I Hate Movies pt. I


bridesmaid director lucas mike bay

 

Why bother with another pop-culture bitch-fest? Because I really used to enjoy going to the movies.. and now, I don’t. Growing up a significant part of my childhood involved going the theater and seeing stuff like: Ghostbusters, The Goonies, Weird Science, Vacation, and so forth. And I still enjoy these films, and not merely because it’s all Vintage Store-ironic and reminiscent of my childhood, but because these are endearing, well-made movies that have aged well. And no, none of these examples are amazing, revelatory works of cinematic art. They’re just good, fun, well-made movies with well-developed characters and simple, easy to follow story arcs. And of course maybe I’m just becoming the embodiment of Dana Carvey’s SNL Grumpy Old Man with all this shit. If so, enjoy anyway.

 

Flibbity Floo

 

I guess it took what a self-absorbed semi-hipster would call “introspection” to explain why for the past 10 years I could list off all the times I went to the movie theater on less than my 10 fingers. It sure sounds like arthouse dickery to proclaim that modern film-making has become formulaic schlock…  pandering attempts to reel in the widest audience possible, coherent story-telling be damned. But a recent slate of “indie” movies are some of the worst offenders, offering their own brand of pointless formula and cliches that offer infinitely more style over substance (How many n’er-do-well 30 something protagonists with existential crises do we need?)

 

2 words… Fuck… You

 

But enough with the pseudo-intellectual justification for my avoidance of movies. Here’s why they suck, very simply put:

1) Shitty, self-absorbed characters

Red Letter Media hit the nail on the head in the very first 5 minutes of the very first Star Wars Prequel review (yea, I’m going here again) in explaining why it was impossible to emotionally connect with these movies. The characters fucking sucked. Was there anything remotely relatable about Qui-Gon fucking Jinn? Sarcastic and bored Obi-Wan? Natalie Portman with a weird British robot voice? That annoying kid playing Anakin? Need I mention cocksucking Jar-Jar?

 

Meesa fuck your eye sockets with schlock

 

Maybe unless you’ve been lobotomized, it should be pretty obvious that Storytelling 101 involves a character or characters one can relate to and then invest into emotionally. So who does anyone relate to in any of the 3 prequels? Even my friends who claim they actually liked these films can’t answer that question. It’s because it can’t be answered, because the characters suck.

The SW prequels are an extreme example, but it’s part and parcel of way too many recent movies.. particularly ones geared at young people, which is troubling on many levels. For instance:

The “Paranormal Activity” movies. I’ve now seen the first 3 of these, and several knock-off straight to DVD versions. (which incidentally, are basically impossible to tell apart because of the very convenient dirt-cheap productions costs of this style of “movie”) The first one was clever and different, kinda, if you forgot Blair Witch. But then since it was successful –  and oh joy – cheap as all fuck to produce and cast, they now crank out the same shot again and again in form of sequels, offering basically nothing new from the 1st one.

 

This is so exciting I’m not sure I can contain my bowels..

 

While I was mildly entertained by the 1st one, I was bored stiff from the rest. And there are 500 reasons, not the least of which is that literally 90% of these movies involves watching home security camera footage of literally nothing, waiting for the next startle to occur.

But they could be at least a bit more compelling if you cared about the characters. And I guess maybe you kinda do, a little, in the 2d one, because it involves little kids and kids in movies are generally innocent, if gratingly fucking annoying. But the rest are upper-middle class suburbanites that prattle on about suburbanite shit like new sedans and needless crap their kids want them to buy. None of which is central to the plot. Really compelling shit.

That doesn’t even get to the horrific slate of rom-coms and raunch comedies. Where vapid, self-centered, mean-spirited one dimensional characters are celebrated. And that’s troubling. Are Bridesmaids and The Hangover movies popular because these insipid child-like narcissistic assholes portrayed on-screen somehow connect to these large audiences? What about Adam Sandler films, where cruelty, racism, and physical harm at the expense of others is celebrated like fucking Christmas?

 

When my shrink asks why it is I seldom venture outside my house, I cite the example that this man is considered by millions of Americans to be “funny”

 

Keep in mind I’m not even talking about the pathetic scripts, plots, and bad acting. Just the very nature of the characters. I’ll get into very specific examples of why characters and character development is so important, citing 2 legendary modern films, and comparing them to, yes I am fucking going here again, the good old Star Wars prequels. Then I will follow-up this new (I just decided) “Fuck Movies” series with explanations of why bad scripts, bad blocking, and cheap production keep me away from the theater. As if you cared.

Advertisements

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES


 

Year: 2011

Starring: James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow, Brian Cox, Andy Serkis

Stars 2.5 out of 5

 

You know what the funny thing is? Rotten Tomatoes gave this very mediocre movie 83% positive. Hell, even the Red Letter Media guys liked it. And why? Relative to all the other shit they have to watch, this was a fine piece of cinema. So I’ll give you the perspective of someone who’s job is not to watch movies all the time, and perhaps who can offer a better, less biased perspective.

You probably don’t need a stupid analogy, but I’ll offer one anyway. Let’s say you are a food critic. You have to review 15 places in a row that have the ambiance and food quality of Long John Silver’s. Finally you get to check out a local Applebee’s. In terms of what you’ve been eating for months, that shit would be like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

Fine dining..

 

So I forgive the Half in the Bag guys, and the critics.. to a point. But let’s talk about this meh movie. You probably already know the plot, so I’ll give the very brief set-up of the story, then I’ll pick it apart, especially the “science.” Ha… ha…

So James Franco is a brilliant scientist who has developed a virus that repairs damaged brains. He is driven to do so because he cares for his dad (John Lithgow) who has Alzheimer’s. He is testing it on chimps, to see if it makes them smarter.

Yeeeeeeesssssssssss??

He hits pay-dirt, based on one plucky chimp, and a cartoonish money-hungry boss who’s all “It worked on one chimp?? Get that shit out to market, today!! Monnnnneyyyyyyy.. sweet sweet Money… hahahaha HAHAHAHA!!!”

But it gets fucked up when he’s pitching the miracle drug to the corporate big-wigs and said chimp escapes and busts into the meeting, literally. The security guards, who apparently were sleeping for the 10 minutes the chimp was thrashing the entire facility, get there just in time and shoot it dead.

In my mind, this was a very effective conclusion to James Franco’s presentation, but it doesn’t work out so hot, and the project gets axed. They ship out or kill all the chimps, except one was secretly pregnant and had a little chimpling. (Yea I know, it’s already implausibly stupid, just stay with me)

So James Franco takes the little guy home, gives him the miracle drug, and gives it to his pops. Chimp gets smart, pop is cured, James Franco seems mildly indifferent, he starts dating a hot Indian ape doctor (Freida ….What’s Her Name), and everything is fine and dandy.

Yay

Fade to “5 years later,” and now some problems emerge. Caesar, the adopted chimp James Franco named after his 3d favorite salad, is smarter than your average chimp and bored of wearing diapers and living in a modest 2 story house. The treatment is wearing off dad and he’s getting all Alzheimer’sish again.

One fine morning confused dad jumps into the neighbors new hot-rod car and starts smashing it into every other car on the block (keys were in it… weee!) Neighbor gets understandably pissed and Caesar sees through the window that asshole neighbor is roughing up grandpa. Caesar and neighbor guy already have a history, so Caesar gets mad, escapes, runs the neighbor down and bites his finger off.

So Caesar gets shipped off to monkey jail, where he is overseen by another implausible, laughable character. A young punk who fucking hates apes more than anyone has hated anything. So naturally, his job is working in a facility with them.

“I hate you FUCKING MONKEYS!!”
“Dude, what’s with you.. did apes rape your mom or something?”
“I told you never to bring that up………………                                                  I love my job”

 

That’s the set-up so that’s enough.. no need for spoilers. The apes rise.. and get smart, and stuff happens. Now, for the skewering..

 

So for one thing, I work in research. I could nitpick all the shit that’s completely wrong in this movie, but that would be pointless, so I’ll stick to the glaring stuff that shouldn’t pass the smell test with the average viewer.

1) James Franco.

No, not the actor. I totally get why he got cast. They need a big box office draw. That’s fine. So even though he’s mostly wooden and confused in his part as a brilliant scientist, shouldn’t his character at least have a fucking clue what he’s doing?

He has created a virus he’s testing on chimps that repairs damaged neurons and makes people (and chimps) a lot smarter. Except, he doesn’t seem to know a thing about human biology, viruses, or chimps. We know this because He says he doesn’t know anything about chimps before he takes Caesar home, and neither he nor anyone on his team express any concern when his lab guy is exposed to the virus, or when said guy gets very sick in the following days.

So how exactly did he manage to develop this virus that makes chimps smarter when he knows nothing about either?

Ok.. what’s my motivation? Scien…tist. Science…Scien..tology? Oh.. my agent told me not to mention that..
Confused… James Franco…confused…

 

2) After 5 years of dating, the chimp doctor never noticed and wasn’t told that Caesar got this experimental virus to make him super-chimp.

Nice powers of observation there, doc. Not to mention, I could get into trouble not keeping my girlfriend up to date on weekend plans. But this is pretty big. Still, hot doc chick seems only mildly annoyed she wasn’t in on this sooner.

I’m a doctor… and I look concerned..

 

3) This amazing virus seemingly works overnight

Well, that is when it’s convenient for the plot. i.e. Caesar becomes really smart over the course of years. But dad’s Alzheimer’s is cured, literally, overnight. Also, all of the other apes that Caesar infects with the virus become brilliant overnight.

I’m telling you, hedge funds, Carl. You can survive the volatility of the market. I know a guy.. let’s do lunch.

 

4) Waking up the next morning being much smarter apparently means = full of knowledge and experience.

Ok, let’s imagine a dystopian future where you can genetically pre-program a baby to come out of the womb as intelligent as an intellectual adult. That’s neat I guess, but would we imagine he’ll come out quoting Shakespeare and wearing a little Victorian-era eyepiece? No, the little fucker will be pissing, shitting, and wailing like any other newborn, because he still doesn’t know anything else.

We’ll see the increased intelligence as he learns, I would imagine. But in this movie, these apes get smarter overnight, and they automatically know how to communicate, how helicopters and cars work, how to use projectiles, how to avoid bullets, how to build makeshift barricades, etc. etc. Call me cynical, but I think they might have to learn some of that stuff before being experts at it.

Just yesterday I was flinging my own poop!

5) No one, including the infected guy, is able to link exposure to strange new virus with getting really sick and dying.

And neither he nor now anyone else suggests seeking medical attention. Although he does show up at what he thinks is his doctor’s house and it’s really an airline pilot? Conveniently..

Well, I did go swimming in raw sewage last week. But that has nothing to do with this, right doctor? ……………………………………..Doctor?

 

6) This movie never stops hammering home the idea of how goddamn smart Caesar has become, except…

He can even speak some English! However he was seemingly never able to link himself biting the neighbor’s finger off with getting put in monkey jail, and for the rest of the movie assumes that James Franco just dumped him there to be an asshole.

Thanks a lot, dad

 

7) Do we understand how DNA and evolution work?

Ok, so Caesar and his monkey co-horts get this virus that makes them smart. But I don’t remember the part about it altering their DNA. This is important, because the movie suggests that Caesar and his crew are the ones that spawn the “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

It could have been I forgot that part, but assuming it was just lazy screenwriting, then that’s a huge plot hole. When Caesar and his bunch go fuck-wild banging out chimp-babies, they are going to be the same dumbass chimps as already populate the Earth.

Our children will lead the Revolution!!
Umm… how? You said they altered your brain. Did they alter your genes too?
Oh…… well… wait…….. shit…………………………………
Well, we might as well finish anyway

I suppose you could make an argument that Caesar has learned how to replicate the virus? But seeing as how they destroyed the research facility, that seems like a stretch. Not to mention, how far are we going to take this “smart chimp” thing?

So those are some of the major gaps in the science. And since I’m a nerd, they bug me. If you are going to center your plot around scientific research, at least some of it should make sense.

However, I did not hate this movie. The CGI apes were pretty good, but that doesn’t improve the quality of the movie, it just makes that aspect acceptable. There were some entertaining parts, some unintentionally hilarious ones, and certainly the movie built up well to the final battle scene.

But was this an “8” or “9” the critics gave it? That’s laughable. Even if you don’t care about all the science holes, James Franco’s performance barely hangs on to “mediocre.” So, it’s one of the other. Be like me, ignore that aspect, and try to get into the science and the plot… OR…. ignore all that stuff, and go with the actor’s performances.

Well, the lead sucked. The leading woman does nothing but pose and look hot. John Lithgow plays a convincing demented old person, but not exactly moving or Oscar-worthy. And the real, certified, great actor, Brian Cox, does little but snarl and bark sarcastic quips.

So, the movie wasn’t great. But compared to most of the swill that comes through the theaters, it was passable. The fact that critics got in a lather over it is telling. Compared to everything else, this flick was just fucking brilliant.

 

 

 

DRIVE


Movie Review: DRIVE

Year: 2011

Starring: Ryan Gosling, Albert Brooks, Brian Cranston, Ron Perlman, that chick from Never let me go

Stars: 2 out of 5

Oy, what a fucking mess. And I’m not talking about the bloody piles of human goop we’re treated to in every scene for the last half of the movie once director Nicolas Winding Refn gives up on the whole film noir thing and just decides to go with good old buckets-of blood-n’ gore slasher flick. I mean… well, I guess I just explained it. What was the point of this movie? Was there one? I’ll attempt to broach that question later, after I piss and moan about how this movie could have been entertaining and fun, but instead was depressing, needlessly gory, and for the most part, boring.

The movie starts out interestingly enough. Ryan Gosling is a getaway driver for some bad guys. The heist doesn’t go exactly as planned and Ryan and his completely stoic, emotionless face (more about that later) evade the cops throughout downtown L.A. We know, since we read the back of the DVD, that this is his character’s regular nighttime gig. So that scene is pretty cool, and also a big, fat, tease.. More about that later. Next we’re treated to a long opening credit sequence, done with pretty pink fonts and a kickin’ neo-new wave pop tune with moving shots of the L.A. skyline. It’s all very tasteful and effective. It also clues me in to the fact that this movie is going to be filled with more pretense than a Portland coffee house during open mic poetry night. i.e. a lot more style than substance, but that’s what I’m game for, so it’s all good… or so I hoped.

Then, once Winding Refn (or just Refn?) has us interested, he grinds the film to a screeching halt. A solid 45 minutes of what one might call character development, except for the fact that Ryan Gosling had his face surgically altered so that it cannot express joy, anger, jealousy, envy, diarrhea, or any other “hu-man” emotions, as we know it. Seriously.. how the fuck am I supposed to tell happy Ryan Gosling from angry Ryan Gosling to horny Ryan Gosling? (simmer down, ladies). Anyway, Ryan Gosling and his goddamned stone face work as a mechanic for a gimpy Brian Cranston, and he also has a hot neighbor, that chick from Never let me go. No not Keira Knightley, the other one. The gimpy mechanic wants to make a lot of money using Ryan as a race car driver, the neighbor chick wants to make a lot of sexy time using Ryan’s passionately expressionless face for.. well, you can guess.

The neighbor chick has a kid that is clearly of mixed race, and we discover dad is in prison. Ryan is not in prison and doesn’t look like a typical L.A. inmate, so I guess the attraction is obvious. At least it should be, but the director wasn’t so sure you got it, so during a scene when they are in the car, we get to see her hand grab his, for at least a full 20 seconds. Now this may not sound like a long time, but go ahead and sit there and count to 20.. and think about a static shot of a hand on another… wait.. got it yet? OH OK.. I GET IT!!

The romance is short lived though, because neighbor chick sheepishly tells him her husband is getting out of prison. This upsets him, I guess, although it might just be that he’s all in with a pair of jacks. So, in case the protracted hand-holding scene and the painfully awkward “my old man is back and town, sorry no (more?) boinking” dialogue haven’t clued you in on this doomed love angle, we get interspersed shots of the chick’s visibly depressed face and Gosling’s stone dead possibly turning to cement face during the husband’s welcome home party, all the while treated to another indie-pop tune with lyrics, and I’m not shitting you, that go “Can’t get you off my mind.” OHHHH I GET IT!!!

Have I mentioned at this point we’re about a full hour from the decently exciting opening scene and the movie has now slowed to the pace of a three-toed sloth in a coma trying to get a consumer protection bill through congress? Well, finally something interesting, albeit stupid, emerges in the plot. It turns out that neighbor chick’s husband had to pay protection money in prison, and now the price he owes has gone up to an exorbitant amount. What might our (hero?) do at this point? Well, in the real world, he might say.. well this works out great. The mob kills this pesky husband, I can move in on this piece of neighbor tail. But no. It turns out our (hero??) isn’t real bright. His idea is to help the husband rob a pawn shop and be the getaway man, with no payoff except the mob leaves the neighbor chick’s family alone. **SPOILERS AHEAD**

Where it goes from here is pretty predictable, but at least we get another car chase. The heist goes bad, people get shot, Ryan Gosling survives, then something very common in modern fimmaking happens. The director completely runs out of ideas and the entire movie turns to liquified shit. All the underworld figures are revealed. There’s a tough talking Ron Perlman, who seems to be the henchman for Albert Brooks, a movie producer turned quasi-L.A. mobster. In a sort of asinine “twist,” Ron Perlman talks tough but doesn’t kill anyone, and in fact seems sort of grossed out by blood and violence. Albert Brooks goes on a Jack the Ripper freebasing-like killing binge. Wait.. Albert Brooks?? This guy?? That’s different, I guess. Brooks is like everyone’s favorite neurotic Jewish uncle and Ron Perlman is the scariest looking human being on the planet. We also get treated to a scene where Gosling stomps a guy’s face in until he’s got his foot stuck in some kind of red velvet pudding, all the while his expression revealing.. well, still nothing. Unfortunately the neighbor chick is stuck in the elevator with him when this happens, and when she gets out she has the best look in the film.. like “Well, you are hot, but I’m not sure I’m really trading up here.”

As the film unravels from one pointless gory scene to the next, we get the coup de gras, a fight to the death scene between Brooks and Gosling. Sigh. Let’s just pretend this happened in the real world for a second. It would go something like this.. Ryan Gosling would cock his fist back and Albert Brooks would either fake, or really have a cardiac episode and pass out. But in Hollywood, or in this case “Indie-wood,” the director attempts to stretch our suspension of disbelief somewhere beyond the scope of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. But, this isn’t the first time I’ve seen this. Some very mediocre mid 90s film had a final battle scene where an ancient James Caan was kicking the shit out of Arnold Schwarzenegger until Arnold distracted him then hit him from behind with something. Now, like then, I call bullshit. So after this final Albert Brooks boss battle, an injured Gosling drives off, and now I have a confession to make. The screen goes completely black for a full 5 minutes and another indie-pop tune comes on. I am not sure if this was by design, or because my version of the DVD was pirated and given to me as a white elephant office Christmas gift (I of course have since destroyed it and notified the proper authorities). So in short, no idea what happens, why, or most importantly, why I should care.

Movies don’t necessarily need a central theme to be good, but they usually have a fucking point. What was this movie’s? Crime is bad, mmmkay? L.A. is a dangerous place? Ryan Gosling shows no emotion, even when he’s murdering you? The dating pool is pretty weak for single moms? What exactly was Winding Refn trying to tell us, other than he can make Ryan Gosling refuse to emote, and slather the screen with dump trucks of blood while appearing all hip and indie-like? Didn’t Tarantino corner that market then play out that whole genre? I seriously don’t get it. This film got nominated for all kinds of awards. I give it my “best attempt to turn a decent car-chase flick into a boring, pointless, gore porn exercise… starring Ryan Stoneface Gosling.” I give it 4 extended middle fingers out of a possible zero. Bottom line: Ok.. it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen. But it was damn disappointing, and that’s what pisses me off the most. The “fun” moments are separated by intolerably long swaths of nothing, or bloodbaths. Most of which were completely unnecessary. So here’s a hint: When a director is trying to be “edgy,” by a) having some bullshit 3-part name with an action verb in it, or b) raining down blood and guts to reinforce a non-existent point, the critics will love it…but you might not.

RED


Movie Review: RED

Year: 2010

Stars: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Brian Cox, and a bunch of other old and typically respectable actors

Stars: 2 out of 5

RED is a shoot ‘em up, blow lots of shit up, pseudo comedy/action movie with an impressive cast of real veteran actors all teetering on the edge of washed up. They even dug up the still breathing corpse of Ernest Borgnine for a cameo most people under the age of 70 probably didn’t catch. I’ll warn you now there are “spoilers” all over, but I’m not sure I’m spoiling anything, because nothing in this movie makes any fucking sense and I’m not sure the producers really cared, as long as lots of shit blew up and John Malkovich got to act zany. Yee haw.

The movie starts with Bruce Willis playing the same character Bruce Willis is contractually obligated to play in 97.4% of the films he has ever made. An invincible assassin with a heart of gold risking his life for some chick he barely knows. He barely knows this chick, some headset drone in the government pension office Bruce is sweet on based on her voice, but he’s been stalking her (in a totally innocuous way.. I guess) and then goes as far as to break into her house and kidnap her (again in a hee-hee how cute way?) when he realizes his old bosses at the CIA want to kill him and by extension her, for some reason that is never really made clear, but has something to do with Richard Dreyfuss being a dick. In order to try to get as many of his old friends and colleagues killed, he enlists their help, at which point the onslaught of veteran award winning actors having their talents’ completely fucking wasted for lack of any coherent script or character development, begins.

We first meet John Malkovhich’s character, who is paranoid and seems to have Asperger’s. That’s all we ever really know about him. Then we meet Morgan Freeman, who “dies” 3 or 4 different times, in the kind of bad soap opera way, wherein the director wants to make it perfectly clear he’s dead, only to pop up again in the next episode, with some half-baked explanation. But in this case we don’t even get that, just a few wry Morgan Freeman smirks and catchphrases, which I guess we accept because Morgan freeman is a bad-ass spy, and they are like, hard to kill and stuff. Eventually, Freeman’s character finally is killed off, I think, fulfilling the Hollywood obligation to sacrifice the leading black character. Nice going. However, seeing as how Freeman wasn’t playing a veteran detective teaching his young partner the ropes to catch a serial killer, this must have been a stretch.

Next up is Brian Cox. An excellent actor who plays a former KGB agent now buddy-buddy with the old geezer ex-CIA crew. Just in case the audience was born after 1991 or retarded, we’re reminded that the Russians used to be the bad guys. Cox is the most disappointing in this film. He’s probably the best actor of the bunch here, and gets to play a boring, soft-spoken former Ruskie/”now-I-love-this-US-of-A” caricature, who just seems to want to do nothing but bang Helen Mirren (she’s up next). Helen Mirren is a nice grandmotherly older British gal, who offers tea and biscuits to visitors, but used to be an MI6 assassin and still loves to kill people. Wait a minute!!?? A NICE LITTLE OLD LADY WHO LIKES SHOOTING PEOPLE?? THAT’S FUCKING HYSTERICAL!! OH SWEET IRONY!

Anyway, at this point I should explain the rest.. Bruce Willis is being hunted by a young, cocky, hot-shot CIA up-and-comer. We know he’s cocky because after the first 5 or 6 times Bruce Willis has kicked his ass and almost killed him, he’s still taunting Willis with things like “Nice try grandpa” and “You should have stayed retired.” He says this, literally, with his arm in a sling and fresh bruises from his most recent ass kickings at Bruce’s hand. Not sure if it’s supposed to be funny or just idiotic writing, but more about that later. Also Richard Dreyfuss is some kind of evil weapons dealer (as opposed to the heroic family-oriented ones often depicted in Hollywood) and there’s something about the Vice President and a bunch of civilians killed 20 years ago in South America. How or why this is an issue at all, I don’t know, as in real life this is basically a daily occurrence known as: “a military operation based on actionable intelligence with some unfortunate collateral casualties.”

So anyway, the neurotic former government desk job chick from the beginning turns out to be a natural spy/expert in foiling CIA interrogations. The geezer crew hatch some plot to kidnap the vice president, Brian Cox comes to the rescue of his British girlfriend who likes making tea and shooting people, and the rest of the script seems like it was scribbled hastily on cocktail napkins right as “last call” was announced in some Hollywood bar. This isn’t surprising though. This movie was pretty damn ambitious. An A-list cast in a wild combination huge budget action movie/comedy all crammed into a neat and tidy 111 minutes for mass-consumption. I actually give a lot of props to the idea. But it’s obvious where corners needed to be cut to make it to the screen. The script plays out like junior college stream of consciousness filmmaking 101. The character development is nil, relying on the faces of actors we recognize playing the usual kind of parts they play. Finally, the movie ends, with no real resolution to the plot, no real “bad guy” is identified in the grand conspiracy except Richard Dreyfuss, and some people die. The geezer crew and the “new girl” drive off into the sunset with the same dialogue and blocking I swear was stolen from the last scenes of any of the Star Trek part IV-VI movies.

In summation, RED had its moments.. but they were few and far between. There were some cool special effects and spy shit, but since you weren’t sure if you were watching a comedy or a spy thriller, it was hard to get into. There was a fantastic cast, and none of them did much of anything memorable, save for a few catchphrases. Bottom line: If you are bored out of your skull and need 90+ minutes to kill, or a bunch of great actors just showing their award-winning faces on screen is enough for you, or the thought of a little old British lady with a gun just tickles the shit out of your funny bone, check it out. Otherwise, don’t bother.