Archive for Ryan Reynolds

Deadpool 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

After successfully working as the mercenary Deadpool for two years, Wade Wilson fails to kill one of his targets on his anniversary with girlfriend Vanessa. That night, after the pair decide to start a family together, the target tracks Wilson down and kills Vanessa. Wilson kills the man in revenge, but blames himself for her death, and attempts to commit suicide six weeks later by blowing himself up. Wilson has a vision of Vanessa in the afterlife, but the pieces of his body remain alive and are put back together by Colossus.

Recovering at the X-Mansion, Wilson agrees to join the X-Men as a form of healing. He, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead respond to a standoff between authorities and the unstable young mutant Russell Collins / Firefist at an orphanage, labeled a “Mutant Reeducation Center”. Wilson realizes that Collins has been abused by the orphanage staff, and kills one of the staff members. Colossus stops him from killing anyone else, and both Wilson and Collins are arrested. Restrained with collars that negate their powers, they are taken to the “Icebox”, an isolated prison for mutant criminals. Meanwhile, the cybernetic soldier Cable finds his family murdered by Collins in the future, and travels back in time to kill the boy before he ever becomes a murderer.

Cable breaks into the Icebox and attacks Collins. Wilson attempts to defend Collins, but is defeated by Cable who takes the Skee-Ball token that was a final gift from Vanessa. Wilson is able to force himself and Cable out of the prison, but not before Collins overhears Wilson deny that he cares for the young mutant. Near to death again, Wilson has another vision of Vanessa in which she convinces him to help Collins. Wilson organizes a team of mutants to break Collins out of a prison transfer convoy and defend him from Cable, whom he calls X-Force. The team launches their assault on the convoy by parachuting from a plane, but all of the team’s members except for Wilson and the lucky Domino die in the landing. While the pair fight Cable, Collins frees fellow inmate Juggernaut who repays Collins by agreeing to help him kill the abusive headmaster. Juggernaut destroys the truck they are in and they escape.

Cable offers to work with Wilson and Domino to stop Collins’s first kill, and agrees to give Wilson a chance to talk Collins down before attempting to kill the boy again. They arrive at the orphanage to be overpowered by Juggernaut while Collins attacks the headmaster. Colossus, who had at first refused to help Wilson due to his murderous ways, arrives and distracts Juggernaut long enough for Wilson and Cable to confront Collins. After Wilson appears to fail in talking down Collins, Cable shoots at the young mutant. Wilson leaps in front of the bullet and dies, reuniting with Vanessa in the afterlife. Seeing this sacrifice, Collins’s future is changed and Cable’s family now survives. Cable uses the last charge on his time-travelling device, which he needed for returning to his family in the future, to strap Vanessa’s token in front of Wilson’s heart before they arrive at the orphanage. This time, when Wilson leaps in front of the bullet it is stopped by the token and he survives. Collins still has his change of heart.

The headmaster is run over by Wilson’s taxi driver friend Dopinder, and Wilson accepts that he and his friends have formed their own strange family. In a mid credits sequence, Wilson has Negasonic Teenage Warhead and her girlfriend Yukio secretly repair Cable’s time-traveling device to allow him to: save the lives of Vanessa and X-Force member Peter; visit the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and kill that film’s version of Deadpool; and kill actor Ryan Reynolds while he is considering acting in the film Green Lantern

REVIEW:

Well, here we are getting ready to go guns blazing into the summer movie season. Avengers: Infinity War got us kicked off, Solo: A Star Wars Story is waiting in the wings, but the one that people are really wondering about is Deadpool 2. After the surprise success of the original, some are wondering if there will be a sophomore slump or, perhaps this will be an even better flick. That is something each individual must decide for themselves, but these are my thoughts on the matter.

What is this about?

Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy of supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling mutant, Cable.

What did I like?

Action. Some films, like Logan, can get away with having very few action scenes. Those that it does have really count, though. The Deadpool franchise, however, needs these scenes if for no other reason than to keep us from having too much of his mouth. Funny enough, the best action scene in the film doesn’t even involve our titular character, but rather a couple of big guys, one of which would be a spoiler if I said his name. Aside from that, though, there really isn’t much to say other than Deadpool kicks ass and takes names.

Domino. When it comes to the character of Domino and how she was portrayed on the screen, I’m torn. On the one hand, this is the first time she’d appeared on the big screen, so kudos to that. Her powers aren’t exactly easy to show to John Q. Public. Unlike having optic blasts, blue fur, metal bone claws, etc., being lucky isn’t a run of the mill power. I feel the film did a good job of showing her pull off the, pardon the phrase, “Domino effect”. On the other hand, and this is nothing against Zazie Beetz, I feel the race switching was pointless. Making it even worse is that she comes off as the opposite of her comic counterpart. Instead of being white, she’s African-American. The black spot on her eye? It’s a white spot on her other eye. As a matter of fact, everytime I look at it, I can’t help but think of Barf from Spaceballs! Still, having a badass chick that can handle Deadpool, and even throw some quips back at him is awesome!

No one is safe! Deadpool went after everyone, starting with Ryan Reynolds and just kept going from there. This film does the same, but ups the ante a bit. I hear there was a joke about the Disney/Fox merger, but they were advised to cut it. Instead we get jokes about the DC Universe being dark, Josh Brolin being Thanos and, of course Ryan Reynolds failed “Deadpool” in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and his bad decision to make Green Lantern (both films I am a fan of, btw). The jokes all land and I felt as if Reynolds himself had a hand in writing, or possibly ad-libbing, some of these.

What didn’t I like?

Pick on the little guy. You’d think with this topic, I’d be referring to the kid, Firefist, and how seemed to be picked on through the whole movie, resulting in the climax, but that isn’t where im going with this. I want to mention how T.J. Miller was just laying into Dopinder in the scenes where they were working together. Dopinder has become on of those characters, I think he actually does exist in the comics, that has taken on a life of his own after the first film and was a welcome bit of comic relief (in a comedy). Miller’s picking on him came out of nowhere, though. Perhaps there is some deleted scene that can explain why he was doing this?

It worked once. Many of the jokes in the film are rehashes from the first film, if I’m being honest. Some are the exact same joke! Others are just an extended version of the same joke, just done a different way. For instance, in the first film, Deadpool cuts his arm off and a baby hand replaces it (while it is growing back). This go around, he gets ripped in half, and there is a rather long sequence where he is sitting on the couch  with baby legs (and no pants/diaper). This goes on even when Cable enters the scene and attempts to bring some sanity to the proceedings. Should there be a third film, let’s hope we don’t get more of the same jokes again.

Low budget CG. It is no secret that these Deadpool movies aren’t as flush with cash as say, The Avengers franchise, but one would expect that there would be at least enough cash flowing to get some decent CG. There are two times that this really came off as bad to me. First was anytime Colossus was talking. Maybe I didn’t notice it in the first film, but there was something off about how his face moved when he was speaking. While I’m on this note and before I go on…why doesn’t he go back to his human form in these movies?!? The second was in the aforementioned big guy fight. I was taken back to the really bad Gateway 2000 CG in The Matrix Reloaded watching what should have been an awesome fight. Maybe they’ll fix this before it comes out on DVD/Blu-ray.

Final thoughts on Deadpool 2? There really isn’t much to say, honestly. If you liked the first one, then you’re going to like this one. Nothing about this flick is going to suddenly make you a Deadpool fan, though I’m sure google searches on Cable, Black Tom Cassidy, and Firefist went up this weekend (I looked up Firefist, myself, so don’t feel bad). Josh Brolin as Cable works, but I think they should have gone with Stephen Lang, a guy that literally looks the part. The X-Force scene(s)…well, you’ll be entertained, I’ll put it that way. Morena Baccarin is still gorgeous! Long story short, this is a solid film worth watching in the theater. More than likely, if you’re reading this than you’re a fan and have already seen it, so I don’t need to tell you to rush out and check it out, now do I?

4 out of 5 stars

Deadpool

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Superhero Films with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2016 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Wade Wilson is a former special forces operative who works as a mercenary in New York City. He meets escort Vanessa Carlysle at a local bar and they become romantically attached. One year later, Wade proposes to her and she accepts, but he suddenly collapses. Wade is diagnosed with terminal cancer and though Vanessa remains by his side, he fears losing her.

A recruiter from a secret program approaches Wade and offers him an experimental cure for his cancer. Although Wade initially refuses, he later decides to leave Vanessa and undergo the procedure. At a laboratory, Wade meets Ajax and Angel Dust, whom he instantly resents. Ajax injects Wade with a serum designed to awaken latent mutant genes, then have him subjected to weeks of torture to trigger the mutation without success. Wade discovers Ajax’s real name, Francis Freeman, and mocks him. In response, Ajax straps Wade into an airtight chamber which raises and lowers the oxygen level to keep Wade constantly on the verge of asphyxiation. Ajax reveals to Wade their true purpose: to make super-powered slaves to be sold to wealthy customers. Several days later, Wade develops a healing factor which cures his cancer, but severely disfigures his face and skin. He escapes from the chamber and attacks Ajax, but relents when told that his disfigurement can be cured. Ajax subdues Wade, impales him with a rebar and leaves him in the burning laboratory.

Wade attempts to reconnect with Vanessa, but is unable to come to terms with his appearance, and keeps himself away from her. After consulting his best friend Weasel, Wade decides to hunt down Ajax and have his disfigurement cured. He becomes a masked vigilante, takes the alias “Deadpool”, and moves into the home of an elderly blind woman named Al. Following a string of leads, Deadpool tracks down Ajax to a convoy of cars on an expressway. He kills all the escorts, corners Ajax and demands a cure to his disfigurement. The confrontation is interrupted by two X-Men, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead, who have been trying to recruit Deadpool. Taking advantage of the distraction, Ajax escapes. Colossus handcuffs himself to Deadpool and begins dragging him away. Deadpool cuts off his own hand and escapes. His hand regenerates overnight.

Now knowing Wade is alive, Ajax goes to Weasel’s bar and learns of Vanessa. Weasel calls Wade and tells him Vanessa is in danger. Wade goes to the strip club she works at but, unable to face her, psyches himself up in the bathroom first. However, when he comes out, she is already kidnapped. Ajax and Angel Dust tell Deadpool to meet up with them on a decommissioned helicarrier in a scrapyard.

Deadpool convinces Colossus and Negasonic to help him, and the trio take a cab to the scrapyard. While Colossus and Negasonic battle Angel Dust, Deadpool fights his way through Ajax’s henchmen, and eventually engages him in close combat. After Angel Dust knocks out Colossus, Negasonic uses her power to repel her, but accidentally destroys the equipment holding the helicarrier upright. As the helicarrier tips over, Colossus wakes up and takes Negasonic and Angel Dust to safety, while Deadpool successfully saves Vanessa. Ajax, still alive, attacks Deadpool, but is subdued and reveals there is no cure for Wade’s disfigurement.

Colossus begins urging Deadpool to be a true hero and spare his enemy, but Deadpool kills Ajax. Wade turns to Vanessa, who removes his mask revealing his face. Vanessa is angered that Wade left her, but still loves him. She accepts him, and they reconcile by kissing.

In a post-credits scene parodying Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Wade teases a sequel featuring Cable and tells the audience to clean up their trash.

REVIEW:

One of the most highly anticipated films of this young year has got to be Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds is in desperate need of a hit and the superhero genre is in need of something different. Could this be the film to do all of those things? Let’s find out, shall we?

What is this about?

The origin story of former Special Forces operative turned mercenary Wade Wilson, who after being subjected to a rogue experiment that leaves him with accelerated healing powers, adopts the alter ego Deadpool. Armed with his new abilities and a dark, twisted sense of humor, Deadpool hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life.

What did I like?

Humor. Recently, I’ve been watching Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix, two Marvel superhero shows that are about as devoid of humor as they come, save for a couple of wisecracks by the comic relief here and there. In contrast, films such as Ant-Man, The Avengers, and the like have some humor in them, but audiences are lukewarm in response to them for some reason. Enter Deadpool, a character known for his wisecracks and pointing out things as he sees them. The filmmakers did a great job translating thing, including his breaking the 4th wall, to the big screen. Not only that, but they poke fun at any and everything in the superhero genre and then some. I haven’t laughed this hard at some actual comedies!!!!

Rated R superstar. What was the last rated R comic book/superhero movie? I want to say it was Punisher: War Zone, bu don’t quote me on that. Everything else has been either PG or PG-13, including some properties that shouldn’t have been. Hopefully this, combined with the success of the Netflix shows, will open up the R rating for superhero film. Now, this R rating is not to be taken lightly. Deadpool constantly drops the F-bomb, decapitates heads, blows brains out, goes to a strip club, and there is even a scene of male nudity (I’ll touch on this in little bit). Some feminazi on Youtube actually tried to start a petition to get the studio to release a PG-13 version because some little boy cried to her about wanting to see it. Whatever! There are more than enough PG-13 superheroes out there, kid. Get over it! Chances are he’ll but a ticket for Kung Fu Panda 3 and sneak in, anyway.

Marketing. I have to believe that the biggest chunk of this film’s budget went to marketing, and with good reason. From just after Halloween, I believe, up until the film’s release, we were treated to vignettes, videos, and other various clips and whatnot that gave us an idea of the kind of humor and the tone this film would have. For a character as niche and cult as Deadpool, this was a smart move, as it brought him to the mainstream conscious before the film came out. Had they not done this, I fear this film would have gone the way of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a hit only to fans of the book and forgotten by everyone else (even though it is a really good movie!)

Damsel. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Morena Baccarin’s character, Vanessa, better known as Copycat in the comics. What I mostly like about her is that the filmmakers didn’t make her some strong female character just to please the femists out there. For the most part, she is just short of a damsel in distress, as it were. With all this girl power all over the place and unrelenting string of feminists taking over the world, it was nice change of pace to get a character that could go toe to toe with Wade Wilson, but also could use a rescue.

Reynolds. As we know, Ryan Reynolds is an extremely likable and charismatic guy, but he has been on a bit of a cold streak when it comes to these big budget films. Green Lantern was meant to be the next big superhero franchise, but it did so bad that DC was forced to go back to Superman. X-Men Origins: Wolverine is constantly ripped to shreds by fans, but I actually liked it, mainly because of what they did to Reynolds and “Deadpool”. How do you take a character known as “the merc with the mouth” and sew his mouth shut?!? Still, if not for that, we wouldn’t have gotten this film, so in a way, we should be grateful! It cannot be said enough, Ryan Reynolds was born to play this character. Not only that, but he stayed fairly true to the source material and threw out a few jabs at his former attempts at superhero glory. “Don’t make the supersuit green…or animated!” I’m wondering now that I’ve been speaking of Reynolds’ flops, what was his last hit, excluding The Croods.

What didn’t I like?

Colossus. When it was announced Colossus would be included in this picture, I didn’t know what to think. I am somewhat a fan of the character, but when you consider the way he’s been shown, or not shown, in the movies so far, it is hard to get excited. My main issue with this version of Colossus is that he was in his metal form the whole time, even when we first see him and he is sitting down for breakfast, eating a bowl of cereal. I find it extremely hard to believe that Colossus would not be in his “human” state when doing something like that. Of course, I also find it hard to believe that we only see 2 people in the X-mansion. As Deadpool said, “it’s like they couldn’t afford anymore…[sic]” The CG on the big guy wasn’t too bad. I found it to be very similar to the Hulk, I just wish he didn’t look as CG and fake, though.

Naked Wade. Is Ryan Reynolds a nudist and we just don’t know about it? In Green Lantern, he gets naked and in this one he gets even more nude! I guess if I had that body, I’d want to show it off, too. I doubt the ladies (and some men) don’t mind. For the scene he gets naked in, it sort of fits, though, I don’t really think he needed to take off the gown. Now, did we need to see his penis? No, but I guess he felt the need to show the audience what he was packing.

Masked man. The problem with getting a big name actor to play a superhero that wears a mask is that they always want to show their face. Toby Maguire was always ripping his mask off in the Spider-Man franchise, even though Spider-Man never takes his off. The studio was creative with Robert Downey, Jr. and we were instead of him always taking it off, we just go inside the suit with him. On the flip side, there are actors like Karl Urban in Dredd want to stay true to the character and don’t take the mask off. I feel as if Reynolds would fall more into the latter category, but the studio and the story wanted more of his face (even if it was what they called disfigured).

Was Deadpool worth the wait and all the hype? Yes, and then some! Everything that you think this film is going to do, as far as what we’ve seen from its contemporaries, it does something totally different. We are introduced to a niche character that could very well be the spark that ignites a genre that is starting to get a little stale. There really isn’t much else to say about this film, other than make sure you pay attention to the opening credits. You’ll thank me later! So, do I recommend this film? If you need to ask me that, I seriously wonder about your mental well-being. Of course I recommend this, very highly! So stop reading my ramblings and go see this film…multiple times!!!

5 out of 5 stars

The Nines

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , , on March 29, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Gary is a troubled actor who is wearing a green bracelet on his wrist, under house arrest living in another person’s house because he burned down his own. The owner of the house is described as a TV writer away on work. While living in the house he is befriended by both a P.R. ‘handler’, Margaret, and the single mom next door, Sarah, who may or may not be interested in him romantically. Over the course of his house arrest, Gary becomes convinced that he is being haunted by the number nine, including finding a note saying “Look for the nines” in his handwriting. He encounters many occurrences of the number nine, while playing backgammon he rolls nines, while reading newspaper advertisements he becomes obsessed with finding nines. Asking Sarah about the number 9 worries her and she cryptically tells him “I can get you out of here”. He also sees different versions of himself around the house, which unsettles him, causing him to break out of his house arrest barrier, which in turn causes a blip in reality.

A television writer, Gavin, trying to get his pilot produced. He leaves home to work on his TV show, Knowing, about a mother and daughter who are lost, which stars his friend Melissa as the lead actress. In a conversation about reviews and critics Susan, a television executive and producer of the show, tells Gavin to look for the nines which he then writes on a piece of paper, the same piece which Gary found in Part One. He also tells Melissa he thinks he is haunted by himself. During the process of post production, Susan pushes for Gavin to ditch his friend Melissa as the unconventional lead of his project in favor of a more attractive, well-known actress. This causes an argument between him and Melissa. He then finds out that the well-known actress was actually cast in another show which Susan knew of before suggesting her. Since she is now unavailable and Melissa won’t answer Gavin’s calls, he confronts Susan about her knowing his show would never get picked up and about him only being a subject on a reality television show. After a heated exchange, he snaps and slaps her. Insulting his manhood for hitting a woman, she scoffs “Do you think you are a man?” and walks away, which leads to him telling the reality TV cameraman to leave him alone. A pedestrian then asks him who he is talking to, and it is shown that the reality television cameraman does not exist. He looks around and notices that everyone has a 7 floating above their heads and also that he has a 9 floating above his head.

A flashback from Part One shows Gary’s P.R. handler, Margaret, telling him he is a God-like being and that God is a 10, humans are a 7 and that he is a 9, therefore he can destroy the world with a single thought, and that he exists in many different forms and that none of them are real. Gary does not believe this and flips out, which is revealed to be the real reason for his breaking his house arrest barrier in Part One.

Acclaimed video game designer Gabriel, whose car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, leaves his wife, Mary, and young daughter, Noelle, to try to get a better signal on his phone. He meets a woman, Sierra (Davis), who leads him off into the woods to her car, so she can give him a lift to the gas station. Meanwhile back at the car Noelle watches a video on a digital camera showing Gavin talking to Melissa from Part Two and Margaret talking to Gary in Part One. She is confused and shows her mom, who appears confused as well.

Meanwhile, Gabriel shows signs of intoxication, as Sierra had drugged water she was giving him with GHB. She has been trying all along as Sarah, Sierra, Susan to separate the other three incarnations of “G” from Mary. That poisoning him with GHB was the only way to get him to stop long enough to reason with him. She calms Gabriel by telling him that this is an intervention and they (the Prostitute from part 1, and parole officer/agitated man), were trying to help him come home. She likens Gabriel’s addiction to video game addiction. That Gabriel has been playing for 4,000 years reincarnating into different roles to play with the humans. The 3 nines plead with him to come back home.

Back at the car, Noelle has gone missing. Gabriel then returns to the car with Noelle in his arms and the family goes home. Mary, who realizes that he is not who he seems, tells Gabriel he needs to go and that the world is not real. Gabriel tells her that there were ninety different variations of the universe and this is the last one. Gabriel then realizes he must go and removes the green bracelet from his wrist, at which point the universe peels away into nothing. The film ends with the woman from all three parts married to Ben, whom she is married to in Part Two, and Noelle as their daughter. Noelle tells her mother that “he’s not coming back” and that “all the pieces have been put together” and her mother finishes her sentence that this is “the best of all possible worlds.”

REVIEW:

The Nines is one of those films that no one really knows much about, and yet it has major stars like Ryan Reynolds and Melissa McCarthy. When I heard about this film, I was intrigued…and confused. Watching the film, makes me even more confused, but is it enjoyable is the bigger question, correct?

What is this about? Three stories converge in this indie thriller. In “The Prisoner,” an actor is under house arrest; in “Reality Television,” a TV producer struggles to launch a new series; and in “Knowing,” a video-game designer seeks help for his stranded family. What is this about?

Molly. These days, Melissa McCarthy is best known for her comedic chops (good and bad), but it wasn’t that long ago, apparently, that she was actually a decent actress. Remember when she was on Gilmore Girls? Well, in this role, she shines as a dramatic actress, something we never would have expected from her watching her current work. I should also mention that, while she is still a beautiful woman, for some reason, she was absolutely radiant in this flick.

On your toes. Man, oh man, this is a film that keeps you on your toes. Yes, it can be a bit slow in parts, but it keeps you interested and invested in what is going on in the film. As confusing as this film is, it doesn’t lose your interests because you are drawn in with the intrigue of how these three stories eventually intertwine.

Sex appeal. In just about every film that I’ve seen Ryan Reynolds in, at least the ones where he’s doing his sarcastic guy schtick, he seems to find some way to play up the sex appeal angle. This film, much like he did in Buried, he lets his acting do the talking for him, rather than his abs. Give the string of box office bombs the guy has had lately, maybe he needs to go back to this formula, especially since it works so well. Reynolds, much like McCarthy, is quite the competent actor, but we just don’t know it because of the roles he takes these days.

What didn’t I like?

Hope. A good leading actress can make or break a film, sometimes by their talent, sometimes by their looks, other times by a mixture of both. In the case of Hope Davis, however, she doesn’t do anything but bring this film down with her bitchiness and wooden acting. Perhaps this is because I am a little biased with my love for Melissa McCarthy and the way this chick treated her didn’t sit right with me, but there was no hope for me liking Hope in this flick. From other reviews that I’ve read, she doesn’t really resonate with audiences, either.

Being. Not to spoil anything, but there is a higher plane of existence that is the driving force behind this film. It is just something that has to be seen to understand. I’m not going to even make a sad attempt to explain that, especially without spoiling anything. I actually like that plot point, but the fact that it isn’t revealed until the very end didn’t sit well with me. I’m not saying the twist should have been revealed in the first 10 minutes, but there had to be a better place to do so than in the last few minutes, or at the very lease give us a better build up!

Weight. In section two, as with every other film she’s in, Melissa McCarthy’s weight is brought up. Unlike in her current films, though, this makes sense. McCarthy is portrayed as a caricature of herself (she’s playing herself). She is excited about a new show her friend, played by Reynolds, has hired her for, even going so far as to buy a house. Of course, the powers that be, and Hope Davis’ character, push for her to be replaced because she “doesn’t have the conventional look”. I don’t need to tell you what means, do I? In the scene where she gets the news, she gives a bit of an over emotional performance, in my eyes. At the same time, this is just another way for Davis’ character to make her life hell, as she seems to be doing the entire film.

There was a film that starred Will Ferrell, I can’t remember what the name of it is right now, in which he was seeing things that he created. The Nines, a film that probably should have been released the year that every other film with the number 9 in it was released, took me back to that for some reason. As I was watching this flick, there wasn’t anything to get excited about. This is just another weird thriller that was made for the sake of being made. After the credits roll, you are sure to forget it, so no, I do not recommend it.

3 out of 5 stars

Turbo

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In a suburban San Fernando Valley garden, Theo, a.k.a Turbo, is a snail who dreams of being the greatest racer in the world, just like his hero, 5-time Indianapolis 500 champ, Guy Gagné. His obsession with speed and all things fast has made him an oddity and an outsider in the slow and cautious snail community, and a constant embarrassment to his cautious older brother, Chet. Turbo desperately wishes he could escape the slow-paced life he’s living, but his one chance to live proves a near fatal disaster when he tries to recover a prize tomato and needs to be rescued by Chet.

Demoralized, Theo wanders onto a freeway to admire the traffic and wishes on the very first star (which is actually an airplane light), “I wish…I wish I was fast”. Suddenly, he gets into a freak accident when he gets sucked into the supercharger of a drag racer, fusing his DNA with nitrous oxide on a street race. The next day, when Theo wakes up from unconsciousness, his incident the night before finds himself vested with the power of incredible speed and accuracy, as well as some of the characteristics of an actual car, such as eyes that light up like headlights, and a shell that blinks red like taillights and makes car sounds and music from a radio.

Unfortunately, Theo’s first attempt to show this power off ends with him crashing a Big Wheel tricycle into the garden, getting himself and Chet fired from the garden crew. As the siblings quarrel, Chet is snatched by a crow, but is pursued and rescued by Theo at a run down strip mall where they are then captured by Tito, a “Dos Bros” taco truck driver and is brought to race with other snails. Theo astounds both human and snail alike with his speed and earns the respect of the snails, led by Whiplash, with his crew Smoove Move, Burn, Skidmark, and White Shadow, who have impressive skills of their own.

Inspired by this extraordinary snail, Tito dreams to revive the strip mall with Theo as an attraction, and eventually with the help of the snails who manage to divert and strand a tour bus and drum up impressive business. At this success, Theo convinces Tito to try to enter the snail in Indianapolis 500 as a competitor. While Tito’s brother, Angelo, still declines to support him, the neighbors agree to put up the entrance fee and accompany them to Indianapolis. Once there, Tito is refused entry into the race, but a chance meeting with Guy Gagné gives Turbo a chance to show off his speed which astounds the race track at the snail qualifying for the race.

This impossible feat soon becomes a sensation on social media and the owner of the race gives in to the pressure, egged on by Gagné himself, to let the snail compete. However, the night before the race, Turbo is demoralized when his hero, Gagné, sneers at his attempt to race while Chet confesses that he cannot bear to see his brother endanger himself. Undeterred, Turbo enters the race the next day, but the dangerous racetrack and the far more experienced competition leaves him trailing in last place.

At a pitstop, Whiplash and his crew give Turbo a vital pep talk, advising him to stop racing like a car. Back in the race, Turbo realizes what they mean and uses his small size to maximum advantage with maneuvers around and under the competition that no human racer can emulate. With the snail rapidly gaining in the standings, Gagné starts racing dirty and manages to knock Turbo against the circuit wall, damaging his shell and weakening his speed powers. Eventually, in the final stretch with Turbo in the lead, Gagné tries a desperate maneuver to beat the snail and gets into a major crash that snares most of the competitors in a major pileup. Similarly, Turbo is thrown, waking up once again from unconsciousness with his shell punctured and his speed all but gone.

Alarmed at seeing Turbo giving up and retreating into his shell barely a few feet from the finish line, Chet puts himself into incredible dangers to meet up with Whiplash’s crew to get to the racer. Seeing his brother and friends arrive riding crows to encourage him to continue, Turbo resumes the race. Unfortunately, Gagné, refusing to lose, singlemindedly pursues him by dragging his wrecked car after the snail and attempts to crush him. At the last second, Chet tells Turbo to tuck and roll into his shell at Gagné’s last blow and the force allows him to tumble past the finish line to win.

At this victory, the strip mall becomes a major attraction with all the businesses becoming spectacular successes including extremely elaborate snail races with Whiplash’s crew getting special propulsion aids for their shells, while Chet is content as the track referee. As for Turbo, he becomes happier discovering that his shell has healed, and with that, his superspeed has returned.

REVIEW:

With the success of Pixar’s Cars, DreamWorks decided they wanted to get their piece of the pie that included kids that liked racing with Turbo. I won’t get into the debate about which is better because they are two different films, but I will say that no matter what you think of either, kids will love them regardless.

What is this about?

A speed-obsessed snail who dreams of being the world’s greatest race car driver gets his chance when a freak accident imbues him with high-octane speed. But he soon learns he’ll need the help of his friends if he’s going to go the distance.

What did I like?

Parallel. There is a dynamic between Turbo and his brother and the Dos Tacos brothers that really parallels each other as the younger brother is a visionary, for lack of a better term, while the older brother is the more grounded cynical type. At one point during the film, they are both fussing at the respective siblings and seem to finish each other’s thought processes (sometimes sentences). I found this to be quite the sight and some impressive creativity on the part of the filmmakers.

Speed. I was listening to a podcast a couple of days ago and they brought up an interesting point. Turbo gets his speed powers by being doused in Nitrous Oxide. In some ways this is similar to how the Flash gets his speed powers (he gets doused in chemicals). So, basically Turbo could be a super hero. If you watch the film and notice some of the feats he accomplishes, superhero could be in his future, if he wanted to. That point aside, it was a masterful idea to have a snail compete in the Indy 500. Who would have ever thought of that?

Crew. They may have been a small part of the film, relatively, but I was enjoying the Starlight Crew. Each of them had a different, unique personality and they really embraced Turbo…and eventually his brother. Given the fact that he needed someone to have his back and help him through the race, they really came in handy. Leave us not forget the voice talents of Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Rudolph, and Snoop Dogg who lend their pipes to these snails.

What didn’t I like?

Turbo. Ryan Reynolds does a great job lending his voice to Turbo, but there is a rather large section about half way through the films, starting with the montage that he just stops talking. Sure, some people are easily annoyed by Reynolds, but this is a character that needed a voice. To take that away from him I felt hindered his development as a character, as well as his relationship with the others, including the humans.

Lacking. In this day and age, kids movies need to show some imagination. That wasn’t happening here as the film follows a very formulaic premise that, as one critic said, “…even the average 6-year-old couldn’t imagine…” I applaud the bright colors and the comedy, but can’t get past how that, other than how Turbo got his speed and the climax (which put me in the mind of Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby), everything was so predictable.

Dead horse. There is a character that calls himself the “White shadow” and it apparently is a joke that he appears out of nowhere. Ok, that’s fine, but it turns out to be one of those jokes that they run into the ground and never really works, no matter how much they want it to or hard they try.

I had a little chuckle to myself about Turbo. Think about that slug monster who was rushing to get to class in Monsters University but took the whole semester to get there. Think about what kind of film we’d have if he got super speed! You can argue that it would be more entertaining, but the truth is, this isn’t that bad of a film. It was just overshadowed by the aforementioned Monsters and Despicable Me 2. So, chances are you had your fill of children’s films when this was released and skipped it. Not to mention there isn’t much for the adults in the film, either, except for maybe a couple of songs that are played. That being said, I still give this a pretty high recommendation. If nothing else, the comedy and uplifting story will put a smile on your face!

4 out of 5 stars

The Croods

Posted in Animation, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 30, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Eep (Emma Stone) is a girl in a family of cavemen living and hunting in pre-historic times. Her family is one of the few to survive, mainly due to the strict rules of her overprotective father, Grug (Nicolas Cage). In their cave home, Grug tells a story to the family, which includes his wife Ugga (Catherine Keener), his daughter Sandy, his son Thunk (Clark Duke), and his mother-in-law Gran (Cloris Leachman). He uses the story of a character who mirrors Eep’s curious nature to warn the family that exploration and ‘new things’ pose a threat to their survival, and says to never not be afraid. This irritates the bored and adventurous Eep, and after the family falls asleep, she leaves the cave when she sees a light moving outside, against her father’s advice.

Seeking the light’s source, she meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a clever and inventive caveboy. She at first attacks him but then becomes fascinated with the fire he creates and is eager to learn more. He tells her about his theory that the world is reaching its ‘end’ and asks her to join him. She refuses and Guy leaves, but not before giving her a noise-making shell to call him if she needs help. Eep is then caught by Grug (who had been searching for her), and is later grounded for what she had done. Grug brings Eep home and is joined by the rest of the family. Eep tells them about Guy and shows them the shell given to her, only for them to destroy it in fear of ‘new things’. An earthquake then occurs, sending everyone running for the cave, only to be stopped by Grug moments before the cave is destroyed by falling rocks. They climb over the wreckage to discover a land with lush vegetation, much different from their usual surroundings of rocky terrain. Grug takes his family into the forest to find a new cave.

The family is chased by a “Macawnivore” (a large, macaw-colored machairodont later called ‘Chunky’) and attacked by a swarm of “Piranhakeets” (deadly red-furred, piranha-like birds). In panic, Eep finds and sounds a horn similar to that which Guy gave her. Guy hears this and rushes to her. Thinking quickly, he creates a torch of fire, which scares the birds away. The other Croods are captivated by the fire, having never seen it before. They steal Guy’s torch and accidentally set the land around them in flames. Some giant corn is also lit, which rockets up to the sky, prompting a display of fireworks. After feeling impressed by Guy’s intelligence and ‘ideas’, Grug bottles him in a hollow log to carry him in, then suggests that they take solitude in the cave of a nearby mountain mentioned by Guy. Guy is forcibly persuaded to lead the way and learns of the Croods’ way of living, which he thinks of as unusual.

After an unsuccessful hunting attempt, Guy, his “pet” sloth Belt (Chris Sanders), and Eep build a puppet to fool and lure nearby animals. After they make a capture, the family greedily devours everything they caught. Grug then tells another of his morale-lowering tales, this time mirroring the events of their day. Guy then tells a story of his own about a paradise he nicknames “Tomorrow”.

The next day, the family reaches a path coated in spiked rocks which Grug, Thunk, and Gran get pricked upon trying to cross them. A freed Guy presents one of his inventions called shoes. He makes some out of all the resources he can find for each family member. This gains him some respect from the others except for Grug, who feels jealous of Guy’s cleverness. After Guy’s ideas help the Croods on their journey, the family members gain something. Ugga, Gran, and Sandy have their first idea to get past carnivorous plants by hiding under flower heads as they pass, Thunk encounters and befriends a crocodile-like dog he calls Douglas, and Eep and Guy grow closer while Grug is stranded in a ravine forcing Ugga to go back for him. The next day, Grug shows the others some of his ideas (like a see-saw, shades made out of wood, and a snapshot that involves the family being slammed with a flat rock) which fail and humiliate him. They soon reach the mountain where Grug is unable to convince the family that settling in a nearby cave is a better option. Angry, he attacks Guy. The two become stuck in tar and Guy reveals his family died drowning in it and their last words inspired his traditions of “Tomorrow.” Grug has a change of heart towards Guy and he and Guy trick Chunky into freeing them by pretending to be a female “Macawnivore” in trouble.

As they are about to reach their destination, an earthquake opens a deep ravine in their path. Grug throws each of them across the gap and reconciles with Eep while creating the first hug with her. Grug then throws her across the ravine and is left behind. He takes shelter in a cave and makes a torch. After seeing a blank rock face, he paints a large cave-drawing of the Croods and Guy together. He then encounters Chunky, who attacks him until Grug’s torch is accidentally blown out, panicking them both. The frightened Chunky lies near Grug for comfort, who then has his first good idea. Using a large skeleton rib and a bigger torch, Grug manages to lure the Piranhakeets into transporting himself, Chunky, Douglas, and several other animals across the ravine, barely escaping the oncoming “end” destruction.

Grug, along with the rest of the family and the animals, settle down in a paradise-like environment. Grug becomes less protective, letting the family be more adventurous and risk-taking, thus bringing happiness to them all.

REVIEW:

I don’t believe there has been a prehistoric (human) family since The Flintstones, so we’re a bit overdue for one. Enter The Croods, a family that is the last survivors on Earth.

What is this about?

When an earthquake obliterates their cave, an unworldly prehistoric family is forced to journey through unfamiliar terrain in search of a new home. But things for pessimistic dad Grug go from bad to worse when his daughter meets a clever cave boy.

What did I like?

Design. You may notice these characters have a distinctive thick look to them, rather than the waif thin look that is so popular with animation today. If you remember Lilo & Stitch, then you should be used to it because this is the same director. I love the way this guy makes his characters look like someone you see walking down the street. It really works for cavemen, who are supposed to be a bit more thick and muscular, which serves his style perfectly.

Family. The typical tropes that we see in a family comedy. While they are a tad bit predictable, it works extremely well in that they don’t try to do anything that would “rock the boat”. The mother and father are a sweet couple, there’s an ancient mother-in-law that the father wants gone, a rebellious teen, slow but lovable brother, and a baby who has a totally different personality than the rest of the family.

Creatures. You would think that this is Earth, but the creatures that they come across are definitely not the kind we’ve heard of in our day. These fantastic, colorful creatures are a sight to behold. Making it better is the fact that the creatures actually are a part of what is going on. There is a very pivotal scene near the end that shows the creature and Grug Crood interact for a common goal.

What didn’t I like?

Comedy. There are some great comedic moments in the film, but I have issues with the way that the script doesn’t stack up to the physical comedy. Gags are one thing, but the jokes need to be there, too. The fact that they aren’t are a pretty big blemish on this film that really is damn near perfect, if you ask me.

Not for adults. One of the big things about children films is that the filmmakers try to put something in there for the adults. Well, I’m not so sure this one does that. Now, with that said, don’t think that this is an insult to adult intelligence, but if you’re one of those people who expect realism and such, there is nothing here for you, sorry.

Score. Maybe this is just the musician in me coming out, but the score for this film should be just as epic and impressive as the visuals, but it isn’t. Instead, we get some generic music, save for the opening. I was highly disappointed with this, but again, I’m a musician, so music stuffs sticks out more to me than someone without a musically trained ear. See if you can pick out Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” fairly early on.

The Croods is one of the most entertaining, endearing, and crowd-pleasing family films I’ve seen in some time. The critics weren’t exactly head over heels for it, but audiences went crazy for this. I’m regretting not seeing this in theaters. The big screen is sure to have made these scenes pop! That being said, this is a definitely a contender for best film of the year in my book! Check it out ASAP!

5 out of 5 stars

Just Friends

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews, Romantic with tags , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In 1995, Chris Brander (Ryan Reynolds) is an obese, curly-haired high school student with a lisp, braces, and a “gentle giant” demeanor. He attends the graduation party of his best friend, Jamie Palamino (Amy Smart), on whom he secretly has a crush. He plans to confess his feelings by writing them in Jamie’s yearbook. When Chris tries to return Jamie’s yearbook, it is taken by her despicable ex-boyfriend, Tim (Ty Olsson). Tim reads Chris’s confession aloud at the party wherein Chris is publicly humiliated. He is further demoralized when Jamie doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. Chris receives a kiss on the cheek from Jamie and is told that they are like brother and sister. When the mob of partygoers burst out of the house again, Jamie admonishes them for making fun of Chris. Chris leaves on his bicycle tearfully and vows to leave town and never return in order to achieve greater success than his classmates.

Ten years later, Chris has lost weight, is handsome and is a highly successful Los Angeles record producer. He is also a womanizer. Prior to Christmas, Chris’ boss, KC (Stephen Root), orders Chris to accompany an emerging, self-obsessed pop singer called Samantha James (Anna Faris) to Paris. KC wants Chris to ensure Samantha signs with him. Chris sees difficulties in this but follows orders. During the trip to Paris, Samantha sets her private jet on fire by using aluminum foil in the plane’s microwave oven. This necessitates an emergency landing in New Jersey, near Chris’s hometown. Chris takes the singer to his mother’s house for a place to spend the night and re-engages with his teenage past, including his unresolved feelings for Jamie. At the local bar, Chris encounters some old classmates, including Tim, who is now balding, fat and a heavy drinker. Jamie also appears, working as a bartender to support herself through graduate school. Chris plans to impress and seduce Jamie. However, a number of unexpected problems, including a growing realization that Jamie’s friendship is important to him, hamper Chris’ plan. Chris bonds with Jamie on several occasions and during a friendly ice skating “day date”, Chris is taken away in an ambulance after being injured in a game of hockey. Jamie is reunited with Dusty Dinkleman (Chris Klein), a paramedic and former high school nerd who was also in love with her.

Prior to his date, Chris had left his younger brother, Mike (Christopher Marquette), to spend time with Samantha. Samantha eventually pushes Mike against the bathroom wall to find out Chris’ location and, following initial resistance, Samantha, knowing Mike’s strong feelings towards her, passionately kisses him, resulting in the brother’s disclosure (thinking that Chris and Jamie have had sex already, Mike uses the term “lover”). Samantha consequently becomes jealous towards Jamie, believing that the old classmates are in a relationship, and in an angry rage, Samantha destroys Jamie’s family’s Christmas decorations. Embarrassed by Samantha’s actions, Chris returns home but is visited by Jamie there. Jamie reveals that she is not mad at Chris and plans to spend the night with him; but, due to Chris’ continuing lack of assertion, the two end up falling asleep and no romance ensues.

The day after Samantha’s vandalism, Jamie speaks with Darla (Amy Matysio), who is now married to Clark (Fred Ewanuick), about the night before and her fear that Chris lack of affection might mean that he doesn’t like her. Jamie admits that whilst the two are “just friends”, she tried to “put herself out there” to Chris, to show Chris that she is interested in a relationship. Meanwhile, Chris attends Clark’s workplace, a dental surgery, to talk to Clark, revealing to him that “the timing wasn’t right” and that their shared history hinders his willingness to have sex with her. Chris explains that he feels like he is in high school again.

Later, Chris and Clark catch Dusty singing to a sexy nurse and then kissing her. Dusty then reveals to Chris and Clark that he only plans to have sex with Jamie, as he wants to humiliate her in the same way that he felt she used to humiliate him. Chris tries to warn Jamie about Dusty during a children’s Christmas pageant, but instead ends up attacking Dusty and ruining the play. Jamie refuses to listen when Chris tries to tell her about the nurse, leaving Chris angry and disappointed with both Jamie and her family. Chris consequently gets drunk and enters the bar where Jamie works, proceeding to blame her for keeping him in the “friend zone”; he also exclaims that Jamie will never amount to anything meaningful. Jamie punches Chris and he is tossed out of the bar at her request.

Upon returning to LA, Chris realizes that Jamie is his one true love interest and returns to New Jersey hoping to finally be with her. Chris declares his true love for Jamie at her house and the two kiss outside in view of the neighborhood kids

REVIEW:

Look at Ryan Reynolds today. Does he look like someone who was ever overweight and/or nerdy? Let alone had any trouble picking up girls? I don’t know if he was anything like his character in Just Friends, but I am very appreciative that this film was made, as I can totally relate.

What is this about?

After being snubbed by his high school crush, an overweight nice guy moves to Los Angeles, where he slims down and blossoms into a womanizer. But when he’s stranded in his hometown, he bumps into the girl who once broke his heart.

What did I like?

The zone. Unless you were one of those guys that was a teen heartthrob and/or you were superjock, chances are that you had a few crushes, many of which didn’t even know you existed. Hell, some of them to this very day, don’t know I exist. If this film accomplishes anything, it is that it brings attention to the fact that girls push aside the sweet guy who would do anything for them and make them a pseudo-gal pal, in favor of the guy who will trample all over their heart and leave them a shell of their former selves. Not that I’ve had any experience with this subject, mind you. It is still good to know that this is a phenomena that occurs everywhere.

Brittany. So, Anna Faris was tapped to play this Brittany Spears-like character and she knocks it out of the park. First of all, it should be noted that this was made in 2005, which was around the time of Spears’ “meltdown”. Faris, who is comedic gold, steals the show with her diva like behavior and overactive sex drive. I was wishing for more!

Revenge. The sheer thought of getting revenge on the females who spurned my affections is quite thought-provoking. I can’t help but say that I would get immense pleasure out of seeing them reap what they sowed. I know that sounds vindictive, but  this is something that need. Chris Klein’s character, which is a departure from his normal schtick, has it right, if you ask me!

What didn’t I like?

Fat suit. I was telling my friend, Alyse, about this film and just happened to mention that it has Ryan Reynolds in a fat suit. As you can see in the poster up there, Reynold’s suit is not very  well crafted. On top of that, I just have a hard time believe that Reynolds was this fat guy who turns into a handsome guy. It all seems to Cinderella-ish to me. If they wanted to do that, then they should have gone all out with the Cinderella angle. There is even a moment where he is asked how he los the weight, but he never answers. I’m curious, too, it could be some weight loss surgery is the reason or it could be old-fashioned diet and exercise. Who knows?

Change. Being from a small town, myself, I know how rare it is for anyone to leave and make a name for themselves while everyone else stays home and works at the mom and pop store. My issue is this. 10 yrs pass from the beginning of the film to when Reynolds returns, and yet everyone looks exactly the same, except for him, another geek (Chris Klein), and the jock/bully. The object of his desire, played by Amy Smart (I still was expecting Jason Statham to crashing through the window and use her to get his heart pumping again). < Crank reference. seemed to have gotten hotter!!!

Incomplete. I wasn’t going to mention this, but I have to. My disc from Netflix decided to start acting all wonky and I wasn’t able to repair it to watch the final scenes. It was doing the same thing upon my initial starting of the disc. I really hate it when I get a disc that works, but doesn’t work. Irritations ratcheted up to a maximum level! UGH!!!!

As a pure romantic comedy, Just Friends is one of the lesser ones that I’ve seen, but nowhere near as ad as some of the ones that I have the “pleasure” of viewing. The fact is, this is not a good film, but it does have moment that will keep it in your memories for a day or two, but on the whole, this is sure to cause some conversations among you and your friends from high school about why your friendship was the way it was. I know there are a few that I need to ask about. I can’t recommend this, but I won’t dissuade you from seeking it out, either.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Buried

Posted in Movie Reviews, Thrillers/Mystery with tags , , , , , , on July 28, 2013 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

On October 23, 2006, Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds), an American civilian truck driver based in Iraq, awakens buried alive in a wooden coffin, bound and gagged, with only a Zippo and a BlackBerry. Although he initially has no idea how he got there, he soon starts to piece together what has happened to him. He remembers that his and several other trucks were ambushed by insurgents, who killed his colleagues before he himself was hit by a rock and passed out. He receives a call from his kidnapper, Jabir, demanding that he pay a ransom of $5 million or else they will leave him in the coffin to die. Conroy calls the State Department, which tells him that due to their government policy of not negotiating with terrorists, they will not pay the ransom but will try to rescue him regardless. They connect him with Dan Brenner, head of the Hostage Working Group, who tells Conroy they are doing their best to find him. His kidnapper calls Conroy back and demands he make a ransom video, threatening to execute one of his colleagues who survived the attack. Despite complying with their demands, the kidnappers execute his colleague and send him the video, which he watches in horror. Shortly afterwards, distant explosions shake the area, damaging his coffin which begins to slowly fill with sand. Conroy continues sporadic phone calls with Brenner, skeptical of the man’s promises of help. To reaffirm his wholehearted intentions, Brenner tells Conroy about a man named Mark White who was rescued from a similar situation two weeks prior, telling him that the man was home with his family and likely happy.

Later on, Conroy receives a phone call from his employers, who inform him that he was fired from his job due to his fraternizing with the colleague that was executed, and thus he and his family will not be entitled to any benefits or pension he earned during his time with the company. Brenner calls back and explains that the explosions that had damaged his coffin earlier were in fact several F-16 bombings, and that his kidnappers may have been killed. Conroy begins to lose all hope and does a last will and testament in video form, giving his son all of his clothes and his wife his personal savings. His kidnapper calls back demanding that Conroy video record him cutting his finger off, threatening Conroy’s family back home in Michigan if he refuses, saying himself that he lost all of his children. Conroy films himself cutting off one of his fingers and sends the video.

After some minutes, Brenner calls, notifying Conroy that they had found his location and are driving out to find him. After that, his wife Linda calls him, who heard it on the news and left her phone at home. She cries with him and begs him to promise her that he will come home. He promises, but hangs up due to needing to attend to the sand which is now filling the coffin to dangerous levels, giving him seconds to live. Brenner calls Conroy again, and reports that they found the site. The group starts to dig up a coffin, but Conroy cannot hear them jumping on the coffin. When they open it, the coffin turns out to be that of Mark White and not Conroy’s, indicating that Mark White was never saved. Paul starts to cry as the battery on the phone runs dead, and he slowly suffocates as the sand fills up the coffin. The last thing he hears is Brenner, repeating: “I’m sorry, Paul. I’m so sorry.”

REVIEW:

Imagine what would be going through your head if you woke up to find yourself in a coffin with no apparent way out and the only thing you have with you are a Zippo lighter and a cellphone. Well, that is what you get with Ryan Reynolds in Buried, but is seeing him in a coffin talking on a phone for 90 minutes too much for some people?

What is this about?

While on a job in Iraq, civilian contractor Paul Conroy is attacked and kidnapped, then awakens to find himself buried alive in the middle of the desert with nothing but a lighter, a candle, a cell phone and a knife.

What did I like?

Coffin. I’m a fan of the old west, especially the coffins. One of the first things I noticed about this flick was the coffin. It wasn’t the usual plush coffin that are used today, but a big pine box that was used in the west. When I found out that it was set in the Middle East, that was a bit weird, and then it wasn’t. I liked it the use of the pine box coffin, though. For some reason, I think the extra room made this bearable for people who have issues with tight spaces.

Talent. Last weekend, Ryan Reynolds had two films released, R.I.P.D. and Turbo, neither did that well, which had many people questioning his box office draw and his acting talent. Someone brought this film up as an example of what Reynolds can actually do. Here he is trapped in a box with nothing but a phone and a lighter. He is the only person we see in the whole film, except for a couple of videos, and we really get to see that he does have some pretty solid acting chops.

Disturbing. No ghosts. No serial killers. No monsters. Just a guy in a coffin. Yet, this is probably one of the most disturbing films I have seen in quite some time. Partially because of the buried alive part, but also because of all the other factors that are going on while Reynolds is trying to get saved. At one point, he makes a comment about had he been a diplomat, politician or general, no one would rest to find him, but because he is a normal guy, there is no rush. Let me say this, if I wasn’t already not planning on being kidnapped in the middle East, then that statement made my mind up.

What didn’t I like?

Call center. The way the call centers handle the call from a guy who is trapped underground with little oxygen and a dying cell phone is just a shame. I’m sorry, but there should be protocols for such things. I know that they are supposed to stay calm and keep the caller calm as well, but at some point you need to realize the urgency of the situation, or deal with that person’s death on your conscience, sort of like Halle Berry’s character did when she caused a girl to be murdered in The Call.

Depth perception. I’m not sure if this was some kind of camera trick, but there seemed to be some discrepancy regarding the depth/size of the coffin. Most scenes, it seems to be a pine box, but others it seems to be more of a giant, neverending pit, as you can see up there in poster.

Buried is not the kind of film you watch over and over again. That is not to say it isn’t good, not by a long shot, but the subject matter is quite heavy. Not to mention the fact that those that are claustrophobic will surely have issues watching Ryan Reynolds suffer in that coffin. Don’t even get me started about the company firing him conveniently near the end before the film’s resolution. Is this worth seeing? Yes, I do recommend it, but be warned, this is not a film for everyone.

4 out of 5 stars