Best TV Show That I Just Watched

Best TV Show That I Just Watched
Parks & Recreation

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Summer Box Office Grosses Pt 1

We are more than half-way through the summer movie season. Most of the huge, anticipated blockbusters have been released. While there are always a few films that come out after this time that sweep up major cash from the box office, nothing will likely touch the top film on this list.
This weekend, Turbo, RIPD, RED 2, Girl Most Likely, & the Conjuring all come out. We still have Smurfs 2, which will likely make a tidy sum, Wolverine (should get about 160) along with a few other action films and such which will more than likely make 70-100 million dollars before they get swept out of the theaters.
Remeber, that Grown Ups 2 & Pacific Rim just barely came out, so those will climb higher in the next few weeks, and Despicable Me 2 is still doing very well, but will be knocked down a bit by Turbo this week.

Here is how the Summer 2013 Box Office stands at the moment for the major releases of the summer, with Tuesday's grosses factored in (all in millions):

21- Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain- 27.15
20- Internship- 43.29
19- Pacific Rim- 45.76
18- Grown Ups 2- 51.54
17- After earth- 59. 47
16- Purge- 63.89
15- White House Down- 64.65
14- Lone Ranger- 74.53
13- This is the End- 92.55
12- Epic- 105.04
11- Hangover 3- 111.71
10- Now You See Me- 113.72
9- Heat- 116.31
8- Great gatsby- 143.28
7- World War Z- 179.62
6- Star Trek- 224.57
5- Fast 6- 236.68
4- Despicable Me 2- 240.87
3- Monsters University- 241.22
2- Man of Steel 282.19
1- Iron Man 3- 406.85

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Movie Review- Pacific Rim

Pacific Rim- When I first heard about the idea of giant robots fighting giant monsters, I was concerned. In the world of Transformers, Michael Bay, and Megashark vs Giant Octopus, how good could it really be? Then, I heard the name that would give me hope- Guillermo Del Toro. While there have been films of his (and films that he’s produced) that haven’t been my cup of tea, I can never say that they were poorly made. So, then, my hopes went up for this film.
Luckily, they did not come crashing down.
The human storyline is, let’s face it, basically Top Gun. Our hero suffers a crushing loss of someone about whom he cares deeply, he loses his faith in his world, and then is brought in to battle the bad guys one last time but now, must learn to trust again and work together with a team. The big difference is that in this film, the one he must trust is a female pilot, and they’re battling giant monsters, not Russians. But, otherwise, it’s not too different. Luckily, the actors make it work and they are not just the purely good-looking stereotypes found in most horror or action films.
By far the best part of this film is the fact that it creates its own world and history right out of the gate. The first 10 minutes are densely packed with information and could have been their own film, setting up sequels that may or may not come. Instead, that’s just the pre-opening sequence teaser.
But, Del Toro creates a world and tells a story, all at once, something that Hollywood rarely does anymore. Most times, they will try to set up a sequel for franchise possibilities. Luckily, that is not done here and I think the film is stronger for it.
Even though this film takes place on Earth, the civilization it creates is something out of Star Wars or Blade Runner. There is plenty of story to keep you interested and to connect the dots, but also, a lot of shading around the sides- events that are never directly discussed but mentioned in passing, a whole group that has started to idolize the monsters and worshipped them is mentioned but never discussed, and other characters backstories are skimmed over because they are not crucial to this specific plot. This seems like a perfect film for fanboys to latch onto and from which, create fan fiction. There are plenty of ‘Boba Fett’ type characters who are intriguing in their own right.
Not only that, but the action is amazingly fun to watch as well! Each new monster that appears is a new threat to our team and they must find a new way to defeat it. Each battle causes more distress and wear on the characters. Each battle ratchets the tension up exponentially and they warn of a massive event, which is obviously going to be the “Big Bad” at then end., and the final battle lives up to the hype. I am surprised that I did not break my wife’s hand because I was squeezing so tight in spots.
The action is well choreographed so that, even in the dark and in the water, you never lose sight of who is winning or losing and what is happening. The effects are stunning and I actually believed in the giant robots fighting the giant monsters.
The music is perfect and appropriate for this film. In just the few days since I have seen the film, I have had it playing whenever possible and have discovered that even while discussing grocery lists or reading spiritual books, it ups the ante. This is definitely a score soundtrack to buy!
The only tiny, miniscule issue that I had with this film is that it could have used a bit more humor. While there are humorous moments, it does lose sight of that one area of the story/characters. However, it is so much FUN, the humor isn’t missed too much.
Somehow, as I write this, moviegoers aren't going in droves to see this film and I have no idea why! Instead, Grown Ups 2 is making more money than pacific Rim. Really???? How is this happening?
As far as I am concerned, Del Toro has done it again and created the best original movie of the summer! Please go see it!

Film rating- 9
Movie rating- 9

Movie Review- Kevin Hart- Let Me Explain

KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN- I am a huge fan of stand-up comedy. My parents got me into it by taking me to the Comedy Store at the Sands in Vegas when I was about 15. I had been introduced to the concept on the Dr. Demento Radio show a few years earlier and my favorite was George Carlin (even with all of the bleeps). My first live show was Jimmy JJ Walker. I have since been lucky enough to see George Carlin on the front row during his last tour, Drew Carrey NiCole Robinson (Margaret from the West Wing), Charles Fleischer (who gave the best slap down to a heckler ever), Wayne Brady, Harry Basil, Finis Henderson, my high school friend Dean Evans, and many many others. Usually, my birthday weekend in Vegas includes at least one stand up comedy show.
So, when a stand up comedy film was released into theaters, I just had to see it. I had seen Kevin hart as an actor, but had never seen any of his stand-up. So, the first chance that I got in an extremely busy work week, I went to see Let Me Explain.
Now, let me explain something- the film is only 75 minutes long- and that is with the credits! I was in and out of the theater in 90 minutes exactly- and that was including the previews!
The film starts with a sketch about a party that Kevin is hosting and, while trying to talk to his guests, he is accosted by them demanding to know why he got a divorce and why he hates black women, and how he is nothing but a local celebrity, so, he decides to go to Madison Square Gardens and explain himself.
As he is in his car going to the show, he thinks back to the many places he has toured and, with the help of an animated airplane showing us the next stop on the tour, we are treated to about 15 minutes of seeing him on the road, hearing his fans talk about how funny he is, and doing everything, but showing us his stand up.
Let me remind you, that the film is only one hour and fifteen minutes long, and he spends 20 minutes or so doing a skit and showing us testimonnials from his fans and a travelogue of sorts. While interesting, I was chomping at the bit and wanting to see what we were talking about.
And I was very disappointed…for a while.
Kevin Hart starts his stand up by having fire come up and he says that he is the first stand-up comedian to have fire and pyrotechnics at Madison Square Gardens. He then uses the fire whenever he wants to throughout the show. He then begins his set talking about why he got divorced and discussing a lot of the “differences between men and women”. And he brings nothing new to the table. This is an old fallback with stand up comedians since Henny Youngman did the “Take my wife…please.” Joke.
Once he starts talking about what happens after the break up, he gets very honest and starts telling stories- more like Bill Cosby, but with a very R-rated vocabulary- and then he becomes funny.
He discusses trying to get back together with his wi0fe by taking ecstasy- and becoming a living, breathing version of Al Pacino in ‘Scarface’. He discusses his kid’s imaginations and how they think that the things they do while playing with dad will actually help them in schoolyard fights, and he ends his set by telling a story about taking his kids out for a horse ride. All very funny stories.
He then ends by getting choked up by thanking his audience for supporting him and allowing him to sell out Madison Square Gardens. This is where I came to be on his side. He seems very sincere and appreciative of his fans and does not take for granted where he is and how lucky he is.
And, Fire!!!
During the end credits, we see more fun stuff that he does while on the road and we even get to see a waitress start crying because she is so excited to be serving him and he gives her free tickets to the show that night. A very nice end to the film.
The filmmaking is par for the course. How much can you really do with a stand up comedy concert? They do the minimum, but they don’t reinvent the wheel. I do wonder if it was the director or Kevin himself who kept the opening so long and the relative length so short.
While I enjoyed this for the fun stuff, I wish we could have had more actual stand up instead of the sketch and travelogue. I would recommend this for fans of stand up, with those reservations. Being a fan, I look forward to seeing more of Kevin hart’s performances and see if he falls back on the easy stuff or if he does keep up on his storytelling abilities.
For those who are not fans of stand-up comedy, this will not convert you, I would say to stay away.

Film rating- 3
Movie rating- 4

Movie reviews- Hangover 3 & Fast and the Furious 6

Over Memorial Day weekend, 2 sequels battled it out at the box office. One had a huge opening weekend and pleased fans, one had a much, much smaller than expected weekend and displeased fans. This time, I tend to 100 percent agree with the audience and box office returns.

Fast & Furious 6- Is this a good film? I will say no. Is this a fun, all out action movie? A giant YES to that!
The Fast & The Furious series is strange to me. I actually greatly disliked the first film because it was silly, Most of the fans love it for the car racing, but the car racing was almost all CGI, so what made that so fun and cool? I didn’t get it.
2 Fast, while being a bit better filmmaking-wise was still dumb, bubblegum filmmaking and I couldn’t buy into the plot.
Tokyo Drift was a nice change of pace where the stunts got to be done more live and it helped set up the film better.
Fast ^ Furious brought the live car stuynts together with the original cast (who, while not being able to act their way out of a paper bag) at least brought the team back together with an iuntriguing enough storyline, real stunts, and made for a fun time at the movies.
Fast 5 was an amazingly over-the-top piece of filmmaking that turned the Fast movies into a globe trotting heist thriller with a lot of car chases, stunts, fighting between Vin Diesel and Dwayne Johnson, and it just clicked.
While Furious 6 (its onscreen title) does not live up to 5 as a whole, it is a very worthy sequel which again takes a few twists and turns, bringing back a character we thought was dead, bringing in a new villain in the closing seconds for the inevitable Fast 7 (to be released in summer 2014), and has not one but 2 amazing girl fights!
The car action is ramped up with tank chases and battles on airplanes and around London with speed ramps, and any other over the top sequence that the filmmakers could come up with.
And it works.
Vin Diesel and Paul Walker (while not really believable) have a nice macho chemistry together, the supporting cast which includes Ludacris, Tyrese, also exude an on-screen breeziness which makes this whole thing go down easy.
Special mention must be made of Gina Carano who joins the cast as an associate of Johnson’s. It must be noted that she also adds that extra bit to this film due to the fact that she’s an MMA fighter and does all of her own stunts in the fighting scenes- and it shows,.
Jordana Brewsater’s Mia is sidelined into being the damsel in distress but, other than being a fan of Jordana’s, I really didn’t mind as far as the film went. She was not needed in this storyline and hopefully that changes in Fast 7.
The plot is extremely silly, but that doesn’t matter if the action delivers and it does. The fights with carano are intense and hard hitting, the car stunts are well choreographed and filmed. The geography of the fights and chases are well staged and executed (well, okay, except for the longest runway in the history of the world),but it is always easy to follow and understand what it happening.
I also loved the fact that several characters die in this film, upping the ante for the next one. When the team can’t stay in one piece (as anyone who saw Tokyo Drift should have expected), anyone can go out in a blaze of lorry come next summer, and it will be exciting to see how they wield that sword.
This is not rocket science, to be sure, and it doesn’t even attempt to reach down and show the deep existential quandaries of life, but, as a mindless summer film, it rocks!
Film rating- 4
Movie Rating-8

Hangover Part 3- I will always have a soft spot in my heart for the first Hangover film. First, I saw it at Brewvies, and, if there is a perfect film to watch at brewvies, it is either Being John Malkovich or the original Hangover.Secondly, as a writer, I love any film which has this particular line- “I keep forgetting about the goddamn tiger!” and it makes perfect sense in the story.
The second Hangover was a lazy excuse to make more money. They took the action to Bangkok, upped the raunch and disgusting factor, and released it to theaters where it made a huge ton of money, but no one who saw it seemed to really like it. I did think that the mystery of where the brother went was better than where the groom went in the first film, but, otherwise, there was not much there.
I have to say that I am pleased that the filmmakers did not fall back on their laurels and just try to make more money this time around. They tried something different. They went from a crazy comedy to a gritty action film that has comedic moments. While I don’t think it works as a whole, at least they tried and I would much rather watch a film that tries something different and fails (this or Brothers Bloom, for example), than a film that takes all the easy roads and offers nothing interesting (Hangover 2, Transformers, and most sequels, to be honest).
The film this time centers on The Wolf Pack trying to take Alan to a mental facility for help but getting kidnapped by a vicious druglord (John Goodman, perhaps expanding the drug dealer role that he played in Flight?), who wants their help to find Chang, who stole his money from him. And, if they don’t agree, their friend will be killed (Justin Bartha, again being taken out of the large majority of the film).
Again, the film works in fits and starts. Some scenes are fun, some are deadly dull, some action scenes are good, some fall flat. The experience is all over the place. A perfect example is the scene where they go to visit Heather Graham’s character again. There are a few funny lines, she gives a piece of information to the gang that proves useful, but mainly, it is a nice dramatic scene showing that she has moved on from the events of the first film and has a good life. While it is a very nice sequence, it adds very little to the film as a whole, and seems to be there just for fans of the first film and make it okay that Stu left her.
As I left the theater, I can honestly say that I was glad that I saw it, but it quickly left my brain and it didn’t stick around much like the first one did. Again, points for breaking from the mold, but take away those points for being uneven and relatively uninteresting.

Film rating- 5
Movie Rating- 5

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Movie Reviews- Bling Ring- This is the End

Today, I am going to do quick reviews of two Emma Watson films- one she has a major role in and the other, a smaller, but very funny role.

This is the End- How do I describe this one? It is a comedy/ drama/ action film starring real-life Hollywood stars Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jonah Hill, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, & Craig Robinson (and many other cameos including the aforementioned Emma Watson, Michael Cera, and Rihanna, just to name a few) who are all playing alternate reality versions of themselves. Jay Baruchel is a friend of Seth Rogen’s from his days in Canada and who comes to LA to spend time with Seth and just hang out. Rogen takes Jay to a party at James Franco’s house (which baruchel resists because he hates the fake LA group) and, while there, the Apocalypse occurs and the few who survive the initial rapture and destruction must then survive the fires, looting, bottomless pits, and other gory ways of death to find a way to make it to heaven.
Yes, you read that right- make it to heaven. The whole point of the film is to go from a wild and raucous Hollywood party and to learn to be better people to be taken to heaven. And yes, this comes from a major Hollywood studio with stars and writers known for a large amount of drug and potty humor. (Make no mistake- one of the demons near the end does have a large flaming penis.)
I really, honestly don’t know how to feel about this one. Some parts are very winkingly hysterical (Michael Cera as a cocaine snorting sex-crazed version of himself is very funny as is Emma Watson’s attempts at survival) while others go on way too long and are not funny at all (an extended sequence discussing what Danny McBride did with a porn magazine is thuddingly unfunny and just flat out crude). There are great in-jokes mixed with an actual touching drama about 2 friends growing apart who don’t want to. There is a level of debauchery countered by the fact that the goal is to get to heaven.
I don’t think the two sides of this film work well together- it is definitely not two great tastes that go great together, but I’ll be darned if I am not very impressed at the gall it took to attempt this and get it made and released in the middle of summer. The film cost $35 million and has thus far made $80 million and I am very pleased with its success. As a whole for me, it fails, but only slightly. I hope that Rogen tries to do a mixture like this again and tone down the raunch a bit, amp up the interpersonal drama, and he may have something.
If this mixture intrigues you, I would recommend that you see it and make up your own mind- if it doesn’t intrigue you- stay far away!, but do NOT go in expecting a Family Home Evening –type film! It is EXTREMELY R-Rated.

Movie Rating- 4
Film Rating- 6

Bling Ring- Here is another film that I am impressed with but didn’t really like. This is based on the real story of the group of teenagers in LA who used the public knowledge of where celebrities are at every hour of every day (think Twitter and TMZ) and then went and robbed those celebrities’ houses while they were at public gatherings. The real celebrities who were robbed included Paris Hilton (who even let the filmmakers use her real house to stage the scenes set there), Lindsay Lohan, Audrina Partidge, Rachel Bilson, and others. The teens felt that they were part of the celebrity culture and wanted to be even more a part of it and live the life without doing anything to earn it (the argument of ‘earning’ with the Kardashians and Hiltons of the world will wait for another time).
This is the most vapid film that I have seen recently. There is nothing to it. Only 1 participant agreed to speak tto the filmmakers so it is very one-sided. The teen played by Emma Watson has given a couple of interviews in print and a few soundbites for TV, but other than that, everything else had to be invented for the film. As such, not much is known about the people themselves, but the acting and direction is impeccable.
Sofia Coppola keeps a detached view of the teens and watches them rob, party, and parade in the stolen gear. Emma Watson plays one of the teens and pulls off a pitch perfect southern California accent, and does a great job of acting since I could not stand her in this film, in a good way. She is the epitome of fame-obsessed youth in this film and puts it across amazingly well.
The rest of the cast of adults is populated by lesser known celebrities (Leslie Mann and Nina Siesmasko to name 2) and Lohan, Hilton, and a few other real-life celebrities play themselves fleetingly in club scenes.
However, at the end of the day, I am glad that I saw it, but didn’t really “like” it. Again, just like ‘This is the End’, I appreciated it more than I actually liked it.

Movie Rating- 5
Film Rating-8

Monday, July 8, 2013

Movie Reviews- Lone Ranger & Man of Steel

In the last few weeks, I have seen 2 movies which are remarkably similar and both have about the same problems, but, in watching them, one of them rises over the other for one simple reason: fun. All told, I had fun with one of them and thought the other was boring and tedious with great moments, but not much fun.

Man of Steel- I will admit that, in the world of superheroes, I am much more like my wife- I like them dark and tortured and human. It is for this reason that I am drawn much more to Batman than Superman because Superman is too bright and happy and cheerful, in general, and not much can harm him, so where is the danger and the concern that Superman will not be able to accomplish what he sets out to do? I was excited by the prospect that Christopher Nolan and David Goyer were attempting to darken up Supes. However, I was also concerned that Zack Snyder (of Watchmen and Sucker Punch fame) was directing. I was hoping that Nolan and Goyer could even out Snyder.

I was wrong.


When I first heard that we were getting another origin story of Superman, I was concerned. I thought, Do we really need another origin story? But, again, I was hopeful.
My first thought upon seeing the newly imagined Krypton was- “This is Zack Snyder’s audition for Star wars Episode 8.” The planet of Krypton has been reimagined to fit into the Star Wars Universe with its color schemes and creatures and pure CGI.
While watching the new scenes of Kal-El being rescued and sent away by his parents (and later with the “teaching” of the older Kal-El by his dad’s image, I realized something. I don’t care about his origins. I never have. I always hated the Krypton flashbacks in the few Superman comics that I have read, and I have hated all of the Krypton parts of both this and even Richard Donner’s 1977 version. I have always found them boring and tedious. While I will admit that they are done well here, especially Russell Crowe as Jor-El, I just didn’t care and was bored.
I did however, really like the scenes of young Clark Kent with his earthly parents played by Kevin Costner and Diane Lane. These scenes really brought what it would be like to be an alien with these powers on Earth and how necessary it would be to keep them under control while growing up. The bus crash sequence was very well done, the young Clark twisting the metal post of a fence so that he didn’t retaliate against the bullies, was very well done. Diane Lane talking him down from hearing and feeling everything in the classroom around him was well-done. I really, really liked these scenes.
Henry Cavill as the older Clark kent/ Kal-El gives a very nice, nuanced, and balanced performance as he saves oilmen from an exploding oil rig, lets his frustrations out on a trucker, “meets” his dad and Lois Lane, deals with the military, and attempts to come to terms with General Zod. Definitely not playing the part as “cutesy”, I was perfectly fine with this version of the character and thought he brought great depth to the character.
Amy Adams, as Lois Lane, has finally given us a Lois Lane to care about and believe that she could be a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. I liked her search for the man who would help people in trouble and then disappear. This part of the story intrigued me. I also liked how she was able to leak her story on the internet, bringing into play the world of journalism today (play and day rhyme, maybe I should move one of them to the second sentence???).
Michael Shannon as general Zod was a very menacing presence and he made a great “Big Bad”, I just didn’t care about his “Villain’s plan” to turn Earth into Krypton. It was, again, basically a land deal and many people were criticizing Superman Returns as having another Lex Luthor land grab scheme, but, when it boils down, isn’t that essentially what Zod’s plan in this film is?
As said before, the parts where Lois and Kal-El team up to make him known to the military and to attempt to bring himself to the forefront without bringing fear to the world were the best parts of the film (however, having major cast members from The West Wing, law & Order:SVU, and Dollhouse all on screen at the same time broke my brain a bit). While I love Laurence Fishburne, he was not given enough to do as Perry White in this film, but is obviously being set up to have a larger role in the sequels.
The problem was the action. How often is it said that there was “too much action”? About the last hour of the film is the “final confrontation” and it was too much with not enough variety. To me, it seemed like the last half of the film consisted of ‘punch, punch, punch’, ‘punch, punch, punch’, ‘You throw me through a building and I’ll shake the dust off, now I’ll throw you through a building and you can shake the dust off’, lather, rinse, repeat.
Some people are saying that the battle caused too much destruction and the loss of life must have been huge. I think there is some validity to that, because except for the female Daily Planet reporter who is in danger of becoming collateral damage, there never seems to be any human stakes at all in this film.
I do find it interesting that, had this film come out 11 years ago or so, it would have been ripped on for causing so much destruction to a major city and it would have been boycotted by being “too close to the horrible events of 9/11”. However, now, it is perfectly fine to show this destruction. (Please do not read too much into this- I would have found these complaint silly then and now- I am just pointing out the discrepancy of knee-jerk reactions to violence in the media.)
At the end of the day, I just felt that Zack Snyder as a director had all this control to really reboot Superman, and even had the script to do so (I understand that not liking the Krypton parts of the Superman story are all mine and not a fault of the film, but I still felt that the script could have been tightened and tuned up and focused more which could have been done by a better director at the helm), but he had no real vision and imagination. He spent millions on visual effects and the toppling of buildings, and destruction of Smallville (let alone Smallville’s IHOP and Sears), and I got bored, closed my eyes a few times, looked at my watch, and just wanted it to be over.
I did really like the conflict which has been caused to Supe’s psyche by breaking Zod’s neck to save a family (how did he do that again when all the punching and throwing through buildings didn’t cause Zod’s neck to break, but Supe’s strength somehow overcame the same strength that Zod’s bones would have had to resist the breaking of the neck???- oh, never mind- I’m thinking about it way more than Goyer and Snyder did), but I still don’t quite buy the darkening of the Superman story.
I will admit that the final scene of Clark getting a job, being introduced to Lois (who obviously knows who he is so we don’t have to play the whole ‘he has glasses on which blinds me to the fact that he’s actually Superman’ game) and Lois of welcoming to the Planet, made for a fabulously perfect ending sequence, but by that time 2 ½ hours had passed and I was ready to be done. I think that 45 minutes could have been trimmed to make this a leaner, meaner Man of Steel instead of in the flabby shape it was delivered to us.
Again, don’t read into this that I hated ‘Man of Steel’- I was just greatly disappointed by it. I think it has some great building blocks for a new series of Superman movies, but I am more excited for the possibilities of the sequels than I am to ever watch this again.

Movie Rating- 4
Film rating- 6

Lone Ranger- Again, Major Spoilers Ahead!!!!!

Lone Ranger has several of the same problems as Man of Steel. It is also just a hair under 2 ½ hours and could have used a substantial trimming to its runtime. Again, at an hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours, it would have helped the movie flow so much better. I also did not care about getting another origin story for The Masked Man (although I admit freely that the Lone Ranger’s origin story is significantly less well-known than Superman’s). While the scope and detail is extremely impressive, not all of it is needed.
The Lone Ranger finds Johnny Depp playing Tonto, an outcast Commanche who is attempting to kill Butch Cavendish. He is, however stopped by the new county prosecutor, John Reid (Armie Hammer). When Cavendish escapes, John joins a posse with his brother Dan Reid. While on the hunt for the outlaw, the entire posse is ambushed and killed, including John and Dan.
The bodies are found by Tonto and buried. However, a spirit horse, who will eventually become Silver, tells Tonto to bring John back from the dead since John is a Spirit Walker, one who cannot be killed in battle. (If John was actually dead or just very close to it is never specified and left to the viewer, but it seemed to me that John was just close to death and was just helped by Tonto and not actually brought back from the dead.)
Once brought back, John is told that since he is thought to be dead, by wearing a mask he can keep his identity secret and seek vengeance on those that killed him.This origin story takes about 40-45 minutes. The next hour is a basic “buddy” movie where there is drama as the two investigate why the Ranger Posse was killed, and where we meet many more random characters, many of whom could be edited out and streamline the storytelling.
We also get a backstory on Tonto and why he wants to kill Cavendish himself and why Tonto keeps feeding the dead crow he wears as part of his hat. This, to me, was the only truly effective part of the backstories that each character has.
During this hour and 45 minute section, it is never flat out boring, as I felt portions of Man of Steel were, but it could have been tightened a lot in the editing room and made this first part quite breezy and fun instead of entertaining enough and plodding, as it is now.
However, the last 30-40 minutes features an amazingly fun and spry train car chase that starts with The William Tell Overture and The Lone Ranger and Silver rearing up and it never slows down from that point on. The climax chase escalates from one chase into a series of chases and almost feels like a live action Looney Tunes cartoon- and I mean that as a compliment.
The whole film is bookended by a very elderly Tonto telling the story to a child at a County Fair exhibit. Again, while a nice idea, it just pads the running time and is not really needed. This bookending device also does the same thing that the ending of Life of Pi did, in that Tonto asks the boy if The Lone Ranger is a true story or a myth, and then never answers the question- a very unnecessary piece of the storytelling puzzle.
While I do have massive issues with the script (including tons of historical inaccuracies and subplots that really go nowhere- the scorpions, anyone?), I cannot find fault with any of the acting or cinematography. The actors leave it all on the screen (to borrow and modify a sports term). While some actors play their characters very over the top, I feel that it is in the spirit of the old time westerns. Others, like Rachel Wilson who plays Dan’s widow, almost downplays her role, and Depp plays Tonto as a long range relative of jack Sparrow, which is again not a bad thing.
The cinematography is also superb by showing off southern Utah on the big screen again in service of a western storyline- and it does not disappoint. (Except for the fact that we are continually told that we are in texas at “Promontory Summit” and it is clearly Monument Valley, but I digress).
To sum up, while The Lone Ranger would have been helped immensely by a tightening of the film through editing, it does not have the same major problems that Man of Steel has, and is able to still bring a ton of entertainment and fun to this reboot of the classic character.
It’s just waaaaaaaaay too long.

Movie Rating- 7
Film rating- 6

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

1/2 way through 2013

Since Iron Man 3 on May 1st, I have seen 13 more films in the theater. They are:

24. Star Trek Into Darkness- 2x
25- The Last Stand
26- Hangover Part 3
27- Now You See Me
28- Fast & Furious 6
29- Gangster Squad
30- Man of Steel
31- World War Z
32- Monsters University
33- This is the End
34- The Heat
35- Bling Ring
36- White House Down

At this rate, I will se 72 films that are released in 2013 (although I hope to be a bit higher than that when all is said and done).