Archives for posts with tag: Michael Pena

I was really, really, really expecting “CHIPS” (2017) to suck, especially when I saw the same person (Dax Shepard) was directing, writing and co-starring (usually a bad sign). However, I was astonished at how fully formed it was. And funny. I mean, it’s overloaded with bro humor (facial-scrotal contact appears to be mandatory in all R-rated comedies these days) but that was to be expected. Still, the dialogue is great, even for secondary characters. Speaking of which, the secondary characters and extras are probably about as diverse a crew as I’ve ever seen in a movie without an ethnic/racial subtext.

Advertisements

Two thirds of the way through “Collateral Beauty” (2016) I was starting to wear down. The story, about a man (not) coping with his daughter’s death, was work. But I hung in there. This deep dive of a film let me up enough to see the surface, even if I couldn’t take a breath just yet. I thought I had the plot twist figured out. I was (almost) right. I didn’t go away happy, but at least I wasn’t sad. This kind of film is OK, once in a while. The cinematic world can’t be all superheroes and fart jokes.

“American Hustle” (2013) was rolling up on the two-hour mark. I was getting fidgety. Forty-eight-year-old derrieres can only sit for so long. There seemed to be no payoff. The characters were interesting, but the story was bleak. Con-man films work best when there’s someone to root for. The only person I liked was Jeremy Renner’s corrupt New Jersey mayor, and his role was fourth-billed. (Truthfully, I was also rooting for the wardrobe director, who reminded me of my horny 1979 teens with Amy Adams’ spectacularly low-cut blouses.) But then, wow. Not the best movie of 2013, but worth the wait.

To call “Battle: Los Angeles” (2011) formulaic would be an insult to Euler, Pythagorus, Heron and Col. Sanders. But what the hell do you want? It’s a war movie! You take the crack military unit loaded with stock characters, throw in some potential leadership tension, put them in a no-win situation, and (Gee whiz! Spoiler alert!) watch them not only survive, but win the war singlehandedly. The only difference in any of these movies since 1940 has been the location. This time Marines are battling an invasion of Santa Monica. Maybe that’s why all the critics got so pissed off.