Hitting movie theaters this weekend:
The Ides of March - Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Paul Giamatti Real Steel - Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo
Movie of the Week
The Stars: Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Dakota Goyo The Plot: Set in the near future, where robot boxing is a top sport, a struggling promoter (Jackman) feels he's found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top, he discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father. The Buzz: For the first few moments, Real Steel's trailer definitely held my interest; I liked the sights and sounds of the semi-futuristic world, and thought to myself, “this might be a good one,” but that was only until the CGI Rock’Em Sock’Em robots showed up, dashing my hopes to smithereens. Hugh Jackman looks great, but it’s hard to take him seriously amidst the goofy fighting robots. The whole idea has a piggyback/cash-in vibe to it, which makes sense ultimately, as it’s pre-production came in on the heels of financial supergiant Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (the second highest grossing film of 2009, raking in over $400 million in domestic ticket sales).
This film might have some new wrinkles, but if it does, they certainly haven't been advertised. I didn't see one shred of originality on display in the trailer, it all looks like pure rehash to me. Based on what I’ve seen so far, Real Steel look like a cross between Transformers and Cinderella Man, albeit with a heavy-duty dose of Transformers.
For the kind of film this looks to be, I thought the trailer took itself way too seriously. Director Shawn Levy is known for family films and comedies (Night at the Museum, Date Night), and he’s pretty good at such, so if Real Steel plays to its potential goofiness, and has a comical script, I could see it coming together into an A-OK filmic experience. But, the film's trailer had nothing in it really that would suggest any levity, any smiles — quite the contrary, it plays as straight-up serious, and in effect, comes off a little cheesy. Part of me is still hoping Real Steel will be one of those "bad trailer films" that actually turns out to be decent.
Why is Real Steel the Movie of the Week? It's because I can't stand the idea of watching another film of George Clooney directing himself. I couldn't even fathom the idea of having to write a couple paragraphs about The Ides of March. That's why.
Every Friday we'll have new reviews of the latest films. TSR's complete Film Review Database
New Blu-ray and DVDs released this week:
Fast Five (BD/DVD) - Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson Scream 4 (BD/DVD) - Neve Campbell, Courteney Cox, David Arquette
Blu-ray/DVD of the Week
The Stars: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson The Plot: Dominic and his crew find themselves on the wrong side of the law once again as they try to switch lanes between a ruthless drug lord and a relentless federal agent. The Buzz: I really enjoyed this film. The high energy, live-by-the-seat-of-your-pants lifestyle of the many colorful characters of the Fast/Furious franchise makes for an excellent invitation. This film, like it’s predecessors, provides beautiful locations, beautiful women, beautiful cars, and plenty of adrenaline to keep your senses primed to appreciate it all. Paul Walker & Vin Diesel vs. Dwayne Johnson? All I can say is, GREAT IDEA. How much more testosterone can you fit on one drag-strip? It's The Rock vs. Diesel -- Who wins? Who cares! There’s enough screeching tires, nitrous-oxide, mini-skirts, and loud boom-boom music (the standard Fast/Furious treatment) to distract you from the story (although this time around the story itself is actually good too).
I certainly count myself a fan of the franchise, and I was well-satisfied with this fifth installment, in fact, I think it's the best of the series. I loved the music in this film too, I've been rocking the soundtrack in my Saab all summer (btw, my car is not street legal, shhh, please don't tell anyone).
Fast Five takes place almost entirely in Rio De Janeiro, and the shots of the city were gorgeous. I’ve always thought Rio De Janeiro made for an excellent cinematic backdrop, see City of God, The Incredible Hulk, and Columbiana. Matching up this haphazardly built city with the standard Fast/Furious hijinks was another excellent idea -- it all worked well together.
As a side, I’ve never been too fond of Michelle Rodgriguez and I’m glad that she wasn't around for Fast Five. That’s good too, makes plenty of sense, as her character died in the 4th film -- but wait, stop the press! Did any of you stick around past the end credits of Fast Five? If you did, then you already know that it looks like she's actually still alive and will indeed be a presence to be reckoned with in the sixth Fast/Furious film. Oh no!!!