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Gangster Squad fails as a “film”, but it can succeed as a movie if you have the right attitude going in… sadly, you’ll mostly get negativity here.
I’m going to keep this rather simple and short, as a negative review need not layer on too much emphasis on the awfulness that is Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad. We’ll start with the fact that I’m not entirely certain that this was directed by just one person, because at times the movie seems to jump from genre to genre, if not from style to style. It is a film that falls short on so many very levels, not the least of which is an utter failure of the production team and the director to present a coherent vision.
Which is not to say that there isn’t one redeeming characteristic of Gangster Squad, because there is: it is, in general, a pretty fun watch. What, say you? Yep, if you’re in the right mindset and can overcome the shortcomings of the whole, you’ll generally enjoy the movie. You’re not going to ever be on the edge of your seat (as you would with Argo, my runaway favorite movie of 2012) and you won’t ever connect with any of the characters (as with In the Bedroom, the 2001 drama which perfected that element), but if you go in to it with the expectation of the violence and historical accuracy of 300 and the seriousness of Leslie Nielson’s Police Squad / The Naked Gun series series, you stand a pretty good chance of enjoying it.
To the extent that I ever get some time to do so, I do intend to write up reviews of a variety of recent things I’ve read and watched. Chief among them are the Game of Thrones books and the HBO series adaptation, which I find to be the best new thing on television in at least a couple of years. HBO just released their new trailer for the second season.
Unfortunately, Captain America was not as bad-ass as this Private Ryan meets Steve Rogers poster portended.
So I broke my normal rule and went and saw a highly anticipated movie on its opening weekend (or at least I think it opened this past weekend). After a full day of playing basketball and sweltering at a Yankees game, I headed out trying to get hydrated and air conditioned at a jam packed theater for Captain America.
I had pretty high hopes for Captain America. It is one of the follow-ons to one of the better superhero adaptations, in Iron Man. Indeed, in some ways this serves as a prequel to Iron Man, with Tony Stark’s father playing a prominent role and edging further toward the awaited Avengers series of films.
Captain America also featured some pretty solid casting. If you thought of one actor who could best serve as an action star and embodiment of what Hollywood would imagine as the truly American look, you’d probably end up with Chris Evans. Toss in Tommy Lee Jones as his grumpy commanding officer and Hugo Weaving (of Matrix Agent Smith fame) as your bad guy and you’ve got a start for some good scenes. Brits Dominic Cooper (as Howard Stark) and Haylee Atwell (as Agent Peggy Carter) rounded out the principal roster.
I’m a bit torn on whether or not I should be looking forward to “Falling Skies” on TNT. I got all jazzed up to relive one of my favorite childhood series in “V” on ABC, which series has been a damning failure in its efforts to recapture that cult series’ feel — even after bringing back the actress who played Diana and the Beastmaster himself, Marc Singer. Then again, “Battlestar Galactica” far exceeded everyone’s expectations with, perhaps, the most intelligent show not named “The Wire” to air in the last decade (sorry my fellow “LOST” comrades, BSG actually was better).
In any respect, “Falling Skies” seems to be a second effort at getting “V” right. Perhaps inspired by Stephen Hawking and his statements regarding the wisdom of attempting to contact alien species (which statements were made on the good, but not great “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking” documentary series on Discovery Channel), Executive Producer Steven Spielberg adds his considerable heft to this project, making one think that it will at least have a higher production quality than the sometimes lacking ABC venture. The basic premise appears to be jumping from a quick invasion to the development of a resistance, several months after the alien invaders have shock-and-awed the world into relative submission.
It also marks Spielberg’s second Executive Producer jaunt into the alien-horror landscape in 2011. He’s also teamed up with JJ Abrams (of Cloverfield and Star Trek) for Super 8, an unrelated follow-up to Cloverfield. The movie is largely under wraps, but I believe it is shot, like Cloverfield or The Blair Witch Project as a “found footage” movie, involving the escape of an alien being transported through the heartland on a train that derails in rural Ohio.
Click through for the trailers to both. Read more…
This movie looks like the perfect mix of Michael Bey and entertainment gritty enough that you don’t wish you could watch Michael Bey get… well… Bey-ed. It has a very District 9 look to it, which is cool.
In the world of “I Cannot Fracking Wait” debuts, AMC’s The Walking Dead, based on the graphic novel series by Robert Kirkman is pretty much atop my TV list… at least since the premiere of ABC’s V. Well AMC just debuted a four and a half minute trailer for the series and announced it’s start date: 10 PM on Halloween night, this October. Can… not… wait….
They played Official Trailer #2 for Tron Legacy at the Inception IMAX showing last weekend. It got me even more jazzed than the first; also, any movie with Olivia Wilde is gonna be worth seeing in IMAX.
Over at GeekTyrant, they’ve posted a player for six tracks by Daft Punk for the upcoming Tron Legacy soundtrack. I’ve embedded the tune from the first trailer. It’s got a great vibe to it. Along with the Sunshine soundtrack, I do believe I’ll be buying that one.
The new David Simon (The Corner, The Wire) series on HBO is getting ready to kick off on Sunday night, April 11th. They’ve just released the extended trailer and I could not (pardon the expression) be more jazzed about it.
Matt Damon and the team from the Bourne trilogy are joining up again for Green Zone, a thriller set in immediately post-invasion Iraq. It promises great action and intrigue.
Meanwhile, in the world of comic-book blockbusters, Robert Downey Jr. will be reprising Tony Stark for Iron Man 2. This one ain’t gonna be high art, but it should be balls-to-the-wall good in a Michael Bay style of filmmaking.
I bought some IMAX stock last month because I do think Avatar (which I reviewed here) has brought us forever into the era of the 3D blockbuster. I don’t think this will be something that fizzes out over time, though I’m hardly going to go rushing to buy a 3D-TV for my apartment. I think that IMAX likely will stake out its claim to super-high def 3D entertainment and that Hollywood will continue its current trend of producing blockbusters in both 2D and 3D.
Two of the more intriguing products coming out are the reboot of 1981 Harry Hamlin vehicle Clash of the Titans and the sequel vehicle starring newly minted Academy Award Best Actor Jeff Bridges, Tron Legacy. I admit a personal bias toward the Greek mythology bastardized by Hollywood, but I’m really pretty jazzed about seeing CGI neon in 3D. Both [should / could] be awesome.
I’ve linked their HD trailers, after the jump: Read more…