In part of my continuing effort to get caught up on my 2013 film reviews, here are 6 more reviews of 6 more films.
The Company You Keep (dir by Robert Redford)
Shia LeBeouf is a journalist who discovers that attorney Bill Grant (Robert Redford) is actually a former 60s radical who is still wanted by the FBI for taking part in a bank robbery in which a security guard was killed. In one of those coincidences that can be filed directly under “Because it was convenient for the plot,” LeBeouf’s girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) works for the FBI. Anyway, all of this leads to Grant going on the run and meeting up with a lot of his former radical colleagues (all of whom are played by familiar character actors like Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte, Richard Jenkins, and Julie Christie). Ben pursues him and discovers that Grant could very well be innocent and … oh, who cares? The Company You Keep is a big smug mess of a film. It’s full of talented actors — like Stanley Tucci, Brendan Gleeson, and Brit Marling (who, talented as she may be, is actually kinda terrible in this film) — but so what? I lost interest in the film after the first 20 minutes, which was a problem since I still had 101 more minutes left to go.
Has there ever been a movie that’s actually been improved by the presence of Shia LeBeouf?
Dracula 3D (dir by Dario Argento)
Dario Argento’s version of the classic Dracula tale got terrible reviews when it was briefly released here in the States but I happen to think that it was rather underrated. No, the film can not compares to classic Argento films like Deep Red, Suspiria, and Tenebre. However, the film itself is so shamelessly excessive that it’s impossible not to enjoy on some level. The film’s moody sets harken back to the classic gothic villages of the old Hammer films, Thomas Kretschman turns Dracula into the type of decadent European aristocrat who you would expect to find doing cocaine in 1970s New York, and Rutger Hauer is wonderfully over-the-top as Van Helsing. Yes, Dracula does turn into a giant preying mantis at one point but if you can’t enjoy that then you’re obviously taking life (and movies) too seriously.
Getaway (dir by Courtney Solomon)
I saw Getaway during my summer vacation and the main thing I remember about the experience is that I saw it in Charleston, West Virginia. Have I mentioned how in love I am with Charleston? Seriously, I love that city!
As for the movie, it was 90 minutes of nonstop car chases and crashes and yet it somehow still managed to be one of the dullest films that I’ve ever seen. Ethan Hawke’s wife is kidnapped by Jon Voight and Hawke is forced to steal a car and drive around the city, doing random things. Along the way, he picks up a sidekick played by Selena Gomez. Hawke and Voight are two of my favorite actors and, on the basis of Spring Breakers, I think that Gomez is a lot more talented than she’s given credit for. But all of that talent didn’t stop Getaway from being forgettable. It’s often asked how much action is too much action and it appears that Getaway was specifically made to answer that question.
Identity Thief (dir by Seth Gordon)
My best friend Evelyn and I attempted to watch this “comedy” on Saturday night and we could only get through the first hour before we turned it off. Jason Bateman’s a great actor but, between Identity Thief and Disconnect, this just wasn’t his year. In this film, Bateman is a guy named Sandy (Are you laughing yet? Because the movie really thinks this is hilarious) whose identity is stolen by Melissa McCarthy. In order to restore both his credit and his good name, Bateman goes down to Florida and attempts to convince McCarthy to return to Colorado with him. The film’s “humor” comes from the fact that McCarthy is sociopath while Bateman is … not.
It’s just as funny as it sounds.
Pawn (dir by David Armstrong)
An all-night diner is robbed by three thieves led by Michael Chiklis and, perhaps not surprisingly, things do not go as expected. It turns out that not only does Chilklis have a secret agenda of his own but so does nearly everyone else in the diner. Pawn is a gritty little action thriller that’s full of twists and turns. Chiklis gives a great performance and Ray Liotta has a surprisingly effective cameo.
Welcome to the Punch (dir by Eran Creevy)
In this British crime drama, gangster Jacob (Mark Strong) comes out of hiding and returns to London in order to get his son out of prison. Waiting for Jacob is an obsessive police detective (James McAvoy) who is determined to finally capture Jacob.
In many ways, Welcome To The Punch reminded me a lot of Trance and n0t just because both films feature James McAvoy playing a morally ambiguous hero. Like Trance, Welcome to the Punch is something of a shallow film but Eran Creevy’s direction is so stylish and Mark Strong and James McAvoy both give such effective performances that you find yourself entertained even if the film itself leaves you feeling somewhat detached.