BARE BONES: WARCRAFT and WHIP IT

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WARCRAFT (2016)

Video game based flick tells the tale of the world of Azeroth, which has been invaded by Orcs from the dying world of Draenor. As the Orcs prepare to open up a portal using the life-force of Azeroth’s citizens and bring in their massive army, an unlikely group of heroes, including a noble Orc chieftain, band together to stop them and save the land.

Co-written, with Charles Leavitt and directed by Moon director Duncan Jones, this is an insufferably boring fantasy adventure. It’s not quite a mess, but seems like a bunch of random action vignettes strung together over the course of it’s 2 hours without much of it actually effecting the already thin plot. The cast is also rather bland with live actors, like Travis Fimmel, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper and Paula Patton teaming up with CGI creations voiced by other actors. And as for poor Paula Patton, she looked embarrassed and uncomfortable the entire time in her green make-up and lower jaw fangs as a half-breed Orc. The production is lavish and the flick is very FX heavy, yet lacks intensity, substance and most of all, heart. It’s a very cold and dull fantasy that never at any moment is the least bit involving, despite the abundant action and frequent scenes of magic and monsters. And worst of all, you sit through two hours of this mundane sword and sorcery epic for an open ending that resolves little. A waste of two hours unless you are a fan of the game and absolutely must see it.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 star rating

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WHIP IT (2009)

Drew Barrymore scores in her directorial debut with a funny, sweet and fiesty little movie about Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page), a young woman finding herself and what makes her happy, when she joins a roller derby team. Now all she has to do is keep her straight-laced, beauty pageant obsessed mom (Marcia Gay Harden) from finding out before the ‘Hurl Scouts’ reach the finals!

Sure it’s a bit slow paced and the rollerderby scenes could have had more energy, but for a first flick, Barrymore entertains without being preachy and gets good performances from all her cast, so we’ll let her slide. She also succeeds in presenting the clichéd aspects of the story in a fresh way and earns points there too. An entertaining and fun little indie flick with it’s heart definitely in the right sassy place. Whip It is based on the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross, who also wrote the screenplay and c0-stars Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Juliette Lewis, Jimmy Fallon and Green Room’s Alia Shawkat.

-MonsterZero NJ

three and one half stars rating

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BARE BONES: LONE SURVIVOR and SABOTAGE

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LONE SURVIVOR (2013)

Writer /director Peter Berg hits all the marks with this incredibly intense and moving action/drama based on true events in Afghanistan. The film’s story sends a four man SEAL team (Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsh and Ben Foster) behind enemy lines to track a Taliban leader for capture. When an unfortunate encounter with a local family alerts the enemy to their presence, the four SEALS must now fight for their very lives, surrounded and outgunned. Berg delivers drama and action that is equally riveting and even manages to slip in a message that not all perceived ‘enemies’ are bad people. An incredibly well-made, well-acted and nail-bitingly intense thriller that also contains a nice homage and tribute to the real men from the actual mission it honors/portrays. Also stars Eric Bana and is based on a book by author Patrick Robinson and ex-Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell who is the real life soldier Mark Wahlberg’s character is based on and was on the mission the story is taken from. Highly recommended!

three and one half stars rating

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SABOTAGE (2014)

Arnie’s newest film is sadly a crude, vulgar and worst of all dull crime thriller that fails on pretty much every level except for a few intense action scenes. The blood-soaked story has Schwarzenegger playing John ‘Breacher’ Wharton, who is head of an undercover DEA unit accused of stealing $10 Million in drug money during a raid. But, now his team are being offed in gruesome fashion and Breacher and FBI investigator Caroline Brentwood (Olivia Williams) must find out if it’s cartel revenge or something else. Director and co-writer (with Skip Woods) David Ayer tries way too hard to make this a gritty, hard nose thriller and thus turns it into a gory, foul-mouthed mess that can’t decide if it’s a cop thriller or slasher movie. The acting is terrible on most fronts, the characters are borderline comic book level and the plot edges close to being a train wreck. I understand Arnold wanting to play a character that wasn’t necessarily a clean cut good guy for once and I liked that aspect of it but, it’s such a bad movie in terms of the script and the ‘trying too hard to be hip’ direction that it sinks the Austrian Oak’s attempt to do something new. Also stars Sam Worthington and current ‘man-babe’ Joe Manganiello. Terrible.

2 star rating

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