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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of 3 Days to Kill & Pompeii

Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to the pictures for a pair of too-late-for-awards-season/too-early-for-summer-blockbuster-season throwaways, 3 Days to Kill and Pompeii.

Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on my agenda was Kevin Costner's unlikely action thriller 3 Days to Kill.

A terminally ill CIA agent is persuaded to take one final job in exchange for an experimental treatment that could extend his life.

Oh, dear Blog, where do I even start? I guess I should start by saying the fact that this is a terrible movie in no way diminished my enjoyment of it; on the contrary, I quite liked it. BUT...........

Beginning at the beginning, nobody is buying Amber Heard in her role as a top CIA agent. She has neither the years nor the bearing to pull it off. It's not a poor performance, by any means, she's just entirely unsuitable for the part. Having said that, ain't nobody complainin' about looking at Amber Heard for two hours, either!

Kevin Costner is just...Kevin Costner. What else can I say? I like the guy, I do, but he's about as emotive as Joan Rivers' terminally botoxed face. He gets away with it here, as he always does, by being just that likable. I'm sitting there thinking, "God, that was bad.......but, you know what, I actually don't mind." And there's Kevin Costner for ya.

The movie itself provides so much backstory on Costner's character that it's really more like two movies. I want some depth, some rationale for the characters' situations and choices, but TWO hokey subplots that never really tie into the actual story? It's a bit much. The humor is lowbrow and predictable--but I laughed anyway--and the songs the director (McG) plops here and there are poor choices, terribly timed, or both. Maybe I'm just spoiled because nobody's as good at that as Edgar Wright, but I can't be the only one who was creeped out by an old dude like Costner slow-dancing with his teenage onscreen daughter to Bread's Make it With You...even if it is supposed to be her mother's favorite song. The action is solid, though, the characters mostly sympathetic, and there's a small, decent twist that I did not see coming for one minute.

3 Days to Kill runs 113 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of violence and action, some sensuality, and language."

3 Days to Kill provides a couple hours of forgettable fun. Even during awards season, that's not a crime.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, 3 Days to Kill gets five.

Rounding out yesterday's double-header was Paul W.S. Anderson's latest bit of eye candy, Pompeii.

Do we really need a synopsis for this one? Volcano goes "boom," and even Kit Harington's spectacular abs can't save the day for the doomed city of Pompeii.

In addition to the volcano, this version of Pompeii offers its own forbidden love story, in the form of Harington's slave/gladiator, who falls for a princess (Emily Browning), unwillingly betrothed to a Roman senator (Kiefer Sutherland). Though he enjoys top billing, Harington has the fewest lines of any of the main cast, and is mostly called on to stand around looking fit while casting longing looks at the princess or withering looks at the Senator and his thugs. Sutherland spends 90 minutes falling in and out of the same half-assed English accent he used in 1993's The Three Musketeers, and, surprisingly, is the worst thing about a movie that's pretty resoundingly terrible. What little challenge this script provides isn't beyond most of the cast, but nobody does anything in particular to elevate it, either. In the most backhanded of backhanded compliments, I suppose Sasha Roiz and Jared Harris made me cringe the least.

Pompeii's effects strictly adhere to the "go big or go home" credo, with plenty of flying fireballs and crumbling buildings. Sadly, the costumes and set pieces look like something out of a high-school production of Jesus Christ Superstar, and I was not impressed with the overall look of the movie. Having said that, I'm a woman of simple tastes, and if you give me a couple hours of big explosions, hot, shirtless dudes in tiny skirts, and a few glorious 3D shots of one lady-in-waiting's bodacious bosom, well, I'm probably not going to complain too much.

Pompeii clocks in at a quick 98 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense battle sequences, disaster-related action, and brief sexual content."

As with 3 Days to Kill, the fact that Pompeii isn't a very good movie didn't stop me having a good time with it, so I'll say for the final time this season: if you're looking for a break from all the uber-serious awards bait, Pompeii just might be the movie for you.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Pompeii also gets five.

Until next time...

Wait...what was I saying??

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