‘Fate of the Furious’ is a special brand of fuel ejected movie swagger

Unplug your brain, sit back, pop open a cold one, and just enjoy the mayhem.

Outrageous. Ridiculous. Far-fetched. Impossible. The Fast and the Furious franchise live mightily by the same descriptive words that would scare other producers, directors, and writers out of their minds if they were listed in their reviews. Here, it’s that special brand of fuel ejected swagger that separates their films from the pretenders.

Image result for fate of the furious

It’s their code of honor-when the spring rolls around, it’s time for fast cars, beautiful women, dialogue with macho-infused fuel running through its veins, big sweaty bald-headed action stars, and outlandish stunts to take over. The Fate of the Furious-the eighth entry in the franchise that never sleeps and shows zero signs of dying-is a highly entertaining and luxurious experience for action fans to rejoice with for two hours.

This time, the Furious six are divided when their leader, Dominic Toretto (franchise face, Vin Diesel), goes rogue due to a mysterious piece of leverage held over him by Cipher (Charlize Theron). She exploits the main weakness of our rogue anti-hero, and that is the invaluable existence of family. This forces him to run his foe turned friend Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) off the road after a successful heist in Berlin, and leave the rest of the crew dazed and confused. Continue reading “‘Fate of the Furious’ is a special brand of fuel ejected movie swagger”

Singer Delivers Another X-MEN Gem

Bryan Singer delivers another X-Men gem. My full review is here.

imageedit_9_7774423971Thank you Bryan Singer. After a rejuvenating and largely successful reboot from Matthew Vaughn with X-Men: First Class two years ago, Singer brings the entire universe of this Marvel juggernaut together in one of 2014’s most exciting and intelligent films. This is a playground where Spider Man and Godzilla just can’t play around in and that is action packed excitement with sharp storytelling and a strong fingerprint from the director. There are few directors that can make this tale of mutants living scared and desperate in the human world so compelling and the man at the top of the short list is Singer. Brett Ratner, you are not on the list because the last all together part, X-Men: Last Stand, felt less like a movie and more like a bad paint job over a large canvas. After a pair of fun if hollow feeling solo Wolverine missions, Singer brings the Hall of Fame ass kicker Hugh Jackman back into the middle of this time travel based story.

The film opens in the distant future where major cities are destroyed and a group of machines called the Sentinels are leading the destruction. We see a small group of wolverine-x-men-days-of-future-past-bone-clawsmutants hiding out in a tiny corner in Russia and their body count is dwindling. So, the wise Charles Xavier(Patrick Stewart, looking younger in each successive film) and Eric Lensherr(Ian McKellen) decide to send Jackman’s Logan/Wolverine back to 1973 to prevent a murder and that starts with the retrieval of the young Charles(a truly moving James McAvoy) and the young Eric(played effortlessly by Michael Fassbender). The key is preventing the radiant yet deadly and misguided Raven/Mystique(Jennifer Lawrence, sexy on fire at the moment) from doing something literally catastrophic. Hopefully, in doing so, the Sentinels program never gets off and the mutants aren’t wiped off the face of earth. That’s it folks. It’s just time travel. So much has been made over the last week about the confusing aspects of this story and it’s best for some to simply go with the flow.

Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg(who has penned every X-Men adventure) have crafted an intriguing world that places the mutants as the victims of an oppressive society and has them facing extinction. They combine that with the usual flair of action and special effect dazzle, but the key to these films being great is the heartfelt touch and intelligence Singer brings to the production. The man is a true genius.

The cast is excellent. Jackman gets into freakishly good shape every time he puts on the claws and his transformation and ability to inject true witty comedy into a tragic character is flawless again. Stewart and McKellen are old pros hanging with the kids here and they acquit themselves nicely. As many fans who see Stewart as a Star Trek legend, he will always be Professor X to this film addict. Fassbender doesn’t really act so much as he does effortlessly slip into a character’s skin. He is one of the best actors out there today because he doesn’t overplay anything and his work here is astounding.  Playing a younger man with a power to bend metal to his will while deciding how he uses that particular power, Fassbender is putting on a clinic.

Continue reading “Singer Delivers Another X-MEN Gem”

Arnold/Ayer Shoot ‘Em Up Fails

Welcome to the latest round of A Dose of Buffa At The Movies. Let me start things out with a new release in theaters, Sabotage.

Let me first say that I walked into this film with a certain level of expectations. David Ayer, the co-writer/director had just put out the amazing cop film End Of Watch and hit a personalhow-michael-jackson-got-me-vip-tickets-to-the-sabotage-premiere career high mark. When he sought out Arnold Schwarzenegger for this role in this deadly DEA agent corruption saga, I got a good vibe. This wasn’t going to be your typical Arnold action film. There was a chance it could be something more. Good cast and a fine looking trailer came around and the expectations were built. I wanted something special. What I got was a letdown and a film that relied too heavily on gory action and not enough on its story. Here is a more detailed reason why Sabotage isn’t worth your hard earned money in the theater.

PLOT-Arnold leads a DEA task force of mercenary like killers into this seize of a drug cartel’s cash and when 10 million goes missing, the team tries to seek out the mole responsible and begin getting killed off one at a time.

REVIEW-Sabotage isn’t a total mess but it is definitely a disappointing film from Ayer, who is white hot right now off the success of his gritty brilliant cop film End of Watch. Whether he likes it or not, the bar was raised for any film involving him, especially one with him behind the director’s chair again. This isn’t a blue balls bonanza where you get really high on the film before a monstrous letdown but the wheels do slowly come off in the second half of the film after the beginning is strongly built on intensity.

When I thought it could be something more the film turned out to be a brainless action film. The action scenes are tactical and realistic. In your face bloody and well executed. They are a true highlight of the film in the beginning until they become an exercise in overkill as the wrap up begins and the reveal of the source of the betrayal is made.

The film falls apart in the end due to a series of twists that just don’t add up. That’s too bad because the action sequences are shot with a visceral abandon and amp up the tension. Ayer takes a page from Michael Mann’s book here and allows every bullet fired and explosive set off to feel like its happening right next to us. Its a shame the story couldn’t pack the same punch.

When you do find out who the mastermind behind the corruption is, it’s a head shake and not amazement. Something seems tacked on in the end and it kills the whole film.  The story when viewed as a whole doesn’t sit well. Ayer and Skip Woods fumbled it. While they were impressive in their sales pitch, they seem to lose touch of it all as they tried to figure out a way to complete the plot. In the end, it was…wait for it…sabotage.

Continue reading “Arnold/Ayer Shoot ‘Em Up Fails”