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>> Friday, April 23, 2010

A-Team who...?

The Losers is a movie about people who are not actually losers (well maybe a bit, but not in the traditional sense). No, they are a group of ex-military folk who literally lose the battle they playing between the good (them) and the evil (a guy named Max [Jason Patric]).

The not-yet losers are sent to destroy a village of bad guys of some sort, when they realize these guys have a group of twenty or so kids as hostages. This noble group of soldiers consists of Clay (played by Javiar Bardem look-a-like Jeffrey Dean Morgan), Jensen (upcoming Captain America’s Chris Evans), Roque (Idris Elba), Pooch (Columbus Short) and Cougar (Oscar Jaenada). Once the group finds out there are children in the compound, they call off the pending air strike. The heartless, faceless Max then proceeds to come on the radio and explain this will not be an option. The team then heads into the camp anyways, successfully rescues the children and puts them onto a helicopter. The team stays behind because they are informed they can’t fit in the bird with all the kids. They celebrate the victory until the helicopter they were meant to be in explodes killing all souls inside of her and leaving the soldiers to fake their own death and disappear forever. Or do they?.....

A few years pass and we catch up with the team somewhere south of the equator where an opportunity arises courtesy of Aisha (Avatar’s Zoe Saldana). She knows where to find Max and gives the in-hiding soldiers a chance to get their sweet, sweet revenge. And of course, what kind of movie would it be if they didn’t take the opportunity?

The Losers is the comic book world’s angle on the A-Team, which the movie version of is being released in June. It may have been thrown together relatively quickly, and is certainly set up to be a competing series and money maker, but it’s actually not too bad. As expected Chris Evans provides a lot of the funny lines and actions in the movie, including the infamous trailer scene where he shoots three guards with his finger-gun (it’s actually his soldier buddy with a sniper rifle). The scene is expected but still delivers laughs. The acting in this film is fine, and there is certainly no problem with the action. It’s some of the best real-life action since Casino Royale or the Bourne movies. The movie overall is like those movies, mixed with Tropic Thunder and Ocean’s Eleven (2001). So you can see where the fun in it kind of comes from here.

The problem with this movie is the lack of originality. You watch this movie and feel like you’ve seen if before. It’s not ‘bad familiar’, but it’s not ‘good original’ either. But what can you really expect from the director of I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer? Amongst all the movies out and coming out it’s most likely to get lost. If a sequel was planned or is coming, it will probably be released in the slower winter season, and a couple of the characters may be replaced by different actors, or written out entirely due to this films inevitable lacklustre performance.

Overall, The Losers is a fun movie, and it’s too bad it won’t be seen by more people. Part of it is poor timing for its release, and part of it is the unoriginality and lack of prior fan base. I am giving this movie a slight open door, but maybe see it at a discount theatre or on DVD, where it may pick up some steam by that point. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the Wal-Mart $5 DVD bin by next summer, either.

*Stills courtesy of DC Entertainment



>> Friday, April 16, 2010

Steve Carell and Tina Fey play the Fosters in Date Night, a movie I am calling the funniest comedy of the year. That’s a bold statement to make you say? Is it though?...

The Fosters head out one evening for their weekly, predictable date night. Normally they are found at their friendly neighbourhood eatery, chowing down on potato skins while making fun and doing impressions of other couples who are out and about. However, both Claire and Phil are terribly bored by this regiment and attempt to do something different. They head into the city to the newest, hottest restaurant and ask for a seat. After the maitre d’ scoffs at their request for not booking a seat sometime in the 1970’s, the Fosters take a reservation from a pair of mysterious no shows called the Triplehorns.

A beat or two later we (the viewer) and the Fosters find this to be a bad idea as they no sooner are ridiculed for taking someone’s reservation before having guns shoved in their faces. They soon find themselves on the run from another pair of bad guys who don’t know how to aim at a running target or can’t seem to keep people in their grasp. The best part about this usually-terrible movie cliché? Somehow we believe it! Whether it’s the fact we absolutely adore the two most talented actors on TV, or whether it’s the fact the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, you soon find yourself rooting for the Fosters and laughing almost uncontrollably.

There is a lot to be said about a PG-13 comedy that keeps the laughs going without resorting to toilet humour or having every funny part being shown in the trailer. Although a lot of the dialogue is definitely written by two quirky comedians, real truths are revealed in the film that no matter what type of situation a person is in, most would honestly be thinking about as they are being chased around Manhattan with a gun. Exempli gratia, climbing up a fire escape to break into an apartment, Tina Fey’s character notes to her husband that he should remember – everything he is doing, she is doing in heals. Random - but funny because it’s true.

Mark Wahlberg, Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, Kristin Wiig and Mila Kunis also appear randomly throughout this film, and are there to serve a purpose, but definitely don’t overstay their welcome. The thing that concerned me walking into Date Night, was that Tina Fey and Steve Carell would constantly be vying for center stage. Either that or one or the other might accidentally upstage the other, as both are stars and can carry their own. It does not happen. In fact, they play well enough off of each other one could only hope to see them paired up again soon in something else. Their chemistry is divine.

The door is open for date night, not only because it’s a funny and witty comedy that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but because it’s well written and it’s a movie that proves that clean comedy still exists. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy swears and gore as much as the next person if it applies to a film, but too many comedies rely on cheap laughs nowadays that’s it’s nice to see something that’s worth your $10.

*Stills courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation



>> Friday, April 9, 2010


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