Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wknd Box Office: The Last Stand, Broken City, Mama

Here is an interesting article from http://www.debbieschlussel.com/ reviewing some of the movies that came out over the past weekend. This follows this post about some of the movies from last week and THIS POST about some movies that have been released over the past few years that you might have missed! This all follows this post about guidelines to chosing good movies to watch yourself!

Wknd Box Office: The Last Stand, Broken City, Mama

By Debbie Schlussel

It’s January, the other pet cemetery to which Hollywood sends its crappy movies to die a quick and painless death (the other movie cemetery is August). So, the new movies Hollywood dumped on us this weekend ain’t no great shakes. Oddly enough, the most enjoyable and only entertaining one of the bunch stars an aged liberal ex-Governor whom I despise.

* “The Last Stand“: This is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comeback vehicle for senior citizen action hero status. And while it’s a crummy movie, it’s mildly entertaining and far better than I expected. You know what you’re gonna get with this–lots of guns, shooting, action, car chases, stunts, and other stuff typical to pre-Governator, Maid-Impregnator Schwarzenegger movies. Keep in mind that this extremely bloody and violent movie, filled with guns is the comeback vehicle of a man who exuberantly supported gun control as the Governor of California.

Also, I had to laugh at Arnie’s lines like, “My honor can’t be bought,” when I think of how the real-life guy uttering those lines has no honor at all.  Remember, this is the guy who invited major Nazi and Wehrmacht intelligence office Kurt Waldheim (who sent tens of thousands of Yugoslavian Jews to their deaths in the camps) to the Arnold-Maria wedding. At the Schwarzenegger-Shriver wedding, Arnold opened a gift from the Nazi Waldheim, who could not attend because, at that point, his Nazi past was exposed and he was on the no fly-list. Arnold told the assembled guests:

My friends don’t want me to mention Kurt’s name, because of all the recent Nazi stuff and the U.N. controversy, but I love him and Maria does too, and so thank you, Kurt.

More details here. And it’s the same Arnold who pardoned a convicted murderer and cut his sentence from 16 to seven years, simply because the murderer’s father was an important California Democratic legislator . . . and he mocked the family of the murder victim. Given that, it’s hard to watch Schwarzenegger in this movie and take him seriously as a law-and-order, tough-on-criminals sheriff. In real life, he was–and remains–the exact opposite as a public official and celebrity. So, when he says things like, “You give immigrants like me a bad name,” in the movie, I say, look in the mirror buddy.

The story: a violent convicted criminal, the son of a powerful Mexican drug cartel leader, is a federal prisoner who is being transferred amidst armed guards and FBI agents galore. He escapes and seeks to get to Mexico via a small Arizona border town. But the town’s sheriff, a retired Los Angeles cop (Schwarzenegger), sniffs part of the crime even before the escape. He sees thugs who pretend to be truck drivers and doesn’t quite believe their story. Then, a dairy farmer turns up dead. The sheriff gathers a motley crew of town cops, Johnny Knoxville (of “Jackass” fame), a town prisoner, etc. to fight off the escaped con, after getting a tip from the FBI that he may be headed that way.

It’s kind of weird that a sheriff with a very thick Austrian accent has the surname, Owen. Huh? Is that the anglicized for Anschluss? Also weird: almost all of the women in the movie look like Danica Patrick.

Like I said, the movie is better than I expected, but still not a good movie. It’s enjoyable empty calorie stuff if you’re into extremely violent, non-credible action flicks starring 65-year-old Nazi-lovers who pardon murderers and father kids with the maid. Just remember: the lead actor is a major hypocrite. But I guess that’s why they call it acting.

Oh, and one other thing: this movie is rated “R” for a reason. Parents who take their kids to see this are morons.


* “Broken City: More like, Broken Movie. This movie starts off okay, but descends into the most absurd, cockamamie, waste-of-time plots. And why do the major stars of a movie set in New York have stark Boston accents? Normally a tight, well-written thriller has some hint of “whodunit” and also a whiff of what the heck is going on. But this has neither because it’s a rambling, aimless two hours of silliness.

Mark Wahlberg plays a disgraced former New York cop who is now a private investigator taking photos of cheating spouses, when New York Mayor Russell Crowe (the second half of the Boston accent team – maybe Aussies can’t do New York accents?) summons Wahlberg to the Mayoral office. The Mayor wants the former police detective to tail the Mayor’s wife (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and find out with whom she’s having an affair. When he learns that the person in question is the campaign manager of the Mayor’s younger progressive opponent, he also learns that it’s not necessarily an affair the Mayor wants to find out about. And that the Mayor is not necessarily a victim, but perhaps a corrupt perpetrator. That’s when it all goes haywire and the plot is nonsensical, overwrought, and ridiculous.

Oh, and did I mention that the one of the “decent” people in the movie, the Mayor’s wife, is a big supporter of gay marriage. We’re treated to her speech at a Human Rights Campaign event where she lectures us about how “I should be able to love who I damn well please.” Barf. You know it’s a bad movie when they’re shoving politics down your throat in the first few scenes. Also, the bizarre hairstyle Russell Crowe sports in this–which looks like the tail of a wet dog is sitting on his forehead–doesn’t help relieve the unintended comedy.

An absolute time bandit, stealing two hours of your time you’ll never get back (and ten-plus bucks). Skip this.


* “Mama“: This movie is preposterous and not even scary, like it’s supposed to be. When I was supposed to scream, I laughed–in part because of the lousy CGI (Computer Generated Image) ghost. And the plot and story were silly.

A man kills his partners and his wife and runs away with his two young daughters into a snowy forest. There, they find an abandoned cottage and go inside, where the father gets possessed by a ghost and disappears. The two young girls who are probably about ages five and three miraculously manage to survive the next five years in this cold, unheated, abandoned house in wintry woods because the ghost sends them an abundance of cherries. Five years later, the girls are found by a private detective hired by their father’s brother (their uncle). They are living and functioning like animals.

The father and his goth girlfriend (Jessica Chastain in a black wig and dark make-up and t-shirts) work a deal with a state psychiatrist, allowing them to have custody of the girls, so long as they all live in a state-funded house used for observing patients and subjects. Soon, the mysterious ghost appears in the house in various manifestations and wreaks havoc.

Trust me when I say, you won’t really care who the ghost is or why she is doing this. And when you sorta find out–it’s never fully explained–you won’t care.

A complete waste of time. And just not scary. But it is laughable.


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