Sunday, March 31, 2013
Cindy Prascik’s reviews of The Host / G.I. Joe: Retaliation
Dearest Blog, on Good Friday I set out for the cinema, hoping religious observances coupled with a warm spring day would give me the place to myself.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
Since we didn't get The Place Beyond the Pines, my leadoff batter on Friday was The Host.
Alien beings inhabit human bodies and take over the Earth, leaving only small pockets of human resistance.
The Host is a profoundly bad film. It's based on a novel by Stephanie Meyer, of Twilight fame, who writes at about a fifth-grade level. I never assumed this'd land among the alltime greats, but I hoped by this point filmmakers were pumping enough cash into her garbage to make it halfway tolerable. That hope was misplaced.
The premise of The Host is fine, if nothing new, but the execution is awful. The dialogue is painfully awkward, particularly exchanges between the lead girl and the alien that occupies her body. Poor writing doesn't help the young cast shine, but the actors have to shoulder some of the blame for their uninspired performances. Every turn is predictable, and, at a bloated two hours and five minutes, this disaster is easily 125...er...30 minutes longer than it should have been.
The Host runs 125 minutes and is rated PG13 for "some sensuality and violence." The whole thing plays like a bad (but overfunded!) film school project, and if I hated it less than Twilight, that's only because I don't love aliens like I love vampires. Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Host gets two.
Next on my agenda was G.I. Joe: Retaliation, admittedly one of my most-anticipated movies of the year. Go ahead, laugh!
Framed and branded as traitors, the G.I. Joes must save the world from destruction while restoring their good name.
Dear Blog, let me admit to you that I'm not well-versed in Joe Lore, and I did myself no favors by failing to re-watch the last G.I. Joe film before I saw this one. I spent a lot of time wondering, "Now what's this guy's deal again?" but that didn't dampen my enthusiasm for the movie one teensy bit.
Dwayne Johnson may never win an Academy Award, but he's certainly one of the more engaging leading men making movies today. After a more subtle turn in Snitch, G.I. Joe sees him back in full ass-kicking mode. The enjoyable supporting cast includes Channing Tatum, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Park, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Joseph Mazello, and two folks who make me giddy whenever they turn up: Ray Stevenson and Walton Goggins. I found them a very likable group, with nice chemistry.
I did not see this in 3D, but I have no doubt the mountain scenes alone would be absolutely worth the upcharge and 3D-glasses headache.
As you'd expect, G.I. Joe: Retaliation is heavy on big action and light on pretty much everything else. It could fairly be compared to last summer's Battleship, but, unfortunately, G.I. Joe lacks that surprise bit of heart and sincerity that made Battleship more than it had to be.
Still, it's good, dumb fun, and no doubt will be counted among the summer's monster hits, even though we've barely made it to spring.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation clocks in at a fast-paced 110 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of combat violence and martial arts action throughout, and for brief sensuality and language." I loved it every bit as much as I expected to. Of a possible nine Weasleys, G.I. Joe: Retaliation earns seven.
So, dearest Blog, that's about all the news that's fit to print for this lazy Sunday. Since I had my cinema fun on Friday, I guess that makes tomorrow closet-cleaning day. Ugh.
Until next time.......