Anyway we’re firmly in December and you may have noticed that I haven’t written a single 5-Panda movie review this year. That’s not good. Frankly it hasn’t been a great year for movies, not like last year which had several really awesome films floating around (hell yeah Moonrise Kingdom, Looper, and Wreck-It Ralph). While I’ve seen good movies I’ve yet to see any truly great flicks this year and with my annual Top Ten Favorite Movie list just around the corner I’ve been stressing over what I’ve had to work with far. But it is Oscar bait season and there’s a lot movies coming out during this time that studios are banking on to be contenders for best film and other Academy Awards. So maybe if I watch as many of these movies as possible I’ll find that 5-Panda movie…or go insane from an overdose of pretension. We’ll see.
At least for today I’ll be doing the Mini-Review format. We’ll be looking at The Counselor, the latest film from Ridley Scott, and the American Oldboy remake.
Two new reviews after the jump.
The CounselorDirector: Ridley Scott
Screenwriter: Cormac McCarthy
Starring: Michael Fassbender; Cameron Diaz; Javier Bardem; Brad Pitt; Penélope Cruz
[WARNING: This review contains spoilers for this movie.]
The Counselor (Fassbender) is a well off lawyer with a beautiful girlfriend (Cruz) but gets convinced by his friend Reiner (Bardem) to come in with him on an potentially extremely profitable drug deal. But when things go south with the job the Counselor finds his back against the wall as a powerful cartel holds him responsible.
|Your first reaction to this man will likely determine if you'll like the movie|
Everything else in this movie ties for the worst part.
As I said the characters here aren’t very good. They are stock characters, with maybe the exception of Cameron Diaz’s Malkina who is compared to Anton Chigurh, the villain from No Country for Old Men, but completely lacks the screen presences as that character. The Counselor is the worst offender here as he’s rather dull. He’s naïve and sort of helpless. Once the drug deal goes bad he basically spends the rest of the movie crying about what the Cartel will do to him. He’s not smart enough to turn the tables on them nor is he strong enough to take the fight to them; he just sort of sits there waiting for the plot to move forward. Sometimes that sort of thing can work in fiction but it does not work at all here; The Counselor is a boring guy to have to watch for two hours.
|Westray: So Counselor, have you considered not being a chicken shit?|
The Counselor: Nope.
Oh yeah, I should mention this movie possesses one the least sexy scenes I've seen in a movie for a while. You shouldn't do that to a car, dude. Not cool.
I give The Counselor 2 Adorable Pandas out of 5.
-Good cast, solid performances
-Has way too many superfluous sequences
Screenwriter: Mark Protosevich
Starring: Josh Brolin; Elizabeth Olsen; Sharlto Copley
Joe Doucett (Brolin) is an ad executive who is also womanizing, alcoholic asshole who is very neglectful of his three year old daughter. One night, while on a drunken rampage after losing a large client, Doucett is kidnapped and taken to what appears to be a hotel room which he is unable to escape from. He learns from the news reports on the TV that his ex-wife has been brutally murdered and that he has been framed for the crime. Over the next twenty years Doucett dreams of escaping until finally one day he is unexpectedly released. He now plans on finding a way to clear his name, be a proper father to his daughter, and find out who had him imprisoned and why.
|This is either Oldboy or Marvel Comics' "Fear Itself"|
In this case, while I cannot compare this film to its Korean counterpart I can tell you that’s it’s not exactly a great flick. Josh Brolin is awesome as Joe and is easily the best part of this film. He wears a lot of hats in this flick and showcases a great range. But we already knew that; Brolin is a top notch actor. Elizabeth Olsen is also very good here but since I remember her as a little girl from The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley from years ago I feel pretty goddamn old seeing her here…and creepy. The rest of the cast was alright however I’m certain it will be Brolin’s performance that people will be talking about. This film can be pretty brutal from a violence stand point, which I liked though it’s not as frequent as I think it needed to be.
I guess the problem is that with this movie is that, aside from Brolin’s performance, there’s nothing very little above average about this film. It’s fairly standard thrill/revenge stuff and there are far better examples of both out there, which would have been fine except I feel like expectations were high all around. Where the film stands out is the twist ending which, while very well executed, was agonizing to watch. I mean really, it f**ked me up and stayed with me for a long while after I left the theater. Not in a good way. From what I understand is was mostly the same ending as the original so any disgust for the content or praise for the great unexpected reveal can’t be given to this film since it’s a remake.
|I'M SO F**KING OLD!!!!|
I give Oldboy 3 out of 5 Adorable Pandas.
-Great performance by Josh Brolin
-A well-executed twist
-Much of the film feels typical
-Doesn’t really live up to the hype
-That well-executed twist made me want to set everything on fire forever