Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jonah Hex

Jonah Hex is not the worst movie of the year. It’s far from that and I think it succeeds at what it is – a summer movie. We tend to expect huge jaw-dropping blockbusters in the summer because we’ve been spoiled. Generally speaking, the greatest movies we see during the year come out during the summer months. Because of this we lose sight of what a summer movie really is… just something to do. It’s entertainment and it’s nice to get out of the heat for a while. I’m not saying a movie is allowed to suck just because we were bored and needed an escape for 90 minutes. I’m only saying we shouldn’t criticize movies too harsh when it doesn’t live up to summer standards.

Jonah Hex has plenty of faults, but it’s not terrible. Like I said, it is what it is and I quite liked it. The action, the brief moments of comedy, and the special effects are all decent. I’ve always liked Josh Brolin and he’s pretty good as the vengeful titular cowboy. I’ve always liked Megan Fox as well and she’s not as bad as I would have thought. She’s cute and pulls off a relatively convincing southern twang. Both actors do well in their action sequences and have some nice chemistry.

Now, if you’ve got nothing else to do this weekend and don’t feel like standing in line for Knight and Day or Toy Story, see this movie. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. However, this movie can easily wait for video and I’m guessing that since it’s getting such bad reviews, Jonah Hex will be on DVD soon.

I’ll only highlight a couple things I disliked about Jonah Hex, because I really don’t want to dissuade anyone from seeing it. First of all, Josh Brolin’s make up is cheap. We’re supposed to believe that from a branding “accident” he is badly burned and has a hole in his cheek. To me it just looks like they put a piece of string cheese over his lip. It’s rather distracting… and disgusting.

Jonah Hex also severely lacked development. The writer spent very little time on his characters. Maybe they thought followers of the original comic already had enough information, but I’d never actually heard of the this book. The villain Quinton Turnbull, played by John Malkovich, is the most one-dimensional. There is little to no back story, so we don’t really know why he wants to destroy the country. Other than a shocking intro scene where Turnbull murders Jonah's family, we don't see much of their history together so any meeting between the two if them isn't very interesting. Plus, and I don’t think I’ve ever said this, Malkovich really phones this one in. He’s played some crazy guys before, so I really expected something more menacing. In Jonah Hex he’s just kind of “Grrr! I’m a bad guy! Okay, where’s my paycheck?”

The last thing I’ll mention is that the supernatural theme is a bit off here. We see that Jonah almost dies at the villain’s hands and because of this, he can speak to the dead. It’s a pretty cool concept and most of the time it works. However, there is another power that I don’t understand at all. It has something to do with dreams or the subconscious mind or something. Jonah is told in a dream sequence that his “unfinished business” is fighting and defeating the Turnbull. Ok so that’s cool I guess. But then we have to see the dream sequence again edited in with their actual fight at the end. That didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and was a little annoying.

Despite a few problems, Jonah Hex is an okay movie. I enjoyed it. If you go into it not expecting too much, you may enjoy it too. As I said, don’t rush out to see it. If you’ve got nothing better to do, check it out. What else are you gonna do with your summer? Hang out at the Gas n Sip?

3 comic covers

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The A-Team

This is not the A-Team you remember. In fact, it has very little to do with the original series at all. The names are the same, the mohawk is relatively the same, and the catchphrase, "I love it when a plan comes together," is the same. That's pretty much it. I'm not saying that's a bad thing; just don't expect yo mama's A-Team.

This A-Team is violent and more explosive. That's to be expected. It's been about 30 years since the show aired, and the audience has changed. Mr. T didn't like this movie for that reason. But I enjoyed it. It is an action movie above all else and it is a succesful one. However, these action stars seem like new characters we've never seen before. Face and Murdock are good, if not a little over the top, but the other two didn't really convince me. BA is a little soft, and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson even admits that fact in some interviews. In my opinion, this could have easily been a brand new, totally original movie without anything to do with the A-Team. But, Hollywood loves the remake.

I guess you could call this movie a re-imagining although I hate that term; a re-imagining just means one thing. Hollywood has officially run out of ideas. You should fully expect to see Silver Spoons or Small Wonder hitting the big screen soon. Due to the gimmicky popularity of Betty White, I wouldn't be surprised if Golden Girls made a comeback. Actually wait, they already made that - Sex and the City 2.

On its own, A-Team is a good movie. There's plenty of action, plenty of jokes, and plenty of twists and turns. My favorite parts are when the boys have to escape from somewhere, and they have to escape a lot. The team comes up with some pretty clever (crazy) plans. The storyline is decent, though it's pretty simple. With the amount of violence and explosions I kind of expected a save-the-world scenario but it's nowhere close. Despite all my observations, I didn't think this was a bad movie. I really liked it and I definitely recommend it. See it in theaters while you can. The A-Team is probably one of the better movies you'll see this summer. The final scene is so explosivy; the ending alone is worth the admission.

4 awesome explosions!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Vincent: A Life in Color returns to Chicago

If you're going to be in the Chicago area during the last week of July, please make sure you go see Vincent: A Life in Color. It's not on DVD so the only way to see it now is if you attend a special screening like this. I think you'll like the movie - read my review here. And if you're from Chicago, you have no excuse. You are required to go. This is Chicago history right here.

From Zweeble Films:

We have been invited back for a second week's run at the Gene Siskel Film Center beginning Friday July 23 and running through Thursday July 29. Screening times are:

Fri. at 6:00 pm and 8:15 pm;

Sat. at 3:00 pm, 5:15 pm, and 7:45 pm;

Sun. at 3:00 pm and 5:15 pm;

Mon.-Thu. at 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm

For more information you can visit the Gene Siskel Film Center or the director's website. Go see this movie now! In July, I mean.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Movies that WILL be Video Games - Back to the Future

Looks like Telltale Games has been reading my thoughts. Sneaky psychic game designers. I briefly toyed with the idea of a Back to the Future game sequel, one in which Marty is much older and Doc still lives in the Old West. Marty's kid takes a joyride in his DeLorean and completely screws things up for Marty in the present day. Somehow Biff becomes president, and the entire country falls apart. Marty marries someone other than Jennifer, thus preventing his kid's own existence. When his kid disappears, the DeLorean gets left in the past. Marty has to steal the time-traveling train from the Hill Valley museum, which has been there since 1885. Doc Brown covered up the time traveling mechanisms and donated it to the museum to preserve it, just in case.

I imagined that since Marty's kid screws up so many different things in the past, Marty would have just as many missions to set each thing back to normal and bring back his son. That's about all I came up with. I couldn't think of how to make fixing things fun, and I wasn't sure what kind of game it would be.

But it looks like Telltale Games, a group of ex LucasArts designers, is now making an episodic Back to the Future game. If it's anything like their creation Sam and Max: Season One, it will be great. I'm definitely interested to see what kind of storyline they come up with.

Read the press release here.


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