Friday, March 28, 2014
Thursday, March 20, 2014
That's what I mean by too long or too short. The film gives the impression that it should be a two or three film showcase of the various stages of Nelson Mandela's life. We should have a film showcasing the events that led to his imprisonment, we should have a prison film, and we should have a film of his presidency. Instead, we have a film that tries to cram it all in to 2 ½ hours. And the result of this CliffsNotes version of his life is that there isn't enough time to linger on moments of great drama or emotion.
Despite strong performances by Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, Mandela feels extremely hollow and it's all too often somewhat dull. The film is a huge missed opportunity. It fails mightily to show us the importance of Nelson Mandela and his life. And because of this film, it will be a very long time before anyone makes another attempt at this material. Unless you feel a really strong desire to see this movie, I'd say pass on it. You can read the Nelson Mandela Wikipedia page in less time and learn much more.
5 out of 10
Thursday, March 13, 2014
Is that clear? No? Ok. Then let's discuss this in the context of movies in general. When viewed that way, it's just alright.
Homefront is the story of former undercover agent (DEA I think, but his papers say Interpol) Phil Broker, who is part of a drug bust that results in the death of the drug lord's son. He leaves the force and settles down to a quiet life in Louisiana with his daughter. His daughter, who is struggling with the death of her mother, gets in a fight with a boy at school who bullies her. Because her dad has taught her how to fight, she beats the hell out of the bully. The boy's mother vows vengeance for the wrong done to her family. She asks her brother Gator, a local meth dealer, to take care of it. Gator calls in the biker cronies of the man whose son's death he holds against Broker. Needless to say, the bad guys get totally Statham-ed.
Despite several fun action scenes, Homefront is mostly pretty dull. Statham is effortlessly cool, but the even he can't carry the whole movie. Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth aren't given much to do (Bosworth really tries though). Izabela Vidovic manages to not be a obnoxious child despite being in the film just to provide stakes to the final showdown.
The oddest casting choice, however, is that of James Franco as Gator. The villain of a Jason Statham film needs to pose a real threat. It can even be an intellectual threat (Jason Statham characters are always super clever and endlessly resourceful). Franco's Gator is neither physically or mentally a challenge for Statham. Most of my desire to see Homefront was fueled by my curiosity to see how a Statham/Franco showdown would go down. SPOILERS!! Gator kidnaps Broker's daughter and Broker catches him and beats easily beats him almost to death.
During the opening credits are the words "Screenplay by Sylvester Stallone." That's right, Academy Award nominated screenwriter Sylvester Stallone! I knew that I was going to be sitting through a few good action scenes and a lot of dramatic shorthand. Instead of developing the lead character, he is just given a dead wife and a kid. There's plenty of weird sappy nonsense in the movie too that is a trademark of Stallone scripts. Homefront feels like a movie that Stallone wrote for himself, but he's now too old to believably be raising a 10 year old.
Unless you're one a die-hard Statham-ite like I am, I wouldn't recommend.it. If you are a fan, check it out. It's got enough fights and Statham charm to make it worth your while. It'll at least hold you over until The Expendables 3 this summer.
P.S. Charles Bronson is way more awesome than Jason Statham. For proof, click here.
5.5 out of 10