The Magnificent Seven (2016)

Everyone knows a story that owes itself to an unexpected team up, from superhero team-upsĀ in comic books, to ‘The Avengers’ in film, to buddy cop movies and the like. All of them owe a thank you to ‘Seven Samurai’ and it’s Western genre remake, the original ‘The Magnificent Seven’.

In our current world of remakes, reboots and updates, it was only a matter of time that the original Western would be updated with current actors and retold, and that is where 2016’s ‘The Magnificent Seven’ comes to us. Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring the likes of frequent Fuqua collaborators Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke, along with current in form actors like Chris Pratt, the remake tries to recapture the magic of the original films from the 1960’s.

While endeavouring to develop a film that could do honour to the originals, 2016’s offering falls short of that goal, but not due to anything the film itself does, but just down to the fact that more is expected of films today and a sense that not all stories need to be retold. The film itself is perfectly fine, a nice mix of action and comedy, but is just missing something, an unidentifiable “it” that would have pushed it over the top.

The stars of the film are the two main leads, Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt. Washington brings his usual dramatic gravitas to the film, while Pratt is his equally important comedic foil. Rounding out the great performances from the cast is Haley Bennett as the widow who brings the cause that makes up the film to the main characters.

With the characters being changed and updated both to fit with actual representations of the era and to bring more diversity to the cast in our current day and age, Fuqua provided a great cast to base the story against, and with a quite fitting soundtrack and great wide ranging vistas to use, it is quite difficult to find exactly what the downfall is with ‘The Magnificent Seven’ other than to say that it falls into the trap that befalls most Westerns in this day and age: they just seem too dry.

All in all, 2016’s ‘The Magnificent Seven’ is a good film, just not great, but is definitely worth a viewing for anyone that is a fan of the Western genre in general or a fan of Denzel Washington specifically.

As always, for all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers for now.

Delivery Man

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Every so often, it is nice to sit down to watch what is more of an adult oriented comedy, and that is exactly what ‘Delivery Man’ was. Not a gross out comedy, not a toilet humour either, nor a romantic comedy, just a comedy with a story geared towards adults looking for some laughs.

‘Delivery Man’ is a US remake of a French-Canadian film by the title of ‘Starbuck’. Directed by the same director who did the original, Ken Scott, ‘Delivery Man’ has its ups and downs, mainly with focusing on Vince Vaughn as the lead. Telling a story of a man who, without his knowledge, had his donated sperm used to father 533, and as a result, is involved in legal proceedings when 142 of those children try to find out who their biological father is.

At his best, Vaughn has some great comedic timing, and that definitely showed throughout ‘Delivery Man’. The other side of that coin though is at times Vaughn does not carry the dramatic side necessary for the lead role in this film, which in the middle part of the film actually leads to a serious downturn in connectivity with the audience.

On the flip side, ‘Delivery Man’ features a fantastic, at-that-time, supporting turn from Chris Pratt. Released in 2013, this film struck before Pratt became a household name with roles in ‘The LEGO Movie’, ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Jurassic World’. Pratt is, as mentioned above, simply fantastic in this film and really shows off his comedic talents. The one downside is, as the film went on, there were times when I was hoping he would show up again, and it is unfortunate this film could not take more advantage of his talents.

At the end of the day, ‘Delivery Man’ is a slightly above average comedy that won me over via its main supporting character but lost points for a middle act that showed flaws in the choice of main actor.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer, and stop on by here for reviews of other films that you may be interested in. Cheers.

Jurassic World

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Hey everyone, it has been around a year since I reviewed a movie, and for that, I am truly sorry. Life caught up with me for a bit, with a newborn, new job and what not cutting into my opportunities to see films in a theater. Yes, in that time I have still seen films, just not as much as I had been and I found it extremely difficult to use my time in this manner.

That being said though, I thought that with the new release of ‘Jurassic World’ that it would be a perfect time to get my feet wet again. Yes, I find the irony of being a huge Marvel Studios fan and bypassing two of their biggest releases in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, but in thinking about that I discovered a major reason why I am back now when I am: ‘Jurassic Park’ was my ‘Star Wars’ and a return to the island has excited me to return.

When ‘Jurassic Park’ was released in 1993, I was finishing up grade eight, heading into my first year of high school. I was on the verge of turning fourteen and was really starting to get into movies. I had also just finished reading the book from Michael Crichton, and I had always been huge into dinosaurs as a kid, so this really was lightning in a bottle for me.

‘Jurassic Park’ is one of the earliest films that I remember seeing in the theater, has been a multi-platform buy over the years and I even splurged on seeing in 3D two years ago because, natch, dinosaurs. Not only that, but it also helped revolutionize the kind of films you could make. There would be no ‘Avengers’ no, ‘Lord of the Rings’ without JP, and we should all be thankful that it exists.

Moving on to why ‘Jurassic World’ now has the biggest opening weekend in North American history takes a few things into account. Firstly, we haven’t had a ‘Jurassic’ film in eleven years, since the ill-fated and not nearly loved as much as the rest ‘Jurassic Park III’. Secondly, the red-hot Chris Pratt has become a true leading man that can pull in audiences with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and this film truly benefits from having him attached to it. Finally, rampaging dinosaurs truly never go out of style.

While it may not have really stuck its landing with critics, evidenced by it’s current 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, general audiences have not cared, which has resulted in an insane $209 million opening weekend which tops 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ for biggest weekend of all time in North America.

In the end, ‘Jurassic World’ is right up there in quality with ‘Jurassic Park’ as far as I am concerned. Director Colin Trevorrow paid a great homage to Steven Spielberg while also standing on his own in crafting a film that had great pacing, great mayhem and amazing visuals and the humour was well crafted and well timed. Truly, this film brought out my inner child again and was a exactly what I needed on the day that I saw it.

Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, various other humans and some great dinosaur mayhem, ‘Jurassic World’ goes down as my movie to watch so far for 2015, and that’s saying a lot as we have gotten both ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ‘Furious 7’ and both of those were pretty damned awesome as well.