Sunday, March 30, 2014
Cindy Prascik's reviews of Sabotage & Noah
Dearest Blog, yesterday it was off to the cinema with all the Rainy Day People for a double-feature of Sabotage and Noah.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
Arnie was first on the docket with Sabotage.
An elite, undercover DEA unit comes under suspicion when ten million dollars in drug money disappears.
Dear Blog, I'm going to tell you something you might not know: Sabotage was made JUST for me. It's Hollywood's way of saying, "Look, we're sorry for all the pretentious Oscar drivel and Easter-season religious propaganda, but you've been a good sport, so here are a couple testosterone-fueled hours of mayhem for your trouble. Well, Hollywood, apology accepted.
Sabotage is yet another attempt to thrust an aging Arnold Schwarzenegger back into the leading action hero mold. Like previous efforts, the general reception seems middling, but it's once again made me a happy action fan. If Schwarzenegger is getting a bit long in the tooth, it doesn't keep him from carrying a picture with flair, and at no time is there any doubt that this is Arnold's movie. The supporting cast is comprised of actors both very good (Terrence Howard, Mireille Enos) and pretty bad (Sam Worthington, Joe Manganiello), but none really stands out either way, aside from Enos, who is ah-maz-ing.
These days most action movies have to pick a side. Either they go too vanilla to secure the coveted PG13 rating, or the gore and swearing are so extreme that shock value seems the only objective. Sabotage definitely leans toward the latter, and it suffers some laughably bad dialogue, but a well-executed, suspenseful plot saves the movie from being just a big-screen bundle of bad words and maximum carnage.
Sabotage clocks in at 109 minutes and is rated R for "strong bloody violence, pervasive language, some sexuality/nudity, and drug use."
A solid action flick with a good cast and a hero that's familiar and easy to root for, of a possible nine Weasleys, Sabotage gets seven.
Next on Saturday's agenda was the Biblical epic, Noah.
A man suffers a terrifying vision of the world destroyed by a great flood, and must battle Sauron's legions as he attempts to get the One Ring to Mount Doom. Wait, what? Sorry...wrong movie.
There's been much fuss about Noah's lack of faithfulness to the Bible story on which it's based. In the interest of full and fair disclosure, I admit that means about as much to me as a less-than-accurate adaptation of any novel or comic book. I don't say that to be offensive or provocative, merely to be clear: If the rumor is non-religious people will love this and religious people will hate it, this card-carrying heathen is here to tell ya, there's no shortage of reasons to hate this movie, whatever you believe.
Russell Crowe is one of my top three actors, and, in my opinion, the most magnetic screen presence working in movies today. Not once in his long and storied career have I seen a movie and thought, "Boy, even Russell Crowe couldn't help that." Until now, that is. Instead of a man tormented by difficult choices he feels his "Creator" has forced him to make, this Noah is a profoundly unlikable nut job who comes dead even with the movie's villain in the "I really hate that guy" sweepstakes. Then there's the bloat. Yes, that's "bloat," dear Blog, not "boat." Pared by 20-30 minutes, Noah would have been a far more bearable exercise creative license. As it stands, I had plenty of time to count ceiling tiles (I think there are 180 in theatre eight, but it was a little tricky in the dark) and ponder what I was going to eat at Olive Garden after the movie (spaghetti marinara, if you're wondering). During the interminable ark-building, I wondered why they didn't just ask Hermione to wave her wand and get it done. Hang on... Huh? Oh, sorry, there I go again. Somewhere around a halfway point that seemed to take 12 hours to reach, I wrote "TERRIBLE" on my notepad, in all caps and underlined three times, as if I'd need a reminder when I sat down to write this review.
There are positives, of course, among them some glorious cinematography and a couple time-lapsey sequences that are quite stunning...if possibly seizure inducing. The CGI procreation-ready pairs of animals look pretty great, and Emma Watson continues to be a revelation in a role that's at least half an underwater world away from the studious Miss Granger of the Harry Potter movies. There's also a sneaky pro-vegetarian message that made me think I might have had a chance of bunking with the Noah family instead of dog paddling for my life.
Noah runs 138 minutes and is rated PG13 for "violence, disturbing images, and brief suggestive content."
Whether you believe the Bible or not, Noah is a bloated mess that might as well have starred Adam Sandler for all the credibility it's got. Of a possible nine Weasleys, Noah gets two. Oh, and when someone films the book of Revelations, remind me to get high before I see it.
Until next time...
Hands up, who's ready for that Gladiator prequel?