this movie. While many movies out there are available in 3D, this is one that is an absolute must see in 3D. The most amazing shots in the movie are done in CGI, however, that doesn’t mean that Gravity bases all its excitement on CGI. Instead, clever camera movements make the 0 gravity feel of the movie believable. The opening shot of the movie is a full 17 minutes long, but you won’t get sick of it. Thanks to the awesome special effects, Gravity is probably the closest most of us will ever get to going into space.

Simply stated, I see Oscar in someone’s future. If Bullock doesn’t at least get a nomination for her panicked, weightless portrayal of Dr. Ryan Stone, I’m calling foul. In addition, the director of this movie, as well as the cinematographer deserves at least an honorable mention.

Gravity is a movie that will make you grip your chair and thank god you are not an astronaut. This movie fully displays the abilities of a large range of talented individuals and we are sure to hear a lot about it come Oscar season.

Movie Review: Runner Runner (2013)

runner_runner_ver2_xlgRunner Runner is No Reason to Run to the Theater

3.5 stars

A suspense movie about internet gambling doesn’t really make for great suspense.

In this movie, Princeton student Richie (Justin Timberlake) is a college student who pays for classes by online gambling. When lady luck fails to help him out, he travels to Costa Rica to meet the online mastermind he thinks swindled him Ivan (Ben Affleck). Instead of just shooting Richie in the face for daring to go after him, Ivan decides to take Richie under his wing and teach him the tools of the trade. Things are going swimmingly, until a mystery woman Gemma (Rebecca Shafran) comes between them.

The movie is well cast. Timberlake makes a great young hot head who quickly gets in over his head. Affleck seems to have a way of playing characters with skewed moral compasses and he plays his part well. However, when it comes to mystery woman Gemma, viewers are probably going to wonder what all the fuss is about. She’s about as flat and generic as any ‘seductive woman’ character can be. In the end, you’ll actually hope for Ivan and Riche to get together and let Gemma walk off into the sunset on her own.

Cinematographer Mauro Fiore, whose past credit include Avatar, certainly knows how to take advantage of a beautiful location. The scenery was beautifully handled, in a way that actually took over the movie a bit. For a while, I sat back and pretended I was watching a really high-end travel video. [more…]

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Of course, when it comes to protagonists, the scheming FBI Agent Shavers (Anthony Mackie), plays the part well and his determination to take Ivan down doesn’t feel forced. Unfortunately, Affleck’s character seems to be the most well-rounded in the movie and after a while, the other characters start to fade into the background.

Also, weirdly, for a movie that was supposed to be about online gambling, there is very little gambling. In fact, the lead character Ivan could have easily been a drug kingpin or arms dealer and the movie wouldn’t have changed at all.

Runner Runner was directed by Brad Thurman, the same creative genius that brought us The Lincoln Lawyer. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get the same level of creativity and suspense into the plot of Runner Runner. In the end, the movie was really nothing but yet another generic crime drama about corrupt officials and the people that pay them off.

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The film boasts a solid cast, and great cinematography. However, the lack of a fleshed out plotline really makes the movie fall flat. After starting out well, the movie falls into a standard mix of the young, idealistic man struggling in a strange place and slowly learning the man who hired him is a sociopath. This plays out over and over and over again until you actually hope that Richie is the next one to get thrown to the crocodiles.

Runner Runner could have been a great movie. It had a good premise and a great cast to back it up. Unfortunately, lackluster writing and a redundant plot make it nothing to run to the theater about.

Enjoy the trailer.

Movie Review: A.C.O.D. (2013)

acod_xlgAdult Child of Divorce

stars

Generally, I am a pretty black and white movie critic. I either love something or I hate it. However, for ACOD, aka “Adult Child of Divorce” my overall feeling was “meh”. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either.

Adam Scott plays Carter, a well adjusted, or so he thinks, child of divorced parents. When Carter learns his little brother (Clarke Duke) is getting married, it’s up to him to get his parents to behave long enough to not destroy the wedding. His parents, Hugh (Richard Jenkins) and Melissa (Catherine O’Hara), haven’t spoken in 20 years. Hugh likes marrying young blondes, with his most recent trophy girlfriend getting played by Amy Poehler. Melissa is married to nice guy Gary (Ken Howard). Unfortunately, Carter’s efforts to get them to behave work too well, and soon is parents are starting an affair, which Carter gets dragged into the middle of.

The first thing this movie did right was casting. Scott is spot on as the long suffering, dry witted Carter. Jenkins and O’Hara make you love to hate them. Dr. Judith, played by Jane Lynch, plays a great, unfeeling, moderately condescending psychologist. The only few errors in casting seem to be Amy Poehler, as the trophy wife Sondra.

Honestly, if you are going to use Amy Poehler, then use Amy Poehler. Other than a few scenes of her ordering people around, she still didn’t get to show off her comedic range. In addition, Jessica Alba shows up for a brief, unnecessary flirtation with Carter and then leaves again. I assume that she only showed up so they could add her name to the star studded cast of characters. [more…]

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The rest of the movie follows a standard ‘crazy family’ outline. Carter tries to deal with his parent’s new found reconciliation, and help them hide their affairs from their partners. His parents remain selfish and self centered and it all culminates in the standard dramatic group ‘everyone argues with everyone’ scene.

This movie could have been forgettable fare, considering that the plot lines themselves have been done to death. However, the snappy dialog and the excellent casting make it watchable and enjoyable. As a romantic comedy, it doesn’t really fly because there’s no true romantic conflict with Scott’s character. He has a girlfriend, but he doesn’t want to commit to her. It’s really hard to categorize this movie. Some moments it feels dark, others it’s a light hearted comedy, while others you just want it to end.ACOD7.JPG

The direction of the movie could have gone a bit better as well. Some of the conversation shots are a little confusing, with the words not matching the lips, which is distracting.

For the most part, ACOD is a fun movie that is worth the watch. It’s not a comedic masterpiece, but the actors make it worth watching and the storyline stays interesting. Some of the bigger characters were a bit underplayed, however for the most part; ADOC comes together nicely as a fun movie about a common topic.

Enjoy the trailer.

Movie Review: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

cloudy-with-a-chance-of-meatballs-2-movie-poster-2013Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 Still Shines

4 stars

Never have vegetables been so darn cute. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up where the original left off, and manages to not fall into the redundant plot that so many sequels do.

At the end of the first movie, Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) had just shut down his food creating machine and destroyed it. Unfortunately for the residents of Swallows Falls, the Diatomic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator left quite a mess behind and they’ve all had to relocate to the cold, impersonal city of San Franjose. The city is under the control of Chester V (Will Forte), a corporation owner whose company focuses on ‘the betterment of mankind’.

Cue ominous music.

Flint takes a job with Chester’s company, Live Corp., and returns to Swallows Falls with a goal of scouting the area for a cleanup. Once he gets there, he realizes that his nefarious invention didn’t just survive being destroyed. It has transformed the landscape and turned Swallows Falls into a kind of Jurassic Park for mutant vegetable-animal hybrids. Even as Flint is fighting mosquitoasts, watermelophants, and bananostriches, Chester V is hatching a world domination plan.

Visually, the film is just as stunning and just as clever as its predecessor. Someone clearly had fun dreaming up some seriously bizarre vegetable/animal characters (aka ‘foodimals’) and giving them names. In addition, the actors (which includes an all-star cast of Anna Farris, Neal Patrick Harris, Andy Samberg and Benjamin Bratt) had a lot of fun with the characters and really made the movie come to life. [more…]

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Also, as a side note, in a country plagued with childhood obesity, the focus on fruits and vegetables was a responsible idea. The predecessor was a bit ‘carb heavy’ but on this second take, the focus is more on fresh rather than processed. As far as subliminal advertising goes, this is the kind I could actually respect.

As with the first, the dialog and jokes were cute enough for children, but clever enough for adults. One standout, laugh out loud moment occurs when the characters are about to get into a boat. One of the characters shouts “there’s a leek in the boat!” Then the camera pans to a harmless looking mutant vegetable, watching them in confusion.

While the movie is pun heavy, it has to be considering the subject matter and the jokes never feel forced. Instead, the film manages to be silly without being stupid, which can be a rarity when it comes to kid focused movies.

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Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, both first-time major feature directors, absolutely did this film justice. While they did a great job making sure that the scenes in the film were beautiful, they didn’t make the mistake of letting the visuals take over the plot and the dialog. Instead, they made sure that the writing worked with the animation, rather than take a back seat.

All in all, this second helping of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs is deliciously delightful fun for the whole family.

Here’s the Trailer and if you’ve Seen the Movie – Leave a Review & Earn Some Points!

Movie Review: Don Jon (2013)

Don-Jon-Movie-Poster“Don Jon is Not Your Typical Jersey Boy”

Star Ratings

When I saw another Jersey-centric movie, I was expecting another movie about mindless meatballs and the overly tanned girls they chase. Instead, Don Jon was a refreshing take on a Jersey boy with heart…and just a bit of a naughty addiction.

The movie starts off with Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) being a standard Jersey boy. He does the gym/tanning/laundry thing. He gels his hair and goes out picking up girls. He has two beefy Jersey boy friends and lives next door to his family, who he is 100% devoted to. However, when Jon heads home for the night, we see past his Jersey boy persona and see a deeper issue. Jon can only get real love from hard core porn. None of the women he meets and takes home can compare to his love for porn. That is, until he meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson). Barbara is a romantic, who is obsessed with Hollywood films and finding true love. They are comically mismatched, but their addiction to film and the love they get from it is eerily similar.

Now, don’t assume you’re heading into some depressing drama about addiction. This movie still is a comedy. It’s just a very smart comedy. Watching Jon try to court the stubborn Barbara is fun. Their exchanges are quick witted and both characters are flawed. The problem is that while Jon understands he has a problem, Barbara remains in the dark when it comes to her on naïveté regarding relationships. [more…]

The director, Gordon-Levitt, does a great job making the most out of character reactions and expressions (even the rough ones where Jon is seated in front of the computer, enjoying his favorite ‘hobby’). Despite the fact that the movie has large focus on pornography, the viewer doesn’t have to watch any graphic scenes and only snippets are shown.

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What really stands out is the acting. First, there is the absolutely wonderful Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Jon. Leavitt makes the transition from clean cut, California boy to Jersey hunk with a heart easily. He doesn’t turn his character into a caricature, which is easy to do in a rom-com, and he still makes Jon human and likeable. Jon is a Jersey guy that you could actually know.

Who could have thought that Scarlett Johansson could pull off a Jersey girl so easily either? She does not do the Katherine Heigl, One for the Money, half assed accent. She goes all in and she does it without sounding ridiculous. Her portrayal of Barbara comes off as sweet but tough, and really provides the perfect counterpart for the male lead.

The supporting cast didn’t include any slouches. Tony Danza is great as Jon’s opinionated, overbearing sports-addicted dad and Julienne Moore shines as Esther, a fellow night school student who calls Jon out on his porn addiction.

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All in all, Don Jon is a smart romantic comedy, with likable characters and some unexpected twists. Despite this being Gordon-Levitt’s debut as a director, he clearly shows he knows what he’s doing when it comes to setting up a scene. The 90 minute film never drags and could have easily been made a little bit longer.

Here’s the Trailer and if you’ve Seen the Movie – Leave a Review & Earn Some Points!