Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen: this is the second one that's gone awry this year, after CHiPs. But it doesn't have to be like this. Lively movie versions of Charlie's Angels and 21 Jump Street proved that with inventive writing, snarky performances and deranged energy, the result can be thoroughly entertaining. Sadly, this movie falls back on cheap jokes that simply aren't that funny. Fans of Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron will still have a good time - they're both unstoppably engaging - but the truth is that this simply isn't good enough.
We're back in Emerald Bay, where the beefy hotshot Mitch (Johnson) heads up the lifeguard crew with babes Stephanie and CJ (Ildenesh Hadera and Kelly Rohrbach). And now they're training up three new recruits: fallen Olympic swimming champ Matt (Efron), feisty hottie Summer (Alexandra Daddario) and pudgy geek Ronnie (Jon Bass). Meanwhile, as various crimes and calamities strike the beach, Mitch decides to investigate everything himself without the help of the local police. And as he becomes convinced that resort owner Victoria (Priyanka Chopra) is involved in bribery, extortion, drug running and murder, he sends his lifeguards undercover to catch her. Which of course is just a bit beyond what they were trained to do.
Continue reading: Baywatch Review
Zac Efron is in talks to star in a movie version of ‘Baywatch’, reports suggest.
Zac Efron is reportedly in talks to star in a big screen version of Baywatch. The former High School Musical star is in negotiations with producers for the upcoming Paramount Pictures film. Dwayne Johnson is also reportedly on board and the pair will be directed by Horrible Bosses director Seth Gordon.
Zac Efron at the L.A. premiere of Neighbors in April 2014.
Set up as an old-style disaster movie with only a fraction of the plot, this earthquake action adventure is preposterous enough to just about work as a guilty pleasure. Everything else about the film is simply absurd, from the fake science to the simplistic family dynamic that strains to hold the story together. But it's definitely a big-screen spectacle, and Dwayne Johnson was made to fill the big screen.
He plays Los Angeles Fire & Rescue chopper pilot Ray, who is going through a divorce from Emma (Carla Gugino) after the death of his young daughter. Now his older daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) needs help moving up the coast, but Ray has been called to respond to a freak quake in Nevada. So she travels instead to San Francisco with her mother's millionaire boyfriend (Ioan Gruffudd). Then jittery Cal Tech scientist Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) works out that this temblor is heading for L.A. and will move up the coast to San Francisco, perhaps creating the biggest seismic event the world has ever seen. As he issues urgent warnings, Ray rescues Emma from a collapsing L.A. skyscraper, and they both head north to save their daughter. Meanwhile, Blake has teamed up with sexy Brit Ben (Hugo Johnstone-Burt) and his perky little brother Ollie (Art Parkinson) to survive the chaos in San Francisco.
Despite the filmmakers' stated goal to recreate a classic disaster epic like The Poseidon Adventure (1972) or Earthquake (1974), this film doesn't bother to feature an ensemble cast with complex intertwined storylines. Instead, it heaps all of the drama onto Johnson's beefy shoulders. He has more than enough charisma to hold it together, even if his one big emotional scene feels a bit, well, stony. Everyone else provides a masterclass in panic-stricken acting, running and screaming and fearing for everyone's lives even though it's clear from the start that very few characters will die. Hundreds of thousands of anonymous digitally rendered victims perish, but the movie doesn't bat an eyelid about them.
Continue reading: San Andreas Review
Beau Flynn, Wendy Jacobson and Hiram Garcia - The Warner Bros. Pictures world premiere of 'San Andreas' held at the TCL Chinese Theatre - Arrivals at TCL Chinese Theatre - Hollywood, California, United States - Tuesday 26th May 2015
Beau Flynn, Alexandra Daddario, Brad Peyton and Carla Gugino - Los Angeles premiere of 'San Andreas' held at TCL Chinese Theatre - Arrivals at TCL Chinese Theatre - Hollywood, California, United States - Wednesday 27th May 2015
Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton are smart enough actors to make the most of this uneven romantic comedy, which never manages to disguise the standard formula, even with a gimmicky premise. So while the plot and characters are simplistic and artificial, at least there's some charisma on the screen to keep us entertained. There's also a spark of lively chemistry that makes the hokey romance somewhat amusing.
It's set in New York, where Megan (Tipton) has moved in with her loved-up friends (Jessica Szohr and Scott Mescudi) to recover from a bad break-up. After a run-in with her ex (Josh Salatin), she goes online in a moment of desperation and then heads to Brooklyn for a one-night stand with Alec (Teller). But when she tries to sneak out in the morning, she finds that they're snowed-in, unable to leave the building. Super-defensive for no real reason, she creates a war-zone in the flat, and they eventually agree to be ruthlessly honest with each other. If they're going to be trapped together, they might as well learn something useful.
There's never a question of where this is heading, although the script makes Megan such an angry shrew that we really don't like her at all for much of the film. She only calms down when Alec produces some weed (a misogynistic plot point), and as they finally begin to communicate Tipton and Teller are able to inject an enjoyable mixture of intelligence and wit into their rambling conversation. This makes them feel more realistic, and lets the film make some sharp observations about the nature of courtship in the world of dating apps. Yes, looking for a partner online is difficult even when "the bar is set so very low".
Continue reading: Two Night Stand Review
Beau Flynn, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, Ian McShane, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Dwayne Johnson, Irina Shayk, Rufus Sewell and Brett Ratner - European premiere of 'Hercules' at CineStar IMAX im Sony Center in Berlin - Arrivals - Berlin, Germany - Thursday 21st August 2014
Far more entertaining than it has any right to be, this is a big, messy blockbuster retelling of the Greek myth that thankfully has a sharp sense of humour and some surprising twists up its sleeve. The cast is also packed with veteran performers who know how to make the most of some eyebrow-raising innuendo, generating intrigue while keeping the audience laughing with them rather than at them.
The premise takes a revisionist approach, grounding the legend of the demigod Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) in real stories that have been exaggerated by his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), who travels with him as a kind of toga-era marketing expert. Their team of mercenaries includes wryly fatalistic seer Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), quick-witted blade-thrower Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), bow-wielding amazon Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and loyal mute warrior Tydeus (Aksel Hennie). When they're offered a fortune by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to quell a rebellion, they find themselves in the middle of a massive battle that doesn't go the way they expected. And as events take unforeseen turns, Hercules and his gang have to dig deep to turn the tide in their favour.
Johnson is a natural in the role, so massively pumped up that he looks like he could be popped with a pin. His hulking physique and just enough back-story give the character's reputation some weight, both literally and figuratively, so even if he's not half-god his achievements are still pretty impressive. (There are also plenty of hints that he may turn out to be a god after all.) And the surrounding characters add to this with cleverly written roles that are expertly played by British scene-stealers Hurt, McShane, Sewell, Mullan and Fiennes. McShane is so good that he essentially walks off with the whole movie. But relative newcomers Ritchie, Hennie and Berdal more than hold their own.
Continue reading: Hercules Review
Made in Germany, this raucous adventure merrily refuses to follow the usual Hollywood route of blanding-down a fairy tale for the lowest common denominator (see both Snow White movies last year). It's still pretty stupid, but it's so unapologetically over-the-top that we're consistently entertained. And it helps that the filmmakers are clearly aware of how ridiculous the plot is, so they push it even further.
The film opens with a horror-style version of the Grimm Brothers' fable, then jumps years ahead as Hansel and Gretel (Renner and Arterton) achieve notoriety as bounty hunters specialising in tracking down and dispatching witches. When they arrive in a small village, they rescue innocent young Mina (Viitala) from the bloodthirsty mayor (Stormare), then vow instead to capture the area's real wicked witch Muriel (Janssen). The sheriff is sure they're con artists, so forms his own posse. Meanwhile, Hansel tentatively falls for Mina, and the duo also meet their teen super-fan Ben (Mann), who joins them as they head into the woods.
Norwegian writer-director Wirkola has created a gonzo action-horror movie out of the familiar bedtime story, complete with wildly outrageous creatures, fiery battles and almost as many explosions as a Michael Bay Transformers movie. Meanwhile, Renner and Arterton strut through medieval Europe like 21st century action heroes, wearing skin-tight leather, head-butting their foes, swearing like sailors and shooting massive guns at anything that moves. In other words, Wirkola's approach is essentially satirical, which allows him to indulge in astounding levels of grisly violence without it ever getting too nasty.
Continue reading: Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters Review
It's an enjoyably ridiculous romp with far-fetched action for the kids and a few deranged gags for the grown-ups.
Now 17, Sean (Hutcherson) has intercepted a broadcast from his Vernian adventurer grandfather (Caine). He begrudgingly lets his stepdad Hank (Johnson) help decode the message, which says that Verne's Mysterious Island really exists, and that it's the same island from Stevenson's Treasure Island and Swift's Gulliver's Travels. Sean is determined to see it, so Hank accompanies him to Palau, where they rent a helicopter piloted by the goofy Gabato (Guzman) and his hot daughter Kailani (Hudgens). But after they find the amazing island, they discover that it's about to sink.
Continue reading: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Review
Since leaving medical school, sex addict Victor Mancini (Sam Rockwell) has worked tirelessly to keep his mentally deranged mother (Anjelica Huston) in a private nursing home. By day, he's a "historical recreationist" at a local colonial village. By night, he travels to various restaurants around town and pretends to choke. Once saved, he hits up his good Samaritan marks for any and all kinds of financial assistance. Desperate to learn who his father is, Victor teams up with a new doctor named Paige Marshall (Kelly Macdonald) to decipher his mother's memories, as well as translate an old diary which may provide some clues. Of course, in between consultations, it's nothing but fornication and copulation.
Continue reading: Choke Review
Joel Schumacher, director of some of the worst films in a generation (8MM, Batman & Robin, Batman Forever), redeems himself with his first really good flick since Falling Down in 1993. A tale of army recruits in their final days of training before heading to Vietnam in 1971, Tigerland is an original and modestly powerful anti-war film that never even goes "in country."
Continue reading: Tigerland Review
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