Jan 28 2011

The Rite

A skeptical seminary student named Michael (Colin O’Donoghue) is sent to Rome to learn the rites of Exorcism. While in Rome Michael is sent to meet with Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins)To prove the existence of demons and the devil. Steadfast Michael refuses to believe in God or the Devil until it appears that Father Lucas himself is possessed. Now in a struggle to save Father Lucas’s life and soul Michael must face his own demons and find something to believe in, but is he too late? For what starts out so promising it’s unfortunate The Rite quickly devolves into standard faire religious horror; contorted bodies, spooky voices, a few minor demon challenges until finally a showdown with the big boss. Oh how I hunger for a horror that breaks this pattern because this ain’t it. Sure there are creepy moments, and it’s not as though Hopkins is ever really off his game as an actor; but, as a game changer that makes us really question the supernatural it’s as though the screenplay gets torn attempting to flesh out subplots that really aren’t that interesting or crucial to the plot overall. For the second time this week I find myself saying Ho hum…More of a rental, The Rite is rated PG-13.

Jan 28 2011

The Mechanic

A professional hitman, Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham), is setup by his employer to secretly kill his mentor and father figure, Harry (Donald Sutherland). In a moment of compassion towards Harry’s son Steve (Ben Foster) Arthur agree’s to teach him about the hire for kill business. While working together the two discover the true motives for Harry’s execution. Now in a position to exact revenge on their boss (Tony Goldwyn), the hitmen team up to put an end to his corrupt ways. But when
Steve figures out Arthur was the trigger man that killed his father the question becomes how will the two deal with each other? So lets get this straight, Jason Statham as a muscle bound, bad-boy, killer type that saves the day, wasn’t that a film called the Transporter 1, 2 or 3, no wait, maybe it was called Crank or Death Race? I get it, the guy’s type cast once again, which is good and bad I suppose; the good being that he can actually act, the bad being that we’re not seeing him take a challenge and that there’s little substance to the film that hasn’t been done zillions of times before. And, given that the film is a remake to begin with, the freshness factor is already under scrutiny. All told there aren’t huge missteps in this one, it does what it sets out to do, explosions, stunts, fist fights, and predictable outcome, it’s pulp celluloid. It’s a rental…ho hum…The Mechanic is rated R.

Jan 21 2011

No Strings Attached

Adam (Ashton Kutcher) is an aspiring screen writer/production assistant working in Hollywood living in the shadow of his father (Kevin Kline), a famous TV sitcom dad. Emma (Natalie Portman) is a sharp tongued resident medical student with a lack of desire for intimacy. As fate would have it Adam and Emma have known each other for years but personality conflicts have always kept the two as acquaintances; when the two finally break through the friend zone and become sex partners their relationship takes a turn. Can the two handle the arraignment or will their feelings get in the way; and, will Adam ever get over his dad’s consistently bad life choices? Sounds like a predictable romantic comedy right? There has to be a catch right? Well of course there is, you see, the big twist is it’s the girl who’s emotionally distant not the guy. Ehhh, okay, so it’s not a huge twist, and the film is still predictable, but you know, it wasn’t all that bad. The humor comes fast and sharp and it keeps the film aloft. Meanwhile, Kutcher and Portman have believable chemistry and that counts for a lot in this genre. Playing to these two strengths Director Ivan Reitman gives us mindless fun that feels relevant for modern couples. Matinee fun, No Strings Attached is rated R.