The Iceman-Rent It
Final Rating: 7.2/10
This true story of Richard Kuklinski had one of the best performances of last year/this year (depending on when in theaters you saw it) by Michael Shannon. Shannon tosses this movie with one hand over buildings as its main catalyst. Scrap Shannon and you have a decent gangster movie with some pretty shots and some typical plot points. What keeps this movie from being solely a one man show are the performances by Ray Liotta (who seems comfortable in his safe zone) and, surprisingly, Chris Evans (who is far out of his norm and does a pretty good job). The escalation of Kuklinski may be too fast, however, as we find him going from being timid about having to kill people to being an expect instantly. For a film that tries to dive into the mind of a killer, especially the mind of someone as twisted as Kuklinski, we only get the surface because of the directing and screenplay, and any additional depth is from Shannon himself. Amidst token gangster film scenes you will find some rewarding and emotional scenes, particularly with Kuklinski’s family, and both Shannon and Winona Ryder save these scenes from being overly melodramatic. While the movie is conventional with its rise of a criminal monster and the downfall of a family man, it is still worth watching because of how frightening Shannon is in this role. Think of it as a great song on an album you bought just for that song. The other songs/aspects may work with you, and they may not, but it’s still worth it to see that song, and that performance, in context.
Now You See Me-Skip It
Final Rating: 4.0/10
There is some good acting and a nice concept. Now, with such a vapid introduction mimicking a magician’s gift of distracting an audience, let’s actually go in depth with this movie as to why it just wasn’t that good. The fact that the movie insists that magicians work so easily is quite insulting to the craft. To put the magicians here into perspective, let’s compare them to another profession: Cooking. The magicians in this movie can do anything in such a short amount of time. To compare it to a chef’s work, it’s as if you went up to a chef and asked for risotto because they said they can cook you a steak, and, hey, if a chef can cook one thing they can presumably cook all things. A magician cannot just do anything just because he/she can do tricks, and there are two points that make this even more painfully obvious. Firstly, the four horsemen are known for their specific talents (one can work as a mentalist and hypnotist, another works better with sleight of hand, and so forth), so insisting that they can just pull off any tricks of any kind is ludicrous. Then you have Morgan Freeman’s character who works on revealing magic tricks. Seeing the amount of time and effort that goes into these tricks makes it even more impossible to believe that they can be pulled off so quickly. Also, the odd trick (like Isla Fischer floating in the air) almost made me want to saw off my own head (and not as an illusion either). Lastly, with such a big twist at the ending, when the entire movie is explained, is plopped onto the movie so effortlessly and with barely any explanation, thus sticking out for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t see the ending coming, and at least it wasn’t predictable right? That doesn’t mean it’s a good twist. The shots are unenjoyable because of how dizzying the camera work is, the story and plot points are insulting, and the movie is just an overall disappointment.
Final Rating: 4.5/10
Some people may like this joke. I don’t care for it. I do enjoy movies that are so bad or overly silly that they are good, don’t get me wrong. Sharknado is not one of those movies. Like Snakes on a Plane (only on steroids), Sharknado is a ridiculous premise that works because you know what to expect. Well, to be more honest, it works depending on the viewer. I can see why people would like this movie, but to me it is something I could even possibly enjoy more on YouTube by watching specific shots of awesome kills separately. The references to other movies are excruciatingly obvious and are possibly more painful than the teeth of the soaring aquatic demons within the film. I, perhaps, am reading too deeply into this, but a movie can satirize a genre, be silly and still be worthwhile. Cabin in the Woods last year had moments that were possibly even more over the top, especially during the film’s climax, and yet I left the movie with a piece of perspective on the film’s genre and its formula. With Sharknado, I just got one statement: Horror and action movies that try too hard are silly. I suggest that the movie is one that should be rented and not skipped solely because I now that there is an audience out there expecting a plethora of random “awesome” events, and to be fair, Sharknado would deliver for those audiences. For the rest of us, it clearly doesn’t want to cater to us, and the verdict of whether or not it should be checked out is up to you, because it won’t necessarily be inviting.