Category Archives: Movie Review

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Movie Review – Their Finest

Category : Movie Review

Director: Lone Scherfig

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Sam Clafin, Bill Nighy

Year: 2016

Forgotten because of the spectacle that was Dunkirk and because of the attention that was (rightly) paid it, audiences mostly missed the other England Losing WWII Before It Had Even Started movie, and that was Their Finest.  I don’t mean to sound dismissive of the horror of the Blitz or to the beginning phase of the War, the release of these films has simply alerted me to the fact that most people don’t know the history behind the story or behind the first battles, which is fairly shocking.  Too many people asked me “what’s Dunkirk?” when I mentioned that they had to see the film; I knew this was more obscure than D-Day, but I didn’t know it was that unknown.  Anyway, two movies tell the tale, one through intense realism and one through comedic storytelling.  The first is much better, which you probably already know if you’ve been hooked in to any social media, but the second is slightly disappointing, which I did not see coming.

After the events at Dunkirk, and while England shelters in its tubes, waiting for Germany to finish off its armies, a once-proud people begin to lose faith that their country will survive Europe’s largest war.  Hitler and his Nazis are marching free across the continent, America seems uninteresting in joining sides, and hope seems absolutely lost.  This is the time for propaganda to shine if ever there was one, and the film department of the Ministry of Information is on the job.  The mission; to create a movie that will lift the spirits of a nation, to bring a true story to life that will inspire a war effort.  Two screenwriters, Catrin Cole and Tom Buckley, make it their goal to pen a picture that will make a world of difference.

Their Finest is a good example of a smart idea that wasn’t exactly executed to match its potential.  You’ve got real history to work with, a unique idea to act as a vehicle, a solid cast to perform the action, and yet the final product isn’t exactly as flawless as I’d hoped it would be.  The beginning is great, the comedy is welcome, and the heart is real, but the writing & direction really let the concept down about 90 minutes in.  That’s around the time I lost interest, when the plot takes a weird path that you both saw coming and didn’t want to watch.  I’m not sure who made the ultimate decision on the direction this movie would take, but someone made a mistake.  Up to that point, Bill Nighy was stealing the show, Eddie Marsan (who is extremely underrated; Filth, A Brilliant Young Mind, The Exception) was delighting us all, and everything was going swimmingly.  Gemma Arterton never really took control though, the ending was disappointing, and the overall vibe I got from the film was that someone lost control of what could have been a great thing.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Exception

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Leveaux

Starring: Jai Courtney, Lily James, Christopher Plummer

Year: 2016

First-time director David Leveaux swings for the fences, if you’ll pardon the expression, with The Exception, a dramatization of history that features both eye-catching talent and cringe-worthy performances.  Well, actually, only one cringe-worthy performance, but that one is enough to derail the locomotive that is this picture, considering that it comes from the below-average talent of the main character of the film.  The Exception is a bit of war-time fantasy, a romance set among the bare bones of a true story, a movie based upon a novel that gives drama to the last days of a King.  Doesn’t sound too bad, isn’t too bad, but the final product is not the concise feature we would hope for.

Kaiser Wilhelm II, former King of Prussia, has been in exile in the Netherlands since Germany’s defeat in WWI and his removal from the throne.  Now that the Nazi party has taken over and is marching upon Europe, Wilhelm hopes to be reinstated into the monarchy, though the supporters of the worker’s party may not be of the same mind.  Captain Stefan Brandt has been put in command of the Kaiser’s personal guard, tasked with the mission of keeping him safe, so that Hitler can use him as he sees fit.  But a British agent is in the area, possibly to assassinate the old King, and tensions are high.  When Brandt begins a relationship with a Jewish housemaid named Mieke, he finds himself in over his head in dangerous waters, where one wrong choice could mean death.

Leveaux’s direction succeeds fairly well, and the movie itself ends up as a job well done, if not anything that deserves a standing ovation.  This story, fictionalized as it is, will still fascinate those interested in WWII, as it still paints a very interesting picture of the new German regime pitted against the old.  So the context is there and the execution is OK, but the pieces are judged on their own, and some are better than others.  Plummer as Wilhelm was excellent, as was his wife, played by Janet McTeer, the perfect pair to show us ancient royalty fighting against a modern world.  Lily James was the real star though, and she chose to go down a path many young actresses have tested before, embracing nudity and an adult role to show that she has absolutely arrived in the spotlight.  To be fair, Courtney was nude as well, which was probably the high point of his performance.  He’s not a good actor, that’s plain, and he couldn’t do a German accent, if that’s what he was trying.  He, as the lead, brought down the film, the others tried their best to boost it back up, the result being an uneven story that had its moments, but overall won’t wow anyone watching with a critical eye.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Iron Giant

Category : Movie Review

Director: Brad Bird

Starring: Eli Marienthal, Vin Diesel, Harry Connick Jr, Jennifer Aniston

Year: 1999

In an era of changing animation, movies like Iron Giant, Titan A.E., Atlantis, and Treasure Planet were in style; sci-fi adventures utilizing new technologies and old stories.  Warner Bros. tried its hand at the modernized genre, as an animation company that had only one success (Space Jam) but would go on to produce the Lego franchise of films fifteen years later.  That they were able to create such a timeless hit like Iron Giant is a miracle, and took an entire team of very lucky people to pull off; the author of the original story, the writer of the screenplay, and the director of the film.  Brad Bird would go on to do The Incredibles and Ratatouille, but he got his break here, with a movie that is as classic and American as apple pie, as strong a film as any animated great you set beside it.

In the 1950s, the nightmare scenario of nuclear war with Russia had even school children on the edge of their seats, with adults planning for the very worst and wondering if every unusual activity was a sign of imminent doom.  For Hogarth Hughes, life is one exciting mission after another; bringing home animals, wandering the woods, watching scary movies, and pretending that he’s the next great legendary hero.  But when he stumbles upon an actual adventure, being heroic might be more than he bargained for.  Hogarth finds a massive, metal-eating robot in the forest, one that doesn’t know why it’s here and doesn’t speak English.  The unusual duo become fast friends, but there’s still the question of what to do with a giant when it’s time to go home.  Government agents in town to investigate will cause even more trouble, and Hogarth will learn just how far his new friendship will stretch before it becomes dangerous.

Iron Giant is a special film, that’s the simplest way to say it.  Not many of this genre or of animated movies in general survive this long as a beloved story, or resonate this strongly even all these years later.  The base morals are important ones; love overcoming fear, words overpowering guns, reason defeating war.  Not all those ideals come true in our world, but in this story they can.  This film captures the 50s perfectly, complete with Red Scare comics and Duck & Cover videos.  It’s a blatant message, but a necessary one, and we need to hear it now more than ever.  The movie itself is just so wonderful, from the unique animation to the one-of-a-kind characters.  Vin Diesel is the voice of the Giant, coming off his first big role in Saving Private Ryan.  Connick & Aniston are a great pair, the kid sells the plot perfectly, and the love between the boy and his robot is touching beyond what I can describe.  Iron Giant is one of the best animated features that I have ever seen; if you haven’t watched it please remedy that immediately.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – The Dark Tower

Category : Movie Review

Director: Nikolaj Arcel

Starring: Idris Elba, Tom Taylor, Matthew McConaughey

Year: 2017

You’d have to run a poll to get anything near some accurate statistics, but the number of those who see the Dark Tower movie has got to be exponentially higher than the number who have also read the entire Dark Tower series.  And of course, that’s not counting the connected side stories, the extra book written into the sequence, and the literal dozens of Stephen King books that tie in; Hearts in Atlantis, The Stand, Salem’s Lot, Insomnia, etc.  My point being, only an extremely small number of audience members will be up on the magnum opus and all its connected plots that is King’s masterwork.  I just happen to be both a film critic and a King aficionado; I’ve read almost everything he’s ever written and I know this universe better than any but the biggest super fans.  So I have to acknowledge that I was disappointed in the film not being a very strong representation of the books, but I also have to let that go so I can tell you quite honestly that, were this a completely independent movie, it still would have sucked.

Jake Chambers is a special kid; he Shines.  Jake has dreams of another world in which a dark man fights a brave hero, in which a tower is under attack and every world in the multiverse is threatened.  But these aren’t just dreams, because Jake can see beyond, and the dark power is coming for him soon to use his mind against his and every other world.  The Man in Black, Walter, is attempting to break down the Dark Tower in order to let chaos reign.  The last Gunslinger, Roland, has sworn to protect the Tower, but is also fueled by a vengeance that may cloud his true purpose.  Jake is caught in the middle of this epic struggle, which will affect Earth and every other planet, world, realm, and plane in the universe.  He must use his Shine to find Roland, to help him stop the attack on the Tower, to destroy Walter, and to save everything, everywhere from total destruction.

To put the book-movie issue to rest, I think I understand the direction the filmmakers chose and why they chose it.  Instead of doing the first book, or even instead of doing a compilation of the series, what they decided to do was to create a sequel, a story about the next turning of the wheel in the great and never-ending march of time.  I believe that this is Roland retracing his steps, in a quantum kind of way, taking the next leg of his journey by repeating the past, needing to live multiple lives until the ultimate goal is met.  Again, this won’t make total sense to those who haven’t read the novels, but I think it at least explains a little as to why the movie is absolutely nothing like any of the books.  They might as well have called it Interdimensional Cowboys and sold it as its own, stand-alone film for all it had to do with King’s concepts.  But, like I said, that wouldn’t really have made it any better.

Director Nicolaj Arcel is no slouch; his last film, A Royal Affair, is really strong, better than most American period pieces, able to combine history with drama in an excellent way that somehow also allows for great acting.  For The Dark Tower, none of that was replicated at all.  First, even though I forgive the story not even remotely honoring the books, they missed an opportunity there.  It’s not rocket science; the books are amazing, all you have to do is show them to us on screen, we’ll eat our hearts out.  Instead, they completely abandoned the base story; no clever language, barely any glorious Midworld, a stupid repetition of the Gunslinger creed that was so out of place it was painful.  Secondly, any drama that was produced felt annoyingly manufactured, no relationships were organic at all.  Mini love stories with no points, parents out of nowhere, a rushed feeling throughout that seemed as cheap as it made the movie look; how much time was actually put into the making of this film?  And lastly, the acting was awful.  I didn’t mind Jake so much, he was OK, but Elba hiding his accent was embarrassing, as was McConaughey attempting cool cruelty when we couldn’t possibly believe that for a second.  To steal a quote, “The Dark Tower is like if Peter Jackson crammed all of The Lord of the Rings into 90 minutes and made Pippin the main character.”  Sadly accurate, and not at all how things should have or needed to have turned out.  These novels are life-changing for fans; this movie is both a bad representation and an equally awful delivery.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 

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Movie Review – American Fable

Category : Movie Review

Director: Anne Hamilton

Starring: Peyton Kennedy, Kip Pardue, Richard Schiff

Year: 2016

American Fable is a complete disaster from start to finish.  Its director has never directed before, its star plays a ten-year-old as a five-year-old, its leading male is best known as a football player called “Sunshine”, it copies Pan’s Labyrinth but then forgets to be like Pan’s Labyrinth, and generally it’s one of the dumbest movies I have seen in a long time, stumbling through every story arc and moral like it had been hit on the head with a blunt object.  Rarely have I watched something so incompetently done, so utterly directionless and without talent.  It’s not the idea that bothers me, or the attempt, it’s the execution, the resulting movie being like Tomorrowland without George Clooney, money, or a point.

Gitty is a farmer’s daughter, and her family is the most important thing in her life.  Next is her farm and its animals, land & responsibility passed down from generation to generation that her father won’t give up without a fight, though the bankers may come knocking at his door.  Gitty soon finds out that he’s done something sinister in order to ensure the survival of their way of life, something with an outcome that is guaranteed to be negative.  Playing near an old silo, Gitty hears a voice inside, and discovers that a man is imprisoned there for some obscure reason.  She makes friends with the stranger, trading him food and books for companionship and stories, creating a fantasy world in which no one is bad, everything works out, and endings are always happy.

First, I hated the way Kennedy played Gitty, like a tiny child stuck inside an older child’s body, making unfathomable decisions that couldn’t possibly make sense within the context of the film.  Next, every single actor around her (with the exception, perhaps, of Richard Schiff) was so god-awful that the movie literally couldn’t survive.  Her dad, her mom, her brother, some weird woman; they all were worse than I would be if I stood up right now and attempted to play Romeo and Juliet both.  Also, I mentioned Pan’s Labyrinth because every image and clip of the movie shows Gitty imagining a rider walking through the story, a representation of many things I guess, though it’s vague at best.  This fantasy barely has an impact on the film, it’s a ridiculous addition, it goes nowhere, and it should have been cleanly chopped and tossed onto the editing room floor.  Most of the film should have, actually, as the majority of it was either a bad decision or insanely bad execution.  The only thing that kept me from hating American Fable was the idea behind it, which might have actually made a nice novella had someone else much more talented concocted it.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Sharknado 5: Global Swarming

Category : Movie Review

Director: Anthony C. Ferrante

Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Cassandra Scerbo

Year: 2017

I am happy to report that the train wreck that is Sharknado, the horrible spectacle that you just can’t pull your eyes away from, may finally be ending.  I say this having just read “To Be Continued” across the screen and knowing that they’ll probably make #6 because what the hell do they have to lose, but in many ways the nightmare has still ended.  In a movie franchise that usually attracts a ton of celebrity cameos for some unknown, god-awful reason, even most D-list celebs steered clear of this one.  I didn’t recognize half of the appearances, which might partly be due to the fact that almost every female on screen was a poster-lady for Botox gone wrong lawsuits.  It was a shame to see all the mutilated faces, and judging by its lack of Twitter presence and of IMDb ratings, I’d say that Global Swarming was a complete and utter disaster.

It’s hard to tell where to start, since nothing about this plot makes any damned sense.  Fin, April, and their son Gil visit the Prime Minister of England, but immediately receive an emergency phone call from Nova.  She and her sharknado-fighting sisterhood have uncovered an ancient relic that might be able to produce and to destroy sharknados.  Problem is, retrieving it releases storms all over the world, and the entire globe is on the brink of annihilation.  And what’s worse, these sharknados have a core that can teleport you to any random location, making nowhere safe to hide.  Poor Gil gets sucked up in one, Fin & April must find him wherever he goes, and the world must be saved before every news host on the planet is eaten by a hammerhead shark.

Sharknado is probably the worst movie I have ever seen.  Sharknado 2: The Second One was slightly better, maybe just Bottom 10 all-time, but only because it was also worse in many ways, going further over the top than anyone ever thought possible.  Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! proves us all wrong, the franchise can get more ridiculous, and the sky is by no means the limit.  Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens is embarrassingly bad, and I think the entire cast & crew literally lost their minds.  Now we have Sharknado 5: Global Swarming, and I have to hope that this is at least the end of people watching this crap, if not the end of people making it.  Every little bit got worse, if you can imagine how that might be humanly possible.  Barely any credible celebrity cameos, a story that makes the other ones look like Shakespeare wrote them, and 90 minutes straight of Tara Reid screaming the most unbelievably human scream you have ever heard, until you think you might just fall over dead from pure dumbness.  I can’t believe I’ve watched so many of these, and I think it might be time to stop.

My rating: ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Flushed Away

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Bowers, Sam Fell

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellan

Year: 2006

I remember the video game coming out more than I remember the movie being released, the story of Flushed Away lending itself to that sort of action, task-completion, and age group.  It’s a fast-paced plot, never a dull moment concocted, and there are a hundred small characters to throw into 80 minutes.  Toss in a hundred shots to the crotch and you’ve got yourself a movie that kids will love, especially, 10-year-old boys, and a franchise that can actually sell quite nicely, if not exactly compete with the big dogs like Pixar.  Flushed Away is a fun comedy/adventure for younger audiences, but it is also just smart enough not to turn adults completely away, making it a surprising hit from 10 years ago that holds up quite nicely today.

Roddy is a pampered rat, living in Kensington, London with a rich family, having the run of the place when they’re off on vacation.  He doesn’t know either the dangers of the outside world or the friendship of a rowdy group, but his lonely little life is safe, and that’s all that he thinks he wants.  When an unwanted house guest pops in, Roddy is flushed down the loo into the sewers, where he is much more than out of place.  His luck’s no good either, as he runs into a rat named Rita who is being chased by an evil toad called …wait for it …The Toad.  The loony mastermind wants a ruby Rita possesses, but he also has a greater and more sinister plan, one that will destroy ratkind once and for all.

There are positives and there are negatives, but you can’t expect much else from a children’s movie about the hijinks of rats, even one that does slightly appeal to adults as well.  The movie starts off well enough, with an ultra-British Wallace and Gromit feel, some cool references, and a load of catchy tunes.  That the action goes slightly silly slightly soon doesn’t exactly kill the mood for grownups, but it does leave us a little behind.  When characters start getting banged between the legs repeatedly for laughs, that’s when I start to question whether the movie was made for me.  Ultimately, it isn’t, it’s for a younger audience, and boy will they enjoy it.  The goofy humor, the singing slugs, the agile frogs, all the high-intensity boat scenes; it’s a barrel of fun.  Lower your expectations, connect with your inner child, or watch Flushed Away with your kids; there is definitely a lot you can enjoy if you allow yourself to, even if the content isn’t exactly classy.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Atomic Blonde

Category : Movie Review

Director: David Leitch

Starring: Charlize Theron, James McAvoy, Toby Jones

Year: 2017

Some graphic novels work as film adaptations (300), and some do not (Watchmen), but the fact that this relatively obscure medium is becoming both more public and more respected is good for all areas of art.  Not every single attempt to bring these stories to life on the big screen is going to go according to plan, but I do appreciate the work put into both the novels themselves and their movie versions, because wow that’s a lot of effort.  Atomic Blonde is Hollywood’s latest stab at bringing a modern comic to a new audience, and credit David Leitch for moving from stunt coordinator to movie collaborator to film director; that can’t be easy.  But that doesn’t mean his new project succeeds, just as its failure doesn’t represent a big blow to the genre.  Atomic Blonde is just an idea gone wrong and a plan poorly executed; better luck next time.

MI6 agent Lorraine Broughton has been tasked with a mission of utmost global importance in the heart of Europe’s most volatile city; Berlin.  The Cold War is ending, the Wall is about to come crashing down, tensions are high, and nowhere is more dangerous, but Broughton must go where she is needed, and her country needs her at this moment more than ever.  A vital piece of information, called The List, has fallen into the wrong hands and is for sale on the black market.  This list contains the names of covert operatives on all sides and will surely only fuel a dispute that could turn into WWIII if not doused at this pivotal point.  Broughton must reach her British contact, David Percival, discover who killed the agent who was in charge of The List, find the missing info, and get out of Berlin before it explodes in protest, all while being chased by the KGB and not knowing who she can possibly trust on her own side.

If I had wanted to watch Spy Game, I would have just popped it in.  If I had wanted a combination of that underrated film, Bridge of Spies, Neon Demon, and John Wick, I would have gone to sleep, dreamed it up, and discarded it as a twisted disco nightmare of espionage and vodka that no one needed to see.  Atomic Blonde is that sort of disaster; a movie version of fifty ideas spray painted on the side of a wall, shattered with a sledgehammer, and put back together by an amateur filmmaker in over his head.  From the color palette to the chapter choices, this story was presented to us in wrong ways at every turn, failing to live up to its parent work, falling flat on its face from the word ‘go’.  Too many slow shots of the stunning Charlize Theron did give us a graphic novel feel, but they also murdered the pace and tipped us off that the director wasn’t sure what else to do, that his movie was running wild without his control, and that, in the end, audiences would be the ones to suffer.

It wasn’t all bad, but the positives can only be credited for saving the film from certain disaster, not for elevating it high enough for the movie to be called ‘good’.  The music was spectacular, but we’ve already become accustomed to rad oldies soundtracks that set the mood (Guardians of the Galaxy, Baby Driver) and we’re starting to be able to sniff out when a film relies on our love of its music to get by; this movie would have been nothing without its awesomely 80s tunes.  James McAvoy tried to save the day with a role that was part Filth, part Split, and I almost wish this had been simply another one of his personalities, that the twist at the end was M. Night Shyamalan at a desk telling us that the story would continue much creepier somewhere else.  That’s obviously not true, but man I wish it was.  Because, otherwise, Atomic Blonde has nothing to offer apart from one badass fight scene up and down a set of stairs.  It’s Oldboy quality, it’s that impressive, but the other 100 minutes of action was almost anything but.  For a spy/assassin crime/thriller, the majority was a big dull drag, sprinkled with conversations that were ridiculous in dark rooms that you could barely see.  Spend your money elsewhere, support graphic novels some either time, and don’t expect Fury Road‘s Furiosa to make much of an appearance, or you’ll be very disappointed.

My rating: ☆ ☆

 

 

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Movie Review – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Category : Movie Review

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson

Year: 2004

The third Harry Potter film brings a new director and a new attitude to the franchise, mixing things up a bit in just the way that was needed.  Cuaron had some experience adapting novels to the screen (A Little Princess, Great Expectations), but was just coming off directing Y Tu Mama Tambien, a decidedly adult film.  He had yet to go on to make Children of Men and Gravity, but the studio must have seen enough of his talent to know that they wanted him to take this fantasy universe in a unique direction, that their film series required a boost, despite the success of the novels and of the movies.  Cuaron was exactly what the doctor ordered, looking back on it now, and his dark take on the maturing third book made it something more than kid’s fantasy.

Harry is back at Hogwarts after a slight misuse of magic that inflated his aunt and a ride on the Knight Bus after he ran away from “home”.  Instead of being punished for his actions at the Dursley’s, Harry is being forgiven more quickly than ever and protected in ways he’s never been before.  The reason lies in the escape of a wizarding convict named Sirius Black from the dreadful prison Azkaban.  Black aided in the murder of Potter’s parents, and now appears to be after Harry himself.  A new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and a host of evil dementors, the guards of Azkaban, keep things at Hogwarts on their toes, while Harry tries to unravel the mystery of Sirius Black; why he betrayed his friends to Voldemort, how he is sneaking onto the grounds of the castle despite the dementors, and what Harry will do when he comes face to face with the notorious prisoner.

If Sorcerer’s Stone is a cool introduction and Chamber of Secrets is basically a carbon copy, Prisoner of Azkaban is a step toward an artistic direction, a modernizing of the story that pays homage to the book but also takes a lot of liberty when it comes to changing it to fit the screen.  When it first came out and I saw it in the theatre, I remember being put off by Harry in Muggle clothes, by the license taken with the arrangement of the plot, by the black mood that hung over the entire picture.  Now though, I can appreciate exactly what Cuaron did, and perhaps even credit him with saving the franchise.  I love Chris Columbus, but were the stories left in his hands we might have ended up with a children’s adventure series, nothing more.  Cuaron darkened the mood, played with cinematography, advanced the script, and crafted something that was both what we wanted and surprised us with its originality.  The character additions helped a ton too: David Thewlis as Lupin, Gary Oldman as Black.  They were tremendous, and basically stole the show.  I appreciated the pendulum and the entire time/seasons element, the starring trio solidified as a group and Grint returned to from, the film as a whole spoke to adults as strongly as it spoke to kids.  Azkaban is the best of the original HP trilogy, a redoubling of effort that does not go unnoticed.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

 

 


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Movie Review – Spy Kids

Category : Movie Review

Director: Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Alexa PenaVega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas, Cara Gugino

Year: 2001

As I explained it politely to my kids so as not to insult the film they just enjoyed, some movies are made for kids, some movies are made for adults, and some movies are made for both.  Spy Kids is definitely a for-children viewing experience, and I can’t imagine a single grownup being able to sit through it until the end.  That it currently has a 7/10 score from MetaCritic blows my effing mind; I thought it was abysmal in every sense of the world.  I’m not knocking kids for enjoying it, that’s why it was made, have a great time, do your thing.  But adults beware; this is the stupidest story you’re likely to see, the worst acting you’ll have to witness, and god help any of you who voluntarily sit down to watch it for the sake of your children.

The Cortez family has spy blood, and that never dies.  Gregorio & Ingrid were both excellent operatives for their respective sides, were tasked with killing each other, but fell in love instead.  They settled down to a normal life, had two kids, and put their spying days behind them.  Well, mostly, with a few side projects to keep them busy.  But when a group of fellow agents go missing, they are back on the job, and have to make a quick getaway from their unsuspecting children in order to save the day.  Carmen & Juni soon discover that their uncool parents are really super sleuths, who unfortunately have already been captured and require rescuing.  So it’s the spy kids on the job, to do what the adults somehow always bungle.

That there are four of these movies is almost unbelievable.  That people watch them is somehow worse.  That Robert Rodriguez directed such crap is insulting to anyone who has watched any of his other fine films.  I dramatize for fun, but really, I strongly disliked this movie and can’t credit there being a following for the franchise.  The story is so ridiculous, like Death to Smoochy but without the cleverness or likability.  The acting is incredibly bad, with the terrible children topping the cake but by no means going it alone.  Banderas, Gugino, Teri Hatcher, Cheech Marin, Robert Patrick, Danny Trejo, George Clooney, Alan Cumming, Mike Judge, Richard Linkllater, Tony Shalhoub; seriously, what were these guys thinking?  I feel alone over here, but I’m so sad that I watched Spy Kids, and I won’t be trying out any of the sequels any time soon.

My rating: ☆