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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Cindy Prascik's Review of The Expendables 3


Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to the pictures for something that gets me as excited as landing on The Nice List come Christmas Eve: a new Expendables movie.

Spoiler level here will be mild-ish, mostly nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.

Barney adds some fresh faces to his team, in hopes of bringing down an old foe.

Reader(s), let's just get this out of the way: I think the Expendables franchise is the most awesomely awesome awesome in the history of awesome. I didn't love the second installment *quite* as well as the first--it felt a lot like throwing more names at the screen just to see what stuck--and trailers led me to fear the new one might be more of the same. While part three definitely does offer an expanded array of ass-kickers, I am happy to declare it the best of the franchise (so far).

Expendables 3 is non-stop action, spelled with brief bits of Feelings and quick frames of Other Things That Make Badasses Cool, such as riding motorcycles and doing shots. The Expendables get that the action is probably why you came, though, and they see to it you get your money's worth.
Daring vehicular stunts, massive weapons, and nicely-choreographed hand-to-hand combat occupy most of the screen time. As always, the cast is a who's who of action stars: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, and Jet Li. Throw in Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammer, Antonio Banderas, and Harrison Ford for good measure, and you've got yourself quite the crew.

The pitfall of a cast this size is that there's never quite enough of THAT ONE GUY you want to see more of (in my case, Statham, always), but the silver lining is that Harrison Ford is...well...Harrison Ford, and Banderas, in top comic form, completely steals the show. The young'uns are the most forgettable batch of low-watt never-will-bes this side of a Twilight movie--and I certainly could have done without the addition of a female Expendable--but the big guns thankfully have enough star power to go around. Though there was quite a fuss about keeping this installment tame enough for a PG13 rating (as opposed to the Rs earned by the first two Expendables flicks), the film doesn't suffer for it. Quite honestly, I can't imagine a more fun time at the movies.

The Expendables 3 clocks in at 126 minutes and is rated PG13 for "violence including intense sustained gun battles and fight scenes, and for language."

Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Expendables 3 gets eight. Oh, and Sly, dahhhling, you don't have to be 30 years younger to come knockin' on MY door.

Until next time..

 Shut up and take my money!


Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill... or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables -- but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables' most personal battle yet. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

Director: Patrick Hughes

Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Antonio Banderas, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Wesley Snipes

Release Date: Aug 15, 2014

Rated: PG-13 for Language, Intense Sustained Gun Battles, Fight Scenes and Violence 

Runtime: 2 hr. 7 min. 

Genres: Action/Adventure 


By this point in time you come to expect certain things from the Expendables movies.  The third entry starts off well with a rollicking, if a tad silly, action sequence that brings back Wesley Snipes to the screen.  Honestly, I didn’t know I missed Snipes that much but he perks up the first 20 minutes of the movie with an energetic charisma that’s hard to ignore.  After that sequence, the film turns into a bit of slog as we’re slowly introduced to new recruits, none of which have even the tiniest bit of screen charisma, with the characters we’ve come to know relegated to wait off screen.  The biggest sin isn’t that these characters are faceless and just there to serve the plot, it’s that during this extended sequence nothing happens.  There lots of exposition with Frasier popping up to throw some zingers at the plastic corpse that is Stallone but very little action or fun.  It’s honestly the films biggest drawback because the whole sequence could have been done in about 10 minutes so we could bring back the established fun characters or the other new additions like Antonio Banderas who’s hilarious as a motor mouth killer looking for a new team.  Once the final action sequence starts, you remember why your watching this film, lots over the top action with fun characters and crazy eyed Mel Gibson hamming it up as the villain of the piece.  That’s all I was really looking for in this franchise.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & The Hundred-Foot Journey

Dearest Blog, today it was off to the movies for one of the strangest double-bills ever, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the's face it, you weren't planning on seeing either of these anyway, were you?

First on my agenda was the newest screen incarnation of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Michelangelo, Donatello, Raphael, and Leonardo try to save New York from the evil Shredder.

Here's a true fact: I am wildly excited for every Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, and this one was no exception. First time those words have all been together in the same sentence? Possibly, but, despite the world of hate being rained down on it from all sides, I looked forward to TMNT, and I was not disappointed.

It's always fun to see such familiar and well-loved characters again, and I was pleased with how each turtle was represented here. The new look is okay, if not my favorite, and the martial arts moves are pretty cool in 3D. Will Arnett is entertaining, Megan Fox is smokin' hot, and no movie or TV show was ever worse for having the magnificent William Fichtner. Sure, the humor's juvenile, the story's done to death, and the effects are nothing to write home about, but, somehow, I still enjoyed this from beginning to end.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles runs 101 minutes and is rated PG13 for "sci-fi action/violence." If it's a terrible movie, that didn't keep me from having a great time with it.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles gets five. I'd honestly love to score it better, but at some point I have to acknowledge it's probably a bad movie, no matter how much I like it!

Next on the docket was The Hundred-Foot Journey.

Fireworks ensue when an Indian family moves to the French countryside and opens a restaurant across the street from a hoity-toity local establishment.

Whoa! Bickering restaurant owners...sounds like the most boring movie ever, huh? What's next, two dentists trying to lease the same office space? While The Hundred-Foot Journey is a little long, it's a cute story that's elevated by a solid and likable cast. Helen Mirren is, as always, brilliant in the lead, and Manish Dayal and Charlotte Le Bon are appropriately adorable as young chefs at the two restaurants tip-toeing around the possibility of romance. The story is serious when it needs to be and funny when it means to be.

There's enough cooking and eating going on in this movie that restaurants neighboring cinemas are probably seeing a nice uptick in business this weekend. There are also plenty lingering shots of the picturesque French countryside, if that's your thing, and a nice anti-racism message as a bonus.
The Hundred-Foot Journey clocks in at 122 minutes and is rated PG for "thematic elements, some violence, language, and brief sensuality." If the movie is predicable and a bit overly-sappy, that's not hard to forgive in such a genuine and sweet picture.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Hundred-Foot journey gets six.

Until next time...COWABUNGA!!!

 It's official: my mental age is five.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Paramount Pictures and Michael Bay present this reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise with Wrath of the Titans helmer Jonathan Liebesman directing. The sinister Shredder has seized control of New York City's police and politicians, leaving his ruthless Foot Clan to spread chaos in the streets. With no prospects for salvation in sight, mutant crime-fighters Raphael, Leonardo , Donatello, and Michaelangelo leap into action. They put up a fierce fight, too, though in order to truly defeat Shredder, the heroes in a half shell will need the help of courageous reporter April O'Neil Megan Fox and her quick witted cameraman Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) as well. With their help, Shredder's plan will quickly unravel, and this once-great city will rise again. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

Director: Jonathan Liebesman 

Cast: Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Johnny Knoxville, Jeremy Howard, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett

Release Date: Aug 08, 2014

Rated: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence 

Runtime: 1 hr. 41 min. 

Genres: Action/Adventure, Family, Sci-Fi/Fantasy 


Rebooting the Ninja Turtles and getting it back on the big screen has been a bit of a trek.  The Batred (Michael Bay produced) hit first by the rumors of them having their back story drastically changed by making them aliens, etc… That Jonathan Liebesman’s film isn’t a total train wreck is a small wonder in of itself.  In fact, it actually captures plenty of the original’s sense of fun along with each of the titular characters traits and attitude.  Liebesman does his best Michael Bay impression by directing some kinetic action sequences with the most impressive being a snow covered mountain chase.  He moves his film around rather quickly avoiding as many lingering moments as possible.  Unfortunately, the script is kind of clunky when dealing with non-turtle characters.  Leading the charge is a mostly wooden, strangely pillowed lipped, Megan Fox who delivers most of her lines with the conviction of a pizza box.  She’s window dressing at best and a distraction from the fun for the most part.  Will Arnett and William Fichtner are fairly underused unfortunately, leaving most of the live action acting in Megan Fox’s lovely hands.  Still, even if you looking for a bit of a throwback or just some mindless fun, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles succeeds more than it doesn’t simply doing something most of the Transformers films never did, getting the primary characters right.

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