Been a busy week. I have 3 movie reviews here for you
Green Lantern: Movie Review
Admittedly, I was never a reader of the Green Lantern comics growing up. I knew who he was and his back story but I just wasn’t all that interested in him. I was more of a Spiderman and Hulk fan. I don’t feel you need to know much about a comic book character to enjoy a film about one. I am sure many people who have never read a Batman comic in their life, loved the last two films. When it comes to Green Lantern though, whether you are a loyal fan or a casual moviegoer just looking for a fun summer film, I doubt you will find much excitement in this film based on the character.
As the film opens, a group of aliens have crashed on a lost planet where an evil creature named Parallax was imprisoned long ago. In the process, they wind up freeing Parallax by letting it consume their souls. Once freed, Parallax attacks Abin Sur, the Green Lantern that was responsible for imprisoning him. As a result of the attack, Abin Sur crash lands on Earth and the dying alien sends his ring out to find a Green Lantern warrior to replace him.
Who does the ring choose? Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds), an arrogant test pilot who lives his life pretty recklessly is it’s choice. When Hal takes the ring and lantern/charging station (yep, the ring runs out of juice and always needs to be recharged kind of like your iPhone), he begins to realize it’s power. After his first use of the ring in a parking lot brawl, the ring transports him to the home world of the intergalactic peace-keeping squadron known as the Green Lanterns. There Hal meets Tomar-Re (Geoffrey Rush) , Kilowog (Michael Clarke Duncan), & Sinestro (Mark Strong) who are not yet assured of their first human brother’s ability.
After a little training, Hal heads back to earth, only to realize that Dr. Hector Hammond (Peter Sarsgaard) has actually been infected by Parallax while working on the corpse of Abin Sur. This infections allows to not only allows him to hear peoples thoughts but also gives him the ability to move things with his mind. Now Parallax wants to destroy the new Green Lantern and Earth as well.
There are so many reasons why GREEN LANTERN does not work, it is hard to figure out where to begin. Let’s start with the story. It seems that each superhero movie franchise needs and origins story. I have come to accept that. Not everyone who sees the film is familiar with how the hero came to be. The problem is that there is so much going on here and very little is interesting or exciting. Hal seems to jump into his abilities quite easily. His training seems to take only a matter of minutes, which is ridiculous (much like the movie as a whole)
We are given two bad guys here. The first is Parallax, which kind of looks like a rip-off of the planet-eating Galactus from the FANTASTIC 4 sequel. We also get Hector Hammond who starts off kind of interestingly portrayed by Peter Sarsgaard but then his acting turns laughably bad as soon as he is transformed into the super-villain. Each time Dr. Hammond screamed (which seems pretty often), I would burst out laughing.
What’s up with all the good actors acting really badly? Tim Robbins is Senator Hammond, Hector’s father. I would say this is Robbins worst performance since HOWARD THE DUCK. Angela Bassett is Dr. Amanda Waller and seems really unhappy to be in this film. At least her part is short. Poor Blake Lively, she is given next to nothing to do here as Hal’s love interest Carol Ferris. All she really does is stand around and look pretty and give a few words of advice. It’s a thankless role.
Finally we have Ryan Reynolds. I think Reynolds is great in many of the comedies he does. He is quick, funny and charming. When it comes to comic book characters though, he just doesn’t fit. This is his third comic book film. The two prior were BLADE: TRINITY and X-MEN ORIGENS: WOLVERINE. Both were bad films and he is not very good in either of them, though he sucked less in BLADE. Reynolds cocky attitude just does not feel right for the character. I know that the Lantern ring was worn by different humans in the comics and I am sure they all had different personalities but here it just does not feel right.
GREEN LANTERN has all the huge special effects and gloss that you come to expect from most of your summer comic book films, but in the wake of far more superior origin films like THOR and X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, it is a disappointment. If you wind up going to see the film anyways, stay through the end credits for a bonus scene that will probably make the fans of the character happy.
By: Marc Fermankeepitclassic.com/2011/06/green-lantern-movie-review/
Mr. Popper’s Penguins: Movie Review
Going into MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS, I expected the worst. Another poorly made kid’s film about a workaholic father who by the end learns the value of family, starring a once very funny comedic actor who may be past his prime. Surprisingly unlike the slew of cash-grabbing efforts from Eddie Murphy, Mr. Popper’s Penguins is quite entertaining. I give much of the credit to Carrey who still displays some of the spastic energy that we have come to know and love. Also, those really cute & digitally created penguins don’t hurt either.
In the film Carrey plays Tom Popper, a highly successful real-estate developer who is on his way to becoming a partner at his firm. Tom is also a divorced father of two, who usually puts his work before his personal life. That is until his recently deceased father sends him six adorable penguins. Of course the penguins turn his life into utter chaos but the kids seem to love them, so he keeps them in his ultra-modern Park Avenue apartment. No matter how difficult the penguins make his life, he continues to grow more attached to them. I did find myself laughing a few times in the film, even if they were cheap “bathroom humor” laughs.
MR. POPPER’S PENGUINS is a film made for kids between the ages and 5-12, but older Jim Carrey fans should get a few laughs out of it, though not much else. There is a lack of quality children’s films in theaters right now and if you are looking to go to see something with the family, I would recommend KUNG FU-PANDA 2 first, but if you have already seen that, well you won’t be suffering through MR. POPPERS PENGUINS.
By: Marc Fermankeepitclassic.com/2011/06/mr-poppers-penguins-movie-review/
The Art Of Getting By: Movie Review
THE ART OF GETTING BY is not a bad movie, but it is severely hobbled by the casting of a now teenage Freddie Highmore (AUGUST RUSH, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY). In Highmore’s earlier films, he seemed to always have this look of wonder and innocents that made him enjoyable to watch. Now the young actor is getting older and moving on to more mature films.
Highmore plays George Zinavoy, an extremely bright but lonely boy who has never applied himself at school, despite his potential. One day he is befriended by Sally (Emma Roberts), a beautiful and popular girl who sees something in George that all the other kids don’t. She sees him as a kindred spirit and they build a close friendship. George introduces Sally to his world of art and Sally brings George into her circle of friends. The whole group embraces George right away, which I actually found to be quite different. I expected a few of the kids to snicker at Sally’s new friend, but they were all cool with it.
The material here is actually quite good and I strongly feel that if George was cast by another young actor, it could have worked. The character is a know-it-all, somewhat disrespectful slacker and I just did not buy Highmore in the roll. He just seems too squeaky clean. He was also quite boring. Emma Roberts fares much better as Sally. Sally’s free spirit also has some complications. She does not have a very stable home life. Her mom seems to be a negative influence though her heart seems to be in the right place. There are some nice scenes between Highmore & Roberts but they don’t cover up the flaws.
We are given a good supporting cast which I would have liked to see more of. Blair Underwood is great as Principal Martinson. You can tell he likes George a lot and tries his hardest to steer him in the right direction. I think the film’s best moments are between Highmore & Underwood. Alicia Silverstone shows up as one of George’s teachers. Even Rita Wilson as George’s worried mother is quite good.
THE ART OF GETTING BY is the first feature film by Writer/Director Gavin Wiesen. Aside from my problem with the lead casting, I also found that Wiesen’s pacing of the film seemed to be a problem. Even at only 90 minutes, there are times where the film just seems to drag on. As for Highmore, I am hoping that he can come back a bit stronger as he goes through his awkward years. For now, he should take a little break from acting, at least till he finishes college.
By: Marc Fermankeepitclassic.com/2011/06/the-art-of-getting-by-movie-review/