Movie Review: The Nice Guys

nice-guys-movie-poster-2016This weekend, I took some relaxation time, and the wife and I went to see a film. I’m a bit of a Shane Black fan, loving Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang, and lots of his other work (he basically write perfect neo-noir, and I love me all the types of noir).

So The Nice Guys was right up my alley. And boy. It was literally camping in my alley, wanting to hang out and be my best friend.

The plot is delightfully simple, yet convoluted in the right timing (I’ll get to that in a second), the acting is top notch, and the action is shaky cam free!

For me, thrillers or mysteries live or die by the timing of plot reveals. I’m a pretty sharp guy, and my wife can attest, that I figure out plots pretty quickly and are pretty accurate in my predictions.  The trick is not revealing too much too early, and that’s a hard craft for most movies. Which is ok. I’m a limited sub-set of an audience, and I don’t expect every movie to match me.

The Nice Guys nailed the timing issue of their reveals (as Shane Black often does), delivered a lot of delightfully dark humor around those reveals, but kept the plot simple enough that it didn’t feel preachy or in your face with its twists. It felt natural, and you felt swept along on the journey as these two very broken men face down crime-ridden 70s LA (which, by the way, felt absolutely perfect. The clothes, the music, the theme. It was everything I wanted to see about 70s LA).

It was perfect noir. Absolutely perfect.

Also, read this article if you need further convincing.


Film Review: Sin City 2

sin-city-2-joseph-gordon-levitt-posterSo, as anyone who knows me knows, I love film noir. That love extends to neo-noir film. I mean, crap, I even loved The Spirit. It’s hard to go wrong by me with noir.

Way to go, Rodriguez and Miller. Bunch of jerks figured out how to make me actively dislike a noir film.

The movie was visually stunning, as I expected. And I really liked the plot structure of the stories they told. The plot a, plot b, plot c, wrap up c, wrap up b, wrap up a, was an excellent and different narrative structure.

But. The dialogue felt cliche, forced and worn. It lacked the uniqueness and pop of the first one. The acting was forced and several of the characters were wooden and empty. The stories were generic and cliched and I really just found myself losing interest several times throughout the movie.

Frankly, I will buy it. Mostly to complete my noir collection of films, but I doubt I’ll ever watch it again. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.

Rating: 2/10

Film Review: Hercules

Last night, I went and saw Hercules. Hercules_(2014_film)

It was pretty good. I’m using pretty good loosely because if I’m being honest, I went in with little to no expectations. Generally speaking, I have a hard time with movies based around classic mythology because…let’s be honest…they’re usually really bad.

I was pleasantly surprised. This wasn’t Clash of the Titans where the Gods walk the mortal coil among their children. This wasn’t Troy where the Gods make a minimal character building experience. If it’s even a God in that film.

This was a movie where Hercules was a man or maybe more then a man. Certainly he was superhumanly strong. But Gods and magics and monsters weren’t the order of the day. This was a movie that showed you how legends and stories are based on kernels of truth.

Ian McShane completely stole the show as a cynical and sarcastic seer. The action sequences were good, and drove the plot forward. Seeing the Thracians fight in formation was fun, and the period clothing and armor (for the most part) was well delivered. Would I buy it? Probably not. Would I watch it again? Yeah. That I would. It was probably the best Greek mythology movie I’ve seen in recent history/memory.

Rating: 7/10