Tag: dwayne johnson

Central Intelligence

by on Apr.02, 2017, under Movie Reviews

central intelligenceI had a really good streak of some pretty amazing films to review lately, I’m afraid the streak has ended as I’ve hit a number of “meh” films, Central Intelligence being one of those experiences. While the comedy has its moments, the awkwardness of the film’s humor and some of the actor’s deliveries got a bit in the way of the funny.

The story centers around Calvin Joyner (Kevin Hart) an accountant who, taking stock of his life as his class reunion approaches, realizes he didn’t turn out to be the most-successful-whatever he was supposed to be according to everyone that loved him in high school. Enter the most awkward kid in school Robbie Weirdicht (get it?) who worships Calvin ever since he came to his aid during an embarrassing event as a victim of some bullies. Only now, he’s Bob Stone, CIA agent, luring Calvin into helping him crack a case of international intrigue and danger. Yep, that’s the script, really. The way it ends is equally cliche’ and even less believable.

Granted, films like this aren’t here to crack new cinematic ground, they’re just here for fun, which is what you’ll generally get here in a very predictable package. I’ll give the film props for trying to add some ingenuity through the Bob Stone character but that’s also where it goes off the rails. Bob Stone is supposed to be the weird angle to Calvin Joyner’s straight line in terms of character dynamics. And he is weird but not in a good way, he comes off a little off kilter and creepy sometimes when I’m not so sure he’s supposed to be like that. Part of my confusion stems from the delivery of Dwayne Johnson who as Stone is trying to get over his childhood traumas while also performing the duties of super spy CIA operative. Strangely, he’s savant-like in that he can orchestrate kicking the ass of numerous guys at one time (while wearing a unicorn shirt) but then revert to being the fat kid when confronted by his nemesis from 12th grade.

Johnson’s portrayal seems forced at times in terms of trying to generate a socially awkward character (which is the opposite of his wrestling persona “The Rock”). While Johnson might be one of the highest paid actors out there at the moment, he still could use some acting lessons. Kevin Hart is Kevin Hart so you know what to expect. The rest of the lineup is fine but it’s all pretty standard delivery. The lineup includes Amy Ryan, Danielle Nicolet, Jason Bateman, and Aaron Paul.

If you have some time to kill and want some filler, then, well, meh…

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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San Andreas

by on Mar.06, 2016, under Movie Reviews

San AndreasI had a term pop into my head to describe a movie like this. Go with me on this one; if The Expendables is gun porn, and a film like Hostel is torture porn, than movies like San Andreas should be considered either effects porn or disaster porn. As far as which is the better term, I’ll leave that for the cultural zeitgeist to decide…

So, genre being established, the film itself is the typical disaster film Hollywood feels compelled to regurgitate out into the public now and again. In brief, it’s a popcorn flick with a terrible story and a huge effects budget. The story isn’t really worth going into but suffice it to say it’s the typical paint-by-numbers formula that typically gets injected into a film like this. This is one of the biggest things that pisses me off, they have an opportunity to reinvigorate the genre and do something original but instead they just churn out the same assembly line kind of film they usually produce.

The good thing about the film is the effects but even they get a little tired after you’ve seen the same kind of destruction throughout the majority of screen time. They mix a tsunami in there too but the funny thing is, given that the quake originated from the San Andreas fault, the tsunami would be going away from our west coast, not towards it. That thought was distracting when I had it. Most of the effects are pretty grandiose and look great although there are times it crosses into the CG looking obvious once in a while. As far as effects go, I’d give a B.

The acting is pretty standard, nothing really challenging here. They’re scared, they’re upset, they’re tense, and repeat. Dwayne Johnson plays the lead as a rescue operations expert, Carla Gugino portrays his ex-wife and both are fine but nothing out of the ordinary in performance terms. Alexandra Daddario is their daughter Blake, who the filmmakers continually find ways of stripping off layers of clothing until they actually just dunk her in water to make her clothing wet and clingy. There’s one point where her love interest actually just blatantly stares at her chest, it’s like he couldn’t help but just stare. The best actor in the lineup is Paul Giamatti as the concerned earthquake expert, but even he can’t save this one from falling apart.

It’s formulaic and will possibly lower your IQ, but if you like effects or disaster, that might be enough.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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Pain & Gain

by on Aug.17, 2014, under Movie Reviews

Pain & Gain is a surprising movie. For starters, based on the poster and the name, it’s probably a bit misleading with regard to what you might think the film is actually about. The movie is about the true story of Daniel Lugo (played by Mark Wahlberg), a bodybuilder from Miami that wants it all. The big mansions, the millions of dollars, endless women, all of it. Trouble is, he doesn’t think he should have to work to get it; he thinks he just deserves it so much, that it’s ok to take it from someone else. So, he hatches a scheme to do just that.

Directed by Michael Bay (I know, I know, this would often be a red flag but Bay’s style really lends itself well for the presentation of the movie), the film has a slick look with big sky angles, stylish editing, eye catching graphics and beautiful colors to accent the Miami landscape. Bay does a great job putting this one together from a strong script that doesn’t seem to have too many plot holes or easy cheats that you’ll often find in the storyline of some of his other films. The dialog fits each of the characters well as they tell this compelling story of the ultimate identity theft caper that goes wildly off the rails.

The talent is tight with Wahlberg turning in a great performance as the lead, he seemed to be a very natural fit for this part and beefed himself up quite a bit to prep for the role of the ‘roid-addled weightlifter. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Anthony Mackie play Wahlberg’s lackeys and do so with a convincing delivery of stupidity without either coming off cartoonish. Tony Shalhoub plays the victim who later returns for justice and is great to watch as usual. Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, Bar Paly, Rebel Wilson and Larry Hankin also contribute their talents.

While it isn’t the action movie you may be thinking it could be, Pain & Gain is an entertaining film with an interesting storyline, great visual delivery and a strong cast. I would suggest checking this one out.

reviewed by Sean McKnight

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The Other Guys

by on May.27, 2011, under Movie Reviews

The Other Guys pairs up Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg as mis-matched partners in a police unit dominated by supercops Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne

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