Friday, August 30, 2013

Book Review: The Three Musketeers

The Three MusketeersThe Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A dull and laborious haul, even for a piece of classic literature based on a candy bar. I did appreciate the use of the terms "lackey," "antechamber" and "What the deuce?" but other than that I had a tough time staying interested. It was almost as tough to truck through as Moby-Dick or War and Peace. I can't fathom why the franchise is so popular.

View all my reviews

Review: Getaway

Get. Away.

That's what I kept saying to the movie, but it wouldn't budge. It just squatted there all stupidly on its big dumb screen, mocking me by refusing to obey.

How dare this silly action flick spoil the good name of the beloved 1994 Alec Baldwin-Kim Basinger sexcapade, which itself was a remake of the 1974 Steve McQueen film. The title, much like everything in the movie, makes no sense, has no bearing on reality, and simply expressed the urge you feel as you longingly eye the portal below the exit sign.

Ethan Hawke stars as a racecar driver whose wife, like so many women, has been up and stolen by Jon Voight. Voight calls Ethan up, tells him that he totally dug Before Midnight and Snow Falling on Cedars, then commands him to steal an armored, camera'd-up car and race it around town at his whims. Do it or his wife dies.

Voight is rather firm about his demands most of the time, but occasionally allows a little freelancing, such as when Selena Gomez tries to carjack Ethan and ends up an unintended passenger on the miseryride. At first, Voight is all KILL HER ETHAN YOU CAN'T LEAVE NO WITNESSES!. But soon he realizes that a female lead for Hawke to vibe off of will help pass the time so he lets her stay.

Gomez tries her best, but she has a little problem in that she was bitten by a vampire at age 11, and thus, despite her biological age of 452, cannot be taken seriously as an adult actress. When Ethan locks Selena in his car, there's a distinct stranger danger vibe going on that's quite off-putting.

More video game than movie, the idiocy has Ethan, in the name of saving the woman he loves, murder dozens upon dozens of people via vehicular manslaughter. You shake your head as his tonka toy of a vehicle survives fiery wreck after fiery wreck, avoiding the cops and ramming through buildings and doing whatever because it's touched a Super Mario Bros. star and cannot be killed.

It's too bad, because this mess could have been sort of fun like Crank, The Transporter 1 through 17 or pretty much any Jason Statham movie that all happen to be exactly the same. All Getaway needed to be mediocre instead of awful was Jason Statham, half a script and one fewer 452-year-old creepy Disney demon spawn.

The real getaway here was the one the filmmakers pulled on the studio, having heisted giant paychecks for minimal work or thought. While I respect the earnest con, I am sad to have suffered 90 minutes of punishment at the hands of the execrable results. Gag away, I did.

Starring Ethan Hawke, Selena Gomez, Jon Voight and Rebecca Budig. Written by Gregg Maxwell Parker and Sean Finegan. Directed by Courtney Solomon. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

5 Stupid Things People Can Go Ahead And Stop Saying

1. "Breakfast of champions." When the expression is known better than the source is, it leads morons to utter it about eating Doritos or pizza in the morning without knowing or caring where it comes from.

2. "Your tax dollars at work." Your brain cells are not at work though.

3. "If I had a nickel." If I had a hammer every time I heard someone say that, I would likely be in jail by now.

4. "Which begs the question." This has been misused so much that its misuse has become accepted usage. Even if the saying has backed its way into the realm of grammatical correctness, it still sounds moronically pretentious.

5. "___ o'clock." Beer o'clock, sex o'clock, nap o'clock, snack o'clock. How about shut the eff up o'clock?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Review: Planes

Looking like a lifeless, creativity-free cash-in on a tired franchise, Planes acts the part as well for the first hour or so. A barely-tweaked, character-for-character carbon copy of Cars, the narrative hurls itself into a bonheaded plot mechanic, then lazily skywrites its way to oblivion.

And then things get interesting.

The movie no longer sucks as it teeters into the third act. Much like Happy Feet, it ventures gleefully off to crazy town, taking on a severely dark tone. Refusing to play it safe any longer, it becomes genuinely dangerous and exciting. For the first time, it's not quite clear where things are going, and characters that seemed poorly written suddenly have some definition and edge.

There is much to hate about this movie. Far more than there is to love, in fact. But I appreciate the dangerous turn so much that the glee overtook the Dane Cook-baked misery that led up to that point. The movie works, almost in spite of itself, and though it predictably coasts toward a predictable ending, at least it manages to accomplish the task with flourish.

Still, though, I have to voice my hatred of some of the crap that came before. Ahem.

* The movie shows a televised plane race. These do not exist. How stupid.

* Just like the bizarre world of Cars, humans do not exist. They must have been all killed somehow. Cars do exist, but their only purpose is to serve as forklifts or as crowd filler in the stands.

* Dane Cook does an Owen Wilson impersonation as the main character, a crop duster who decides to compete against jet fighters and such to prove to be the fastest plane on earth. I hated everything about this character until he suddenly starts calling another pompous plane out on his BS. Then I only disliked him.

Starring the voices of Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss and Brad Garrett. Written by Jefrey M. Howard. Directed by Klay Hall. 92 minutes. Rated G.