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Sunday, August 23, 2015

Cindy Prascik's Reviews of American Ultra & Hitman: Agent 47

Dearest Blog: Yesterday it was off to the pictures for a pair of shoot-em-up flicks, American Ultra and Hitman: Agent 47.

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

This week's first kudos go not to either movie, but to the schedule maker(s) at Marquee Cinemas, who receive a full nine Weasleys for two 90-minute films with 30 minutes in between. Perfection!

First up on that ideal schedule: American Ultra.

All is not as it seems with a pair of stoners in a (made-up) little West Virginia town.
American Ultra is one of those movies that has the potential to be accidentally awesome. It doesn't look like anything special, but all the pieces are there so it *could* be, you know? It isn't quite awesome, but it's still pretty solid.

Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart share an awkward chemistry that serves them well as a couple pretty awkward people. Eisenberg moves effortlessly from mellow to panicked to deadpan to badass, always believable and sympathetic.

Stewart is often accused of being expressionless, but she's solid here as well. The supporting cast is uniformly decent, for as much as they need to be (what a waste of Bill Pullman!), but basically, if you don't like Eisenberg and/or Stewart, that's going to be an almost insurmountable hurdle with this movie. American Ultra has plenty of twists and turns, with fast, brutal, bloody action, and a dry wit that holds it all together.

American Ultra clocks in at 95 minutes and is rated R for "strong bloody violence, language throughout, drug use, and some sexual content."

American Ultra is missing that *something* that would have made it exceptional, but I still found it smart, exciting, and entertaining.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, American Ultra gets six and a half.

Next on the agenda, Hitman: Agent 47.

A woman reluctantly teams with a super assassin to unravel the mysteries of her past.

Dear reader(s), there's no sugar-coating it: Agent 47 is a real snooze-fest, and, if not for my mad crush on Zachary Quinto, I might have nodded off. There's not a hint of genuine emotion or excitement to be found anywhere in Agent 47. Nicely-designed stunts are blandly executed, and the leads are as dry as my lawn invariably is 'round about this time of the year. Hannah Ware has all the expression of the freshly-Botoxed, and Rupert Friend looks like a perpetually-annoyed Orlando Bloom. Ciaran Hinds gets the job done, but he doesn't turn up until it's far too late to salvage anything. It's quite a feat for a movie this short to wear out its welcome, but that seems to be the one area where Hitman: Agent 47 actually succeeds.

Hitman: Agent 47 runs 96 minutes and is rated R for "sequences of strong violence, and some language."

Agent 47 is so dull I was hardly even annoyed when the guy next to me played on his iPad the whole time.

Of a possible nine Weasleys, Hitman: Agent 47 gets two.

Until next time...

Curiously, this is also how my homecooked Sunday dinners usually turn out!

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