Archive for January, 2011

Atlantic City

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In 1915, Atlantic City is a sleepy seaside resort, but Brad Taylor, son of a small hotel and vaudeville house proprietor, has big plans: he thinks it can be “the playground of the world.” Brad’s wheeling and dealing proves remarkably successful in attracting big enterprises and big shows, but brings him little success in personal relationships. Full of nostalgic songs and acts, some with the original artists.

REVIEW:

 Please forgive the briefness of this review, I’m a bit under the weather. I’m actually surprised I managed to stay coherent throughout this picture.

With all the sudden fascination with all things Jersey, I figured why not cave in and check something out along those lines. This is how I came across Atlantic City. Not to mention it has Louis Armstrong in it!

The story here has to do with, more or less, the creation of Atlantic City. I don’t know how true to the actual story this film is, if any, but it was quite enjoyable.

The music is gret, but then, wasn’t all music from the swingin’ 40s?

The romance and drama were a bit much for me. I guess my sickness isn’t letting me look past it and focus on the story as I normally do.

The cast, as with every other classic piece of cinema I’ve seen, prove that folks knew how to act back then and didn’t need special effects to make a great film.

Of course, calling this film great would be a stretch. Sure, it is good, but there seems to be some kind of disjointedness shortly after the halfway point.

It isn’t like it is two completely different films, but there just seems to be something not quite coherent. Sort of like a romantic comedy that suddenly becomes an action drama, for lack of a better example.

When the dust clears, I liked this picture well enough, but with the exception of the musical numbers, I probably wouldn’t watch it again. Does that mean you should feel the same way? No, but chances are you didn’t even know this film existed, and probably won’t give it a second thought unless you’re a fan of classic cinema. Do I recommend this? Yes, but don’t go out of your way to find it. For me it was just an average flick, at best.

3 out of 5 stars

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Vegas Vacation

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At work, Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) has invented a long life food preservative, earning him a large bonus check. Clark announces to his family that he is taking them on vacation. Enthusiasm wanes, however, when Clark says they are headed to Las Vegas, Nevada.

His wife, Ellen (Beverly D’Angelo), and teenage daughter, Audrey (Marisol Nichols) have their doubts, as Las Vegas is not known for its family-friendly atmosphere, while teenage son Rusty (Ethan Embry) appears to be more eager, even asking if prostitution is legal there.

Upon arriving in Vegas, the family embarks upon a series of mishaps and adventures. Clark crosses paths with Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid), the husband of Ellen’s cousin Catherine (Miriam Flynn). Eddie and his family now live in the desert just north of Las Vegas, on what used to be an H-bomb test site.

While on a group tour of the gigantic Hoover Dam, Clark foolishly leaves the group after accidentally creating a leak in the dam’s inside walkways, and is forced to climb the scaffolding to the very top of the dam to get out, because his cries for help cannot be heard over the roaring water of the spillway.

During the vacation in Las Vegas, Clark becomes addicted to gambling (mostly Blackjack, which he usually loses), Rusty gets a fake ID and becomes a winning high roller (taking on the pseudonym ‘Nick Pappagiorgio’), Audrey starts hanging out with Eddie’s wild stripper daughter Vickie (Shae D’Lyn) (and hanging out with impersonators of The Beatles as well), and Ellen becomes addicted to Wayne Newton (playing himself), who may have feelings for Ellen, and it’s making Clark jealous.

After Clark gambles away the family’s $22,600 bank account, Eddie—who has money buried in his front yard—tries to come to the Griswold family’s rescue in return for everything the Griswolds have done for him and his family over the years.

Ultimately, the family begins to fall apart, thanks to Clark’s obsessive gambling, Ellen’s infatuation with Wayne Newton, Rusty’s new winning lifestyle, and Audrey’s desire to engage in exotic dancing with Cousin Vicki rather than spend time with her family.

The Griswolds must learn how to come together as a family, or “Sin City” just might destroy their very fabric.

Near the climax of the film, the Griswolds gamble their last two dollars on a game of Keno. They take a seat next to an older man (Sid Caesar in a cameo) who compliments Clark on his lovely family, and hints that he’s been lonely all of his life. Out of guilt, Clark tells the man to consider himself part of the Griswold family for the night. The man happily accepts Clark’s kind words, and both parties begin the game. At first, the Griswolds are hopeful, but as they realize they’ve already lost the game, they sadly sit for moments in silence. Suddenly, the man next to them ecstatically declares that he’s won the game. As he continues to express joy, he suddenly begins to slip in and out of consciousness while Ellen sends Rusty for help. He awakens one last time and whispers a message to Clark, before dropping his winning ticket and falling one final time. Clark, puzzled, tells Ellen that the man said “take the ticket”. When the casino security guards and paramedics arrive, they declare the man officially dead. They tell the Griswolds his name was Mr. Ellis, and commented on how sad his loneliness was to them. As Mr. Ellis is carried away, a janitor approaches with a vacuum cleaner; walking straight for the winning ticket on the floor. Though it appears Clark is going to allow it to be lost, he at last moment pulls the ticket out of the path of the vacuum.

Clark and Ellen remarry at the end. Afterwards, Clark hands Eddie a large pile of cash (Eddie can be overheard saying $5000 after counting it) and explains by telling him that “we were very fortunate last night”. Rusty tells Clark of the four cars he had won, a Dodge Viper, a Ford Mustang, a Hummer H1, and a Ford Aspire. Clark takes all the keys away from Rusty, but instead of confiscating them, he gives the keys to each family member. The movie rolls credits as the Griswolds are shown on Interstate 15, driving back home to Chicago.

REVIEW:

 The Griswolds return once again, this time taking a vacation to Las Vegas. Yeah, that’s the perfect family place, lemme tell ya!

Vegas Vacation is supposedly the last in the Vacation franchise. Notice that there is no “National Lampoon” in front of the title. I’m not sure why this is, but I honestly can’t say I blame them.

If you will recall when I reviewed National Lampoon’s Vacation, I mention that it was a good old-fashioned R-Rated comedy. Subsequently, National Lampoon’s European Vacation and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation both were toned down to Pg-13. While the “lesser” rating didn’t make either of those less funny, you could tell they were restrained a bit.

Well, Vegas Vacation seems like it was put in a straight jacket. I will never understand the desire for studios to take a film that works with one rating and drop it into a more “family friendly” one in an attempt to make more money. I”m of the opinion that if a film is going to make money, it will happen with or without parents paying for their annoying rugrat to sit in a theater and torture everyone around them because they don’t really want to be there. I’m just saying.

This film is quite funny, despite all that, but there is something that feels a bit rushed about it. Sort of like this was some studio execs sad attempt to make a name for himself and keep his job by fast tracking it into production, sacrificing thing like good story, script, etc.

The plot is the Griswold go to Vegas. While there, Clark gambles away all their money, Rusty becomes part of the mafia (for lack of a better term), Audrey becomes an exotic dancer (blame that on her cousin…get to that in a bit), and Ellen nearly hooks up with Wayne Newton. Oh, and then cousin Eddie and family, who just happen to live just outside of Vegas, show up.

First of all, let me say that I think these movies, with the exception of …Christmas Vacation, would be so much better without cousin Eddie, yet for some reason they keep forcing him down our throats. Look how great …European Vacation was, and he wasn’t in there at all. I know everyone has that one relative who just seems to be a nuisance, but this is a bit much.

Keeping in the theme of the family, and I belive I’ve touched on this before, the constant changing of the kids is…odd. I understand things happen and casts change, but at least keep somewhat of a timeline. I mean their ages have been up and down. If this was animated, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but it is obvious that both Clark and Ellen have aged, so why have their kids seemed to be drinking from the fountain of youth (though they are older than they were in the last one).

Chevy Chase is hilarious as ever and his chemistry with Beverly D’Angelo just seems to get better with each picture.

Although I didn’t care for the changing ages of the children, both actors, Marisol Nichols and Ethen Embry, are both pretty good in their roles.

Randy Quaid is as annoying as he always has ben as cousin Eddie.

Vegas Vacation isn’t as good as its predecessors, but it is still worth watching. Did it need to be made? I guess if Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo needed the money that bad, but otherwise, I’d have to say no. Should you watch it? I won’t say that you should, but there are oodles of much worse films out there that would do nothing than waste your time (looks at the review prior to this one, for example). Why not check it out and have a good laugh?

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Spoofs & Satire with tags , , , , on January 30, 2011 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

The Old West meets soft-core sexploitation in this action-packed adventure starring buxom beauty Nicole Sheridan as Annie, a cocktail waitress whose life takes a surprising turn when she learns she’s inherited the Devil’s Ring casino. Targeted by a band of outlaws looking to get their hands on her “property,” Annie receives some unexpected help from beyond the grave when the ghost of Calamity Kate (Belinda Gavin) emerges to wreck shop.

REVIEW:

 I won’t even waste my time giving this thing a full review, because I already wasted 78 minutes that I’ll never get back on this mess.

I was in the mood this morning for something bad, admittedly, but I wasn’t expecting this wannabe porn. Yes, I said wannabe porn, because that is what you get here.

A title like The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful leads one to believe that they are going to see a parody of The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, right? Wrong!!!

The only similarity between the two films is the title, though I guess you can say they are set in the west.

Going back to the porn point. This film, I belive was meant to be one of those late-night HBO, Cinemax type of things. It is like the director was trying to leave the porn industry for “bigger and better things”, but couldn’t get away from what he knows best.

Seriously, the numerous sex scenes go on for quite sometime. To top that off, the only thing that distinguishes them from actual porn scenes is not being able to see pubic regions, which are usually quickly covered up by their hands.

I don’t need to tell you that the acting is horrible. I’m pretty sure you seen, or at least heard about how bad these type of films are.

The plot seems like it was some elementary student’s creative writing project that some third-rate Hollywood writer got their hands on and added some sex scenes…and that’s being generous.

It isn’t very often that I come across a movie so bad that I want to turn it off, but this falls into that category, without a question. This thing isn’t as bad as Ghost in a Teeny Bikini, but it is painfully close. If you know what’s good for you, stay away from this. I already made the sacrifice for you. When the highlight of a non porn flick is the sex scenes, then you have some issues. Just forget this thing even exists!

1 1/2 out of 5 stars

Inception

Posted in Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and along with his partner Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) perform illegal corporate espionage by entering the subconscious minds of their targets, using two-level “dream within a dream” strategies to “extract” valuable information. Each of the “extractors” carries a “totem”, a personalized small object whose behavior is unpredictable to anyone except to the totem’s owner, to determine if they are within another person’s dream. Cobb’s totem is a spinning top which spins perpetually in the dream state. Cobb struggles with memories of his dead wife Mal (Marion Cotillard) that manifest within the dream and try to sabotage his efforts.

Cobb is approached by the wealthy Mr. Saito (Ken Watanabe) asking them to perform the act of “inception”, planting an idea within the person’s subconscious mind. Saito wishes to break up the vast energy empire of his competitor, the ailing Maurice Fischer (Pete Postlethwaite), by suggesting this idea to his son Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy) who will inherit the empire when his father dies. Should Cobb succeed, Saito promises to use his influence to clear Cobb of the murder charges for his wife’s death, allowing Cobb to re-enter the United States and reunite with his children. Cobb assembles his team: Eames (Tom Hardy), an identity forger; Yusuf (Dileep Rao), a chemist who concocts the powerful sedative needed to stabilize the layers of the shared dream; and Ariadne (Ellen Page), a young student architect tasked with designing the labyrinth of the dream landscapes. While planning the inception, Ariadne learns of the guilt Cobb struggles with from Mal’s suicide and his separation from his children when he fled the country as a fugitive.

The job is set into motion when Maurice Fischer dies and his son accompanies his father’s body from Sydney to Los Angeles. During the flight, Cobb sedates Fischer, and the team bring him into a three-level shared dream. At each stage, the member of the team who is “creating” the dream remains while the other team members fall asleep within the dream to travel further down into Fischer’s subconscious. The dreamers will then ride a synchronized system of “kicks” (a car diving off a bridge, a falling elevator, and a collapsing building) back up the levels to wake up to reality. In the first level, Yusuf’s dream of a rainy city, the team successfully abducts Fischer, but the team is attacked by Fischer’s militarized subconscious projections, which have been trained to hunt and kill extractors. Saito is mortally wounded during the shoot-out, but due to the strength of Yusuf’s sedative, dying in the dream will send them into limbo, a deep subconscious level where they may lose their grip on reality and be trapped indefinitely.

Eames takes the appearance of Fischer’s godfather Peter Browning (Tom Berenger) to suggest that he reconsider his opinion of his father’s will. Yusuf remains on the first level driving a van through the streets, while the remaining characters enter Arthur’s dream, taking place in a corporate hotel. Cobb turns Fischer against Browning and persuades him to join the team as Arthur runs point, and they descend to the third dream level, a snowy mountain fortress dreamed by Eames, which Fischer is told represents Browning’s subconscious. Yusuf’s evasive driving on the first level manifests as distorted gravity effects on the second and an avalanche on the third.

Saito succumbs to his wounds, and Cobb’s projection of Mal sabotages the plan by shooting Fischer dead.[11] Cobb and Ariadne elect to enter limbo to find Fischer and Saito. There, Cobb confronts his projection of Mal, who tries to convince him to stay with her and his kids in limbo. Cobb refuses and confesses that he was responsible for Mal’s suicide: to help her escape from limbo during a shared dream experience, he inspired in her the idea that her world wasn’t real. Once she had returned to reality, she became convinced that she was still dreaming and needed to die in order to wake up. Through his confession, Cobb attains catharsis and chooses to remain in limbo to search for Saito; Eames defibrillates Fischer to bring him back up to the third-level mountain fortress, where he enters a safe room and discovers and accepts the idea to split up his father’s business empire.

Leaving Cobb behind, the team members escape by riding the kicks back up the levels of the dream. Cobb eventually finds an elderly Saito who has been waiting in limbo for decades in dream time (just a few hours in real time), and the two help each other to remember their arrangement. The team awakens on the flight; Saito arranges for Cobb to get through U.S. customs, and he goes home to reunite with his children. Cobb uses his spinning top to test reality but is distracted by his children before he sees the result.

REVIEW:

 I’ve actually received quite a few inquiries as to why/when am I going to review Inception. Well, here it is.

Let me say this first, I am no fan of Christopher Nolan. While everyone else seems to worship the ground this guy walks on, I think he’s overrated and his pictures are just an excuse for him to show the world how messed up he is psychologically. Having said that, I did rather enjoy this picture, much more than The Dark Knight.

Don’t even bother asking me what the film is about because I couldn’t tell you without causing mass confusion. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. As someone said about this picture, it is one of those films that makes you think from beginning to end…especially the end.

It is no secret that I prefer films that require little to no thought. For me, they are just more enjoyable. I watch movies as an escape. That’s what they were initially made for, anyway. However, a film like this is a welcome departure from the norm for me every now and then.

Nolan prefers his films to be rooted in reality, so the only way he coul feasibly get away with rolling a city on itself (you see part of this happening in the trailer), is to have this happen in someone’s dreams, where anything can happen. I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily go around turning cities upside down like that in my dreams, but whatever.

So, Leonardo DiCaprio is apparently working for some mysterious benefactors and has gained this skill of manipulating people’s thoughts through dreams. This leads the viewer to wonder what part of the film is “real” and what is dream, much in the same way the first couple of films in The Matrix trilogy had you wondering.

I really liked this notion of more or less implanting thoughts through dreams, but one has to wonder…has it already been done? Maybe I’ve gone into your dreams and told you to read this post? Maybe you told me to write this? Who knows?

As with any film of this nature nowadays, they have to insert the drama. This comes in the form of Marion Cotillard’s character, Mal, who apparently committed suicide and inadvertently framed Leonardo DiCaprio for it. Now, she “haunts” his subconscious and causes trouble for him and his team.

This is not a film filled with nothing but subconscious mumbo jumbo. There actually is a lot more action here than I expected. This actually helps move the film along at a brisk pace, because without it, this picture could very well have fallen into the category of “will this never end” boredom!

Each of the cast is great. I think this is one of the few DiCaprio films that I actually liked him in (Titanic was all about Kate Winslet).

Joseph Gordon-Levitt really surprised me with this very serious, buttoned up role as Arthur. Something we’re not used to seeing from him. Of course, the same thing could have been said about him in G.I. Joe:Rise of Cobra, right?

If there was a weak link, it had to be Ellen Page. Once again, she’s playing the same role we’ve seen her do a million times before, that of the rebellious youth who wants to do her own thing. She seriously needs to try something different.

Nolan also brought in his usuals, Cillian Murphy and Michael Caine. I half expected to see Christian Bale turn up somewhere, but then again, it looks like Murphy was trying to be Bale.

What did I think of Inception? Well, I’m not gushing over it the way everyone else seems to be, but I did rather enjoy it. I’m just not into these types of films, I guess. I mean, had there been more action and not so much exposition and unnecessary drama, not to mention a shorter runtime, I might have loved it. Still, I would highly recommend that you see this film. I will say it was one of the best films of 2010.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Ziegfeld Follies

Posted in Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Winner of the award for Best Musical Comedy at the Cannes Film Festival, this star-studded production opens in heaven, with the late Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld looking down to earth and imagining a final lavish revue. A series of musical and comedy sketches follow, including dance numbers with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, an Esther Williams water ballet, a Red Skelton comedy routine and more. Lucille Ball and Judy Garland also appear.

REVIEW:

 Ziegfeld Follies is not a film for everyone, I’ll get that out right off th bat. This is one of those package features films that was cheap to make during wartime…although this all-star, who’s who cast probably cost them a pretty penny.

I was really expecting to like this film, but it just didn’t happen. I mean, I usually like package films. At least I do in animated faire such as Melody Time, Make Mine Music, Saludos Amigos, etc. I guess the formula doesn’t work sans Disney.

There actually is a plot here. Florenz Ziegfeld is looking down and thinking about what one final all-star revue of his works would be like. That sequence lasts for a bout 5 minutes, then we segue into a book/program without ever seeing Ziegfeld again. Kind of odd for a film called Ziegfeld Follies, if you ask me.

Don’t get me wrong, these skits and musical numbers are mostly great on their own (there are couple of subpar entries), but they all seemed just thrown together here. I’m sure that in the stage production of this film, these works flow into each other seamlessly, but on film, at least the way the filmmaker made it, that isn’t the case.

When I looked at the cast of this and saw Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire, I was hoping beyond all hope that they’d get a segment together. Segment after segment passed and it was starting to seem as if that wasn’t going to happen, and then the highlight of the film as the two greatest dancers ver to grace the silver screen paired up. If I’m not mistaken, this is the only time they ever did so. I will say this, though…this segment is the reason to watch this flick, if for nothing else.

I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re saying to yourself that I hated this film. That isn’t the case. I did like it, not love it, but like it. I think it coud have been directed better and they could have had better segment segues, similar to the way they are done in De-Lovely. Should you watch this? I wouldn’t suggest it, unless you’re a die hard song and dance fan, or really into Vaudeville/variety type stuff, because that is what this film is. Still, it is a good watch, and you could do much worse.

3 out of 5 stars

Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on January 29, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Anthony Dexter as “Captain Kidd” is saved from hanging by an Earl who wants to get his hand on Kidd’s treasure. The Earl thinks the best method is to put a woman confederate (Eva Gabor) aboard Kidd’s ship as a slave girl to wrest or wrestle the information from him. They fight a lot as a prelude to falling in love, and then work together against the evil Earl’s none-too-well laid plan. Alan Hale, Jr. (Simpson) is along as Kidd’s trusted friend, while Sonia Sorrell (as Ann Bonney) displays a lot of what the best-undressed female pirate wasn’t wearing on pirate ships of the time.

REVIEW:

What better way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon than watching a good, old-fashioned, black & white pirate flick, eh? That’s exactly what I just did with Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl.

Before you go jumping to conclusions, there is nothing raunchy about this picture. The term “slave girl” is just in the title. As a matter of fact, she doesn’t even stay a slave very long.

So, let’s get the bad out of the way first. Back in this era, many films were shot on sound stages, and it was obvious. I actually prefer that look to location shoots, sometimes. I can’t look over, though, the many times during this film where you can see people walking behind the backgrounds. Since this is in black and white, it really shows.

The film moves a bit on the slow side for the first half of the picture, but it picks up not long after they get to sea. Personally, I think they could have taken some of that early exposition out in favor of some more swashbuckling action, but that’s just me.

Speaking of the action, when it finally kicks in, it is what you would expect from a film of this era and caliber. Sure, there aren’t any special effects or anything, but that’s what makes it so great. Actors actually acting!*GASP* What a concept!

The acting here is ok, but it’s not the best I’ve seen in classic cinema. I expected more. Although, I will say that I got what I expected from Eva Gabor and more that I bargained for with Alan Hale, Jr. I guess he can do more than just be the Skipper on Gilligan’s Island.

When all the smoke clears, Captain Kidd and the Slave Girl isn’t one of those films you’ll remember after watching it, but it is good fun. Isn’t that what movies are supposed to be about? Providing us with an escape from reality? I didn’t love this picture, but I did enjoy it, and would gladly watch it again without hesitation. I hope that you feel the same if you give it a chance.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Red

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Frank Moses (Willis), a former black-ops CIA agent, is now living a quiet life in retirement. However, he begins to feel lonely and often chats on the phone with Sarah (Parker), a customer service agent working for Frank’s pension office in Kansas City.

His life is disrupted when a hit squad raids his house in the middle of the night. Frank kills the assassins and, knowing they would have tapped his phone, goes to Kansas City to protect Sarah. She becomes Frank’s reluctant companion while he tries to find out who is trying to kill him, and track down his old black ops team for help. Meanwhile, CIA agent William Cooper (Urban) is assigned to hunt and kill Frank.

Frank first goes to New Orleans to find his mentor Joe Matheson (Freeman), currently living in a retirement community and terminally ill, who tells him that the hit squad Frank killed were also responsible for the murder of a news reporter. While avoiding Cooper, Frank and Sarah find clues left behind by the deceased reporter, which leads them to a hit list. They then track down Marvin Boggs (Malkovich), a paranoid conspiracy theorist, to provide more information. Marvin tells them that the names on the list were all connected to a secret mission in Guatemala that Frank participated in during 1981, and that one name, Gabriel Singer (Remar), is still alive. The trio track down Singer, who tells them that the mission involved extracting a person from a village and that everybody on the list has been killed to silence them. Singer is then assassinated by a helicopter machine gunner, and the team makes their escape as Cooper closes in. With the help of Russian secret agent Ivan Simanov (Cox), Frank and Sarah infiltrate the CIA headquarters to steal the file but Frank is injured in the process. Joe, having escaped an attempt on his life, helps extract the team and joins them. The team hides out in Victoria’s (Mirren) house for first aid. Victoria, who misses her old life as a wetwork agent, joins the team as well.

After reviewing the file, all the team can figure out is that the only man involved not on the list, Alexander Dunning (Dreyfuss), has some way of protecting himself. The team arrives at Dunning’s house, where he reveals under interrogation that the mission was to extract Vice-President Robert Stanton (McMahon), who at the time was a young lieutenant that experienced a breakdown and massacred the village. It becomes apparent that Stanton is trying to erase all the loose ends as he plans to run for president. At that moment, Cooper and the FBI surround Dunning’s mansion. Cooper tries to negotiate Frank’s surrender, but Frank tells Cooper about the vice-president’s treachery, which shakes his faith. Joe sacrifices himself by taking Frank’s place and pretending to give up. An unknown sniper kills Joe as he leaves the mansion, despite Cooper ordering his own men to hold fire. The confusion buys the team enough time to escape, but Sarah is captured. Frank calls Cooper and threatens to kill his family if Sarah is harmed, and that he intends to kill Stanton.

The team, along with Ivan (revealed to be Victoria’s former lover), infiltrate Stanton’s fundraising gala in Chicago and successfully kidnap him despite Cooper’s best efforts to stop them. Frank calls Cooper and says he is willing to trade Stanton for Sarah. At the meeting point, Dunning arrives and reveals that he is the mastermind behind the assassinations and that Stanton was merely a pawn and scapegoat. Cooper’s handler, Cynthia Wilkes, is also in on the plot. Disgusted with Dunning and Wilkes’ greed and corruption and being used by her and Dunning, Cooper gives Frank the key to his handcuffs and shoots Wilkes while Marvin and Victoria kill Dunning’s bodyguards, and Frank crushes Dunning’s windpipe. Marvin then shoots him while he’s on the ground. Cooper agrees to let Frank and his team go. As they leave the scene, Frank and Sarah are eager to start a new life together.

The final scene shows Frank and Marvin in Moldova, fleeing from Moldovan Army troops with a stolen nuclear device, in a wooden wheelbarrow with Marvin wearing a dress being pushed by Frank, as part of returning a favor to Ivan for his help.

REVIEW:

 I guess 2010 must have the year of the ensemble action flicks.  Along with this film, Red, there was The Losers, The Expendables, and of course The A-Team, bt that falls into a different category, since it was based on a TV show first and foremost.

So, why is this called Red, you may be asking yourself? Well, it stands for Retired, Extremely Dangerous. This should tell you why the cast is, a bit, how you say…aged?

The plot involved retired Black Ops agent Frank Moses basically having trouble adjusting to the “quiet” life, so he takes to chatting up his pension case worker. Out of the blue, he gets attacked by a wet team, and the film takes off from there, involving all sorts of treachery, shooting, and explosions.

Apparently, this was a comic, but I had never heard of it. Of course, I didn’t know Constantine or Men in Black were comics, either.

While I loved the action in this film, I felt there could have been more. Some reviews I’ve read have ripped this film apart for the comedy. I actually was a fan of the comedy, but it could have been balanced out a bit more, much in the ay they did in A-Team.

The Expendables brought together just about every big action star of the past few decades. Red was going for the older generation, but, with the exception of Willis, these aren’t action stars. As a matter of fact, if you put the resumes of this cast together it is quite impressive, as almost all of them have been nominated for Academy Awards numerous times, with Helen Mirren winning at least one (I don’t know about the others, sorry.)

Now, is this a bad thing, no, just wanted to get that out there.

Bruce Willis in an action picture. Do I really need to say that once again he’s a bad ass? No, I thought not.

Morgan Freeman, in the brief time he’s on screen, is the consummate pro. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the guy in a bad role. Having said that, I belive he could have been used a bit more.

Can you belive that Mary-Louise Parker is nearly 50?!? She looks  younger than some of the 20 something year old actresses out there today. Her character seemed to be the type that cold easily get on your nerves, but as the film progressed and she finally realized Frank wasn’t trying to kill her, she got better. Unfortunately, her character seemed to be lost in the shuffle as that happened and the “band” is put back together.

John Malkovich is insane. Picture every conspiracy nut you’ve ever seen. Then take that up about 10 notches and that’s what you get with Malkovich’s character.

Is it wrong that, even though I already love Helen Mirren, I fond her irresistible when she was shooting that machine gun? I hope not, because I did. As far as her acting goes, well, she didn’t really have much to work with here, and yet she still turns in a masterful performance.

Karl Urban is primed to be the next generation of action star, especially with his role here, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the upcoming remake of Judge Dredd. Not bad for a gy that was Ceaser on Xena: Warrior Princess not that long ago, right? Not convinced he’s worthy? Well, just watch his fight with Willis. The guy has the chops to go toe to toe with him. Maybe Stallone needs to consider him for the sequel to The Expendables.

I was really looking forward to Red as soon as it was released. Was it worth the wait? Well, there was a bit of a disappointment, but yes it was. Anytime you get an ensemble cast like this together and they look like they’re having fn doing what they get paid for and don’t seem like it is a chore for them to be there, it is always a good thing.

Red may not be the best film of all time, but one can have a good time watching it. Do I recommend it? As a matter of fact, I do. Unless you’re just one of those people who hates anything  and everything, I don’t see why you wouldn’t find at least something to enjoy in this film.

4 out of 5 stars