Pain & Gain

paingainMichael Bay is well known for big budget films filled with larger than life concepts and giant explosions, but with his newest release ‘Pain & Gain’, Bay strives for something different to entertain audiences.

Featuring Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as muscle-bound criminals, ‘Pain & Gain’ is a stark departure for both actors and Bay, all three of whom who forwent salaries on the film to help keep the budget of the film down.  The final budget of the film came in around $25 million, which is the lowest cost of a film that Bay has filmed since 1995’s ‘Bad Boys’.

As a result of this lowered budget, this film is not an explosion filled CGI fest, but rather more of a crime based comedy, but despite this it was actually a bit of a unique film.  The problem with ‘Pain & Gain’ though is that no one really stands out in the film.  Wahlberg was clearly setup to be the lead, but when you are unable to relate to the lead of the film, it definitely leaves you with a feeling of lacking.

Dwayne Johnson really does his best to try and steal the film in the scenes that he is in, but I don’t feel like Bay is the best director to bring out the best in The Rock.  As a result of this, Johnson’s character just doesn’t come across the best way possible.

I enjoyed ‘Pain & Gain’ for what it was, yet I found it to be twenty to thirty minutes longer than it needed to be and that really hurt the film in the end.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

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Oblivion

oblivionIt was a couple of days later than when I normally see a new release film that I am excited about, but I finally got around to seeing ‘Oblivion’ on Tuesday night, and as the first of the big-budget forays into the Sci-Fi genre this year, it more than fulfilled what I was hoping for from the film.

‘Oblivion’ is Tom Cruise’s third foray into the Sci-Fi genre, along with ‘Minority Report’ and ‘War of the Worlds’, and tells et another fun story with enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat for the full two hour running time.

The one things that I really did notice with ‘Oblivion’, and I was not sure that I would, was just how much the style of the director, Joseph Kosinski had on the film.  ‘Oblivion’ is Kosinski’s sophomore effort following up on 2010’s ‘Tron: Legacy’, and there are some very similar aspects between the two films, something that pleasantly surprised me.

Sci-Fi films that are a thinking mans’s thriller, where you try to out-guess the film much like I did last evening, but have enough surprises to keep you on your toes are few and far between and when they do come along, they are a welcome change of pace.

I don’t want to go into much more detail about ‘Oblivion’ than I already have as I don’t want to ruin it for anyone, but I will say that Tom Cruise is at his best in this film and is a joy to watch as an action star still, and that ‘Oblivion’ is definitely worth a watch, and to get the full benefit of the ruined atmosphere of the film, catch it while it is in the theatre.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

42

42Jackie Robinson Day is today, April 15th, and this year the day carries a special importance as it comes on the Monday following the release of ’42’, a biopic outlining Jackie Robinson’s climb to Major League Baseball and his rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers as he broke baseball’s colour barrier.

With that in mind, I had the genuine pleasure to take in ’42’ last evening, and as a fan of baseball, a person that loves history, and an open-minded guy, I can legitimately say that I really enjoyed this film on multiple levels.

The film does a great job of explaining the situation in the outside world, as the events came after the end of World War II, in a time where African-Americans had fought in the war to help free Europe and the Pacific but were still highly separated throughout much of the United States of America, including playing baseball in their own league, the Negro National League.

What many tend to forget was that the breaking of the colour barrier in baseball in 1947 was a huge step in the Civil Rights movement in the United States, and Jackie Robinson bore the brunt of the initial vitriol of that movement when he first reported to training camp with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Montreal Royals in early 1946, then once again when he made the Dodgers in April of 1947.

’42’ portrays these events in a manner that draws in viewers completely.  The film did a great job of making you root for Robinson in particular, and the Dodgers in general, as they compete during the 1947 season for the bulk of the film.

Chadwick Boseman brings Robinson to life in ’42’ and is a star in the making as a result of this role.  Additionally, Harrison Ford is wonderful as Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, the man responsible for bringing Robinson to the Major Leagues.

Films like this do not come around all that often anymore, and the combination of sports, history and civil rights results in a film that is a must see for anyone that has an interest in any of those three categories.  I fully recommend ’42’ as my favourite film of 2013 so far.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

Jurassic Park 3D

jp3dLast evening I had the pleasure of seeing the original ‘Jurassic Park’ on the big screen again for the first time in nearly twenty years, and like many Steven Spielberg films, it is just as great as it ever was.

Before diving into anything else, I would like to remind everyone that last summer I did a series where I ranked what were my top-five favourite trilogies of all time, and the ‘Jurassic Park’ trilogy was number four on that list, based almost solely on the sheer brilliance of the original.  You can read about that article here: https://mayeronmovies.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/top-five-trilogies-4-jurassic-park/

When the ‘Jurassic Park’ first arrived to theatres all the way back in June of 1993, I was a starry-eyed thirteen year old that was in the process of reading the novel by Michael Chrichton that it was based on, just exiting the young love that a male generally has for the extinct dinosaur, so this was a well timed movie for me in my adolescence.

Fast forward twenty years to right now, and my love of ‘Jurassic Park’ has not lessened at all.  I still have the same paperback version that I had twenty years ago, and with the Blu-ray release of the entire trilogy in late 2011, I have been able to share my love of this film with both of my sons, at times much to my chagrin, as it has become a standby film for them to watch anytime that they can.

To the actual film and its 3D re-release, it looked just as beautiful and stunning as it did twenty years ago.  The 3D conversion is actually one of the best I have seen so far, and you can tell it was done as much more than just a cash grab, which is nice to see happen.

I hate to say it, but the best 3D out there always seems to be the 3D that you don’t notice, and that really does accurately describe the kind of 3D we got from ‘Jurassic Park’.  This wasn’t jump out at you 3D, but give the film some depth and layers 3D.  Now, that being said, I still really wish that ‘Jurassic Park’ was playing locally in 2D as well so that I could take my two boys to see it, and as a result of this, I keep hoping that we will eventually see the end of 3D re-releases, but as I seem to keep giving them money all the time, it does seem kind of counter-productive.

I definitely recommend for anyone that is a fan of the ‘Jurassic Park’ franchise that is able to watch a 3D movie to take advantage of the opportunity to go see the film on the big screen again, it will absolutely be well worth the trip.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

gijoeThis has been a hard article to write, mainly because ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’ is so far removed from being a sequel while still being a sequel that it was hard to wrap my head around it.

2009’s ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ was silly but entertaining, and managed to incorporate a more worldwide feel into what is mainly perceived as an American toy product, but ‘Retaliation’ did away with much of the international feel of the first film and focused more on the American aspects of the toy line, and I feel that was much to the detriment of the final product.

I can honestly say that I really enjoyed ‘Rise of Cobra’.  It was over-the-top, it was fun, it was exactly what I expected from a movie based on a toy.  I can’t say the same about ‘Retaliation’.  While it has some nice action scenes, led by the Ninja fight on the side of a mountain, it really flounders almost everywhere else.

Many actors are wasted in this movie, from Channing Tatum in his returning role of Duke, to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Roadblock, to Bruce Willis as General Joe Colton, the original G.I. Joe.

As a direct sequel, ‘Retaliation’ really falters, but as a spin-off it could have been successful, and they could have done more with the movie in that manner.  Sadly, there is a lot left on the table in this film, and should be even more derided by critics and fans than the original was.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.