We Watch The Crap So You Don't Have To!!
I've been giving the local RedBox a good wringing-out lately. I'll go for a month or so without seeing any new releases, then spend a holiday weekend going apeshit with the DVD player and end up with a sore butt and a lot of questionably used time...
So, here's the scoop, kiddies!
- Written under the pseudonym of Richard Stark, Donald Westlake's character of professional thief Parker has a couple of dozen novels (most of which I've read) and half a dozen of 'em have been filmed. Parker has been played by numerous folks over the years. I'm kind of partial to Lee Marvin's portrayal in 'Point Blank', but Mel Gibson did an OK job in 'Payback'.
This time it's Jason Statham's turn, and while he's got a good grasp of Parker's ethics and drive, it's tough to reconcile his British accent with the Rust Belt thief from the novels.
As far as a heist film goes, it's quite good. The opening sequence is absolutely believeable, and while the main set-piece heist strains your credulity, the film's got enough action to keep you involved.
The inclusion of Jennifer Lopez is almost completely unnecessary to the plot. You can just hear some studio exec screaming for a big ticket female lead to push sales. Blink and you'll miss Nick Nolte, looking like he's about 125 years old.
No Oscar-worthy performances, but a solid entertainer. Recommended!
- It's 'L.A. Confidential: The B Team!' Another cinematic go-round in post-WWII Los Angeles with Mickey Cohen's mobsters and the LAPD.
Josh Brolin leads a perfectly ethnically diverse team of cops after legendary hood Cohen (hammed up by Sean Penn). Lots of Tommy Guns and fisticuffs, but kinda light on the plot and any sort of credibility.
I will give points for the romantic rematch between Emma Stone & Ryan Gosling. While she's too cute to be a gangster's moll, Stone is downright adorable, and worth the price of the rental.
There's better films out there, but this one didn't completely suck.
- Arnold Schwarzenegger's back, and this time he's old!!
That's the running joke in this cop caper set in deepest darkest Arizona. Some drug kingpin is trying to blast across the border in a souped-up 'Vette, and it's up to Ah-nuld and his lovable band of misfits to hold the line and keep the world safe for democracy.
It's extremely silly, and even a belt-fed Vickers MG can't really save this one from sinking under its own preposterousness. I'd skip it...
Stand Up Guys
- This one got poor reviews, but I'm inclined to give it two thumbs up. It's (yet another) gangster film, this time with Al Pacino as an ex-con coming back to the world after 20+ years in the can. He's met by former partners Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin for a night of celebration and hijinks.
Alas, there's more going on here than a get-out-of-jail party...
Pacino really goes over the top in this one, but watching him play off of Walken and Arkin is a lot of fun.
I don't want to spoil the plot. It's worth watching!
Others worth the $1.20 rental:
'Silver Linings Playbook'