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“The Expendables”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s the Ocean’s Eleven of action movies! But sadly the comparison ends there. If only the movie could be nearly as good as its marketing hype. Although, I do like the fact that Sylvester Stallone is trying to bring back the old school action movie format. The Expendables definitely has the old school feel, but unfortunately it also feels like they might be pulling there punches when it comes to the violence. Sure the action sequences are incredible, but there’s also this grittiness that seems to be missing that I fondly remember from the old Commando days. That’s not to say you don’t get graphic violence in The Expendables; there are plenty of bloody head-shots to be had, but in this day and age you need to step it up if you want to stand out.

The Expendables is about a group of mercenaries that are hired to infiltrate a South American country and overthrow its ruthless dictator. Of course things are not what they seem, and Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) and his band of brothers find themselves in way over their heads. I also want to make it perfectly clear that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis are in this movie for a whole five minutes. This is not the ultimate team-up the trailers would have you believe, and half that scene has already been shown in the trailers and TV ads. Those of you overly hyped to go see this movie are going to see it not matter what I say. But, that’s fine because that’s the whole point of the movie. If I was still a 12 year old boy that had to sneak into rated R movies, I would probably love it too. Hold on! Before you even start writing your hate comments, because I just insulted you by calling you an immature 12 year old, let me explain. I think the reason, for me anyway, that the old school action movies were so badass, was because you weren’t supposed to be watching it in the first place. When we were kids we didn’t have the internet. We had to sneak off to the video store and rent a bunch of Disney videos, while cleverly slipping a copy of Raw Deal into the middle of the pile, and just hope that no one at the counter notices it during checkout. Kids today… Holy shit! Did I really just say that! Fuck, I’m getting old. (sigh) Kids today have it way too easy. They can Netflix anything without even leaving their house. Hell, they can even stream it instantly. Where’s the adventure in that? I had to sneak out of the house, ride my bike 5 miles, and hope that the clerk at the video store didn’t deny me the rental. We’re talking at least two weeks of plotting and planning here. Okay, I’m getting a little off the point. The point is, even though those action movies of the ‘80s were incredibly awesome, there were other elements that added to our enjoyment of them at the time. The Expendables tries to bring back that old feeling, but it falls short. Not only because times are different, but also because the movie just isn’t that good. The story and characters leave a lot to be desired, but they’re watchable. But, let’s be honest. It’s the action that counts, and it’s also the one thing this movie has plenty of. But is it enough? I would have to say, no. It just doesn’t get to that point where I say, “Wow that was a great ride!” I know. I know. It doesn’t matter what I say, you’re still going to see it. Well, I hope you have fun.

Rating:


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“Cop Out”
a review by Darby O’Gill

Now, I’m not going to make some cheesy pun about Cop Out being a cop out, that would be… Well, a cop out. Here’s the most confusing thing about Cop Out. No, it’s not the fact that Kevin Smith chose this to be the first film he would direct that he didn’t write. Although, that is rather odd and we’ll come back to that. No, the most confusing thing about Cop Out is that it’s about fifteen years too late to the party. What do I mean by that? Well, this is the sort of buddy cop comedy you would come to expect in 1996, but it’s 2010. I don’t know about you, but I would call that late to the party. Even in 1996, this would not have been considered a good movie by any means, but it might have been able to fly under the radar a little better at the time. Now it just sticks out like a sore thumb, and stands no chance of making it. Here is the confusing bit; I wouldn’t say this is a bad movie. I wouldn’t say it’s a good movie either. No, I wouldn’t really say I cared either way. The truly confusing thing is that when I left the theatre I knew it was bad, but the more I thought about it, the more funny moments I recalled. Overall, the movie is a train wreck, but there are some really funny scenes in the film, and part of me thinks that they might be worth seeing. I sort of think this is the type of movie that if I see it again, I might like it more the second time around. For right now, I’m on the fence. When it comes out on DVD, I’ll be sure to let you know if my opinion has changed, but until then you can find me over here on the fence.

In Cop Out, Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan play partners that have been suspended for their unorthodox police methods. Imagine that. And, when Willis realizes that being suspended means he won’t be able to pay for his daughter’s wedding, he decides to sell his rare baseball card to raise the money. You’ll never guess what happens next. That’s right! When the baseball card gets stolen, the suspended officers find themselves smack dab in the middle of New York’s biggest bust. Hellooooo, 1996!

Let’s get back to the mystery that is Kevin Smith directing this film. Let’s be honest, you don’t go see a Kevin Smith movie for the directing, you go see it for his writing. Now, I personally like Kevin Smith. Sure he’s had a few misses along the way, but overall I think he’s done a great job of staying true to his style of filmmaking… Until now of course. And, why is that? My guess would be, he wants to get into the game. And, who could blame him? With Peter Jackson going from Bad Taste to Oscar, and Jon Favreau finding his way to mainstream blockbusters, it’s only natural that Kevin would one day want to do the same. A studio like Warner Bros. is not going to just hand a project to someone like Silent Bob. No, their going to want to make sure that he is willing to play ball first. If I had to guess, I would say Cop Out wasn’t something Kevin asked to do, as much as it was assigned to him. A hazing if you will, to test the View Askew waters for Warner Bros. I’m really hoping that this is the case, and if so, I’m not going to rush to judgment just yet. I’m going to wait to see his next project before doing so, but until then we’ll just have to wait and see.

Rating:


“Surrogates”
a review Darby O’Gill

In the near future people no longer leave there homes, instead they jack-in to a surrogate robot that they operate like a car. The really trippy thing is that surrogates also drive cars, so a person can operate a surrogate and a car at the same time. Did I just blow your minds? The movie is based on the 2005 comic book series The Surrogate and takes place in a world of robots, where crime is almost nonexistent, almost. When an unknown device seems to kill not only Surrogates, but also their operators, Detective Greer, played by Bruce Willis, finds himself investigating the first homicide in over a decade. Surrogates, being machines, are stronger and faster than a normal person. They can also be or look like anything. It’s the internet in everyday life. What looks like a hot twenty-eight year old girl, is really a fat fifty-four year old man. It kind of makes you wonder why there isn’t more crime. If anyone could look like anything, why wouldn’t they be robbing banks or something? I’m getting off subject, but it’s a good point. Back to the story at hand; while investigating the murders, Greer’s Surrogate gets destroyed, and Greer is forced to go out into the world without a Surrogate to continue his investigation, and uncovers a much deeper plot against the Surrogates. It’s really cool the way they deal with this part of the story. Willis’ character is just overwhelmed by his senses the first time out on his own. You really realize these people have been locked up in their houses with no real contact with the outside world, and it’s almost like quitting an addiction. At times you really can’t help but notice just how close we could be to that. Every day something else comes out that keeps us in touch with people, but without ever having to see them. It’s kind of scary. Even as I’m writing this, I’m thinking wow this sounds like a great movie, and I would like nothing more than to tell you that this is the case, but sadly it’s not. The problem with Surrogates is that they had a chance to do something new, but instead just seemed to play it safe, and go through the motions. This truly could have been the next Blade Runner, well okay, maybe not. But, it could have been something great. The ideas are there, but everything you see is something you’ve pretty much seen before. It’s a fun movie and well worth seeing, but I just wish they would have taken it to that next level. Would somebody, please give Hollywood their balls back! We’re so close to getting something good here. The one thing I really did like wasn’t in the movie. Elizabeth Banks! I’ve always enjoyed her performances in movies, but I think I’m an even bigger fan of hers now. She was an executive producer on this film, and yet she doesn’t appear in it. As a producer, she could have easily given herself a role in the movie, but she didn’t. The only time most actors produce a project is to guarantee they can be in it, but not Ms. Banks. It says a lot about her character, and I am now a bigger fan because of it.

Rating:
3 Little People