Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Couple of Flicks - The Grey, Haywire, Contraband, The Divide, Shame

Yeah, I've been slacking.  Sorry...

Kimbaliano has been hobnobbing with the glitterati in Sundance and I am sure she is working up quite a wrap up post.  For now, I thought I would touch base on my last few flicks...and yes, I love the dot, dot, dot...I'm working on that as well...(dammit!)

I was on the road for a bit and I'll get to those at the tail end of this post.  Stay tuned, because included in my week of viewing pleasure was the Washington, D.C. premiere for the new Michael Biehn flick, The Divide.

The Grey
Liam Neeson continues to impress for a man approaching 60 in mere months.  Not that 60 isn't the new 50, but he's rocking it as a bad mamma-jamma and he's relentless in the role of the ass kicker (Geico Gekko: Did I just say Bad Mamma Jamma?).  Is The Grey the pinnacle in his trilogy that began with Taken, continued with Unknown, and is rounded up nicely here.

The Grey follows a group of oil drillers in Alaska, whose plane back to civilization goes down.  Neeson, hired on the drill site to keep the workers safe from wolves in the area, is faced with the very same problem for the small band of survivors.

This film is rocking solid at 77%/75% critics and user ratings and I am still hearing more bad than good on this flick.

I loved it and I thought the wolves were completely palatable.  Forget what you've heard and give this flick a chance.  The Joe Carnahan and Liam Neeson team worked well for The A-Team (deal with it) and it worked well here as well!

Stay until after the credits for a short, but meaningful scene.

4.5 of 5 Horns

This is yet another Steven Soderbergh film that is exactly like a Steven Soderbergh film.

I like Soderbergh, so I liked this film.

Gina Carano stars as Mallory, which is a great name for a badass heroine who can fight like a tigress!  She is great in the fight scenes.

The rest of the cast, almost everyone of them known by BIG name, are completely competent.  The direction as well, competent.

So why didn't I go gaga for this film?  It was very much a thinker...most of the fights were featured in the trailer, which I hate.  The trademark heavy score was ever present with the sound on the dialogue subdued and no batman like sound effects in the fight scenes.

I think that was the problem that most have had with this flick.  It sits at 44% for the user score on RT and the critics are praising it highly at 81%.  That is not exceptionally surprising for Soderbergh, as he is generally loved by critics and perhaps misunderstood by the masses.

At the end of the day, this is a short, fun movie that helped me realize perhaps I could have caught it home and been just as happy.  3.5 of 5 Horns.

If you didn't hear it, Mark Wahlberg recently made the statement that had be been on one of the 9/11 flights, he'd have fought the highjackers and saved everyone.


He should concentrate on elevating his acting game, moreso.  

This film, much like Haywire was a fully palatable film, good enough to pass some time, but really nothing that blew me away.

Wahlberg plays a reformed smuggler who is pulled back in the game for that oh so tired "One Last Job!" when his wife's brother is in on a job gone wrong.

Mayhem ensues and lots of blood is shed.

What I commend this film for, was its boldness as a solid R-rated flick.  The F-bombs were well placed and I like movies that are reminiscent of the 80's action fare.  I think Wahlberg is decent enough and Giovanni Ribisi is just plain dirty (a good thing) as his foil.  Ben Foster is also decent and we need to get this guy in more movies!  Kate Beckinsale is just plain (but looking good while being so mundane) as Wahlberg's damsel in distress, a role in a world with Underworld's Selene, she just doesn't play it well anymore.

At the end of the day, yet another passing grade: 3.5 of 5 Horns.

This is some flick.

It is a very small story about a man (Michael Fassbender) with a sex addiction whose life is upended when his sister (Carey Mulligan) pops into his life and moves in with him following a failed relationship.

I don't even want to begin to describe this film, except to say it is a) captivating and b) very graphic (and quite bizarre).

Be prepared (or be excited)...you will see more of Fassbender's penis than we saw of the giant blue penis in Watchman.

My description above sums up the plot and the story unfolds as we learn the extent of Brandon's (Fassbender) problem and how it is exacerbated by Sissy's arrival.  Yes, she is his sister, but her name is also Sissy.

If you can take the heavy sexual content with some serious penis shots (probably the only time I will ever write those words!), the see this movie!  While Fassbender was nominated for the Golden Globe, he narrowly missed the Oscar nod, I am sure.

I saw this at the E Street Theater in Washington, D.C., a great venue if you are ever in that neck of the woods.

4 of 5 Horns for this full-frontal, NC-17 outing.

The Divide
This was my second flick at the E Street Theater, a midnight outing featuring the new movie from the director of Hitman.  Yep, that's how it was billed.  What's his name?  Who the hell knows!! (Xavier Gens if you're following along.)

I will tell you that the more notable face in the flick was Michael Biehn...you know, Kyle Reece, Seal Team Commander (The Rock), Coffey (The Abyss), Hicks (Aliens), and so on and so on.  When his name showed up on the screen, the crowd went wild.

The film co-stars Milo Ventimiglia, Lauren German, Courtney B. Vance, and Rosanna Arquette.  Michael Eklund also stars and while you might not recognize the name, anytime you thought you were watching Ethan Hawke, but couldn't find it on his IMDB page, it was probably this guy.

The rough in on the story is this...

We are introduced briefly to some of the cast and shortly after the end of opening credits, bombs start dropping.  More specifically, nukes.


Everyone starts going bonkers and a group of tenants in the apartment complex we are introduced to, start heading down to the basement.  A group of them make it to the huge steel door that lo and behold is being slammed in their face by the Super, Biehn's Mickey.

Conditions are quite deplorable and panic sets in as the meager supplies Mickey has begin to run short.  Add in the fact that these people have no idea what is going on outside of the walls of their bunker.  Luckily, it is in fact a bunker...equip with a shower, a hole into an underground septic run, and enough space that when the story called for it, whoever was pissed could go off and sulk.

Now it gets crazy.

This film is deep-end, bat shit crazy and this film is polarizing to the tune of about 90/10.  I figure something in the neighborhood of 90% of the people who see this movie, will hate it.

There is a bizarre sci-fi futuristic element of this that I won't spoil, but I will say that these elements intrigued me at first, and ultimately left me wondering what the hell I was actually watching.  A super cool aspect of this film could have led to something great, instead I just left scratching my head.

Minor spoilers to the depravity of this film follows:


Heavy sound effect laden defecation.

And a woman is raped repeatedly.  To Death.


At the end of the day, I really liked this film.  More so, I really enjoyed the sum total of my viewing experience.  It was greatly accentuated by the full house who were hootin' and hollerin' at all the right moments.  I do think that most were disturbed, but in the way that is great for this kind of depravity.  This film is destined for cult movie status at best, and I predict it will get a VOD release and that its theater run may be limited to shows like the one I caught.

Throw in the emergency rations cans of "beans," well jelly beans, that the studio had sent for the screening, and this was about a perfect midnight movie in our nation's capitol.  

4 of 5 Horns for this demented, depraved, and genre-ificly enjoyable flick.  Yes, I was in the 10%, but heed my warning...you may hate this film.

The other option for the midnight movie option was The African Queen.  The theater was pretty jammed for both flicks and it gave me hope that folks outside of my home locale of KC are into movies...if only we could generate some excitement like this, KC would be a better place for film.

For now, that is all...until later, take care!
Reel Rhino

1 comment:

  1. what happened to Talget was silly,and they were palatable but I don't about completely