Sunday, October 12, 2014
Cindy Prascik's Review of The Judge & Dracula Untold
Dearest Blog, today it was off to the pictures for what looked like an Oscars/Razzies double bill of The Judge and Dracula Untold.
Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers.
First on the docket was The Judge. (See what I did there?)
A hotshot big-city attorney (Robert Downey, Jr.) returns to his smalltown home for his mother's funeral, but ends up defending his father (Robert Duvall)--a respected judge--against a murder charge.
The Judge layers family drama with legal thriller in an interesting, if unsurprising, tale. It's Awards Season, so it goes without saying the movie runs long, and I suppose it's meant to give you a case of the warm fuzzies about smalltown America (versus the big, bad city), a ploy that never, ever fails to annoy me. The Judge is littered with respected and decorated actors: Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Billy Bob Thornton, and Vincent D'Onofrio. Most everyone has the opportunity to weep his or her way through a potential Oscar clip or three, but it's Downey who will get you through the movie's bloated runtime without looking at your watch.
He is the most watchable person making movies today, and round about the 90-minute mark, you'll be ever grateful for that, trust me. To gauge The Judge's true merit, then, it's only fair to ask: How good is this movie if it stars somebody else? The answer is maybe a little better than average.
The Judge clocks in at 141 minutes and is rated R for "language, including some sexual references."
Minus Robert Downey, Jr., The Judge is a well acted but predictable and excessively-long drama. With Robert Downey, Jr., it's infinitely watchable and easily forgiven for its sins.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, The Judge gets seven.
Next up was Luke Evans' first real starring vehicle, Dracula Untold.
Having left life as "the Impaler" behind him, Prince Vlad Tepes makes a deal with the devil to protect his family and his people.
Dear reader(s), as something of an expert on the subject, I want to remind you up front that Luke Evans is a truly talented, multi-faceted actor, and his films have yet to scratch the surface of his potential. It's important for me to make that clear for reasons that will become apparent later.
Dracula Untold is more like Dracula Untrue, turning the fabled Count into a bizarro mix of superhero and romance novel cover boy. Evans can't be blamed (much to the relief of this longtime fan), and, to his credit, he manages to pull off the silly action and terrible dialogue with a fair bit of charm. The usually reliable Dominic Cooper is miscast as the movie's villain...and where ya goin' with that accent, Coop?? Blandly pretty Sarah Gadon is...erm...bland and pretty as Drac's missus, but in the end both she and the role are entirely forgettable. Though the movie is smart enough not to wear out its welcome, and there are some decent effects scattered about, it is, for the most part, a laughable exercise. Having said all that, you really should go see Dracula Untold, because Luke Evans: a.) kicks ass, b.) makes out, and c.) takes off his shirt. That's worth your ten bucks any day.
Dracula Untold runs 92 minutes and is rated PG13 for "intense sequences of warfare, vampire attacks, disturbing images, and some sensuality."
It's nowhere near as silly as Twilight, but Dracula Untold isn't the movie vampire fans have been waiting for, either.
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Dracula Untold gets five. (But I'm sure I'll be seeing it again and again!)
Until next time...