Archive for April, 2011

There is car chases and shootouts to spare in FAST FIVE

Posted in Reviews on April 29, 2011 by Steve Mesa

With Vin Diesel and Paul Walker returning in Fast & Furious, their adventure continues as they are on the run from the law in the latest installment of the franchise, Fast Five.

After escaping from jail, Dom Torretto (Vin Diesel) escapes to Rio de Janeiro along with former federal agent-turned-fugitive Brian O’ Connor (Paul Walker) and Dom’s sister Mia (Jordana Brewster), where they find themselves on the wrong side of a heist-gone-wrong organized by a corrupt businessman named Reyes (Joaquim de Almeida). While they decide to put a team together in order to steal all of Reyes’ money, a task force led by federal agent Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), who is looking for Torretto in order to be brought back to the United States.

Fast Five may not be a perfect movie overall, but it is the perfect movie to kick off the summer movie season this year. We can admit as a moviegoer that we do not go watch the latest Fast and the Furious film for the acting. We watch these films to escape reality and watch something that will entertain us for at least two hours. This is what Fast Five manages to do. We are greeted with images and slick cars and beautiful women that seem to fall under the category of “Look But Do Not Touch”.

Fast Five is filled with tremendous action sequences that vary from foot chases and fist fights to shootouts and car chases. The opening sequence, which is the daring prison escape orchestrated by Brian and Mia, is only the tip of the iceberg. The big payoff is the last big action set-piece where Dom and Brian are driving through the streets of Rio de Janeiro with a giant vault in tow.

Fast Five not only reunites Diesel, Walker and Brewster for a third time, but a couple of characters from the past film are part of the heist team including Vince (Matt Schulze) from the original film, Roman (Tyrese Gibson) and Tej (Ludacris) from 2 Fast 2 Furious and Han (Sung Kang) from Tokyo Drift.  Along with some familiar faces, there is also some new blood with Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock” playing the badass agent who must arrests Dom. They both fare well in the film, but Johnson Johnson is the extra injection of testosterone that this film warrants especially in scenes with Diesel that ultimately leads up to inevitable fist fight between Diesel and Johnson that takes place in a car garage.

While director Justin Lin is back helming the franchise for the third time, it is this film that shows that he has improved as filmmaker since Fast & Furious. With car crashes and explosions that bombards the silver screen in Fast Five, you would think he was the recent graduate from the school of Michael Bay.

Fortunately for Lin, he can actually orchestrate his action sequences thanks to much more developed, coherent and engaging script by Chris Morgan. The plot combines the “car racing and crime” aspect of the previous films and the Ocean’s Eleven-style heist strategy to deliver a great crime caper film. While Morgan’s script is good overall, there are a couple of dead moments in the film and the dialogue sometimes borders on laughable, especially with the stoic Vin Diesel uttering his lines like it is the most important thing he is ever going to say.

As the best sequel of the franchise, Fast Five unofficially kicks off the summer movie season as a fun film that delivers big action sequences and great characters both old and new. Stay tuned after the credits for a secret scene that features a surprise cameo by Eve Mendes and a hint at a possible sixth installment for the franchise.

While Fast Five is released in theaters nationwide today, the film going to be released locally in a D-Box theater at Muvico Hialeah. A D-Box theater consists of regular movie seats and 27 D-Box seats. According to d-box.com, D-Box technology “uses motion effects specifically programmed for each film…which are sent to a motion generating system integrated within either a platform or a seat. The resulting motion is perfectly synchronized with all onscreen action, creating an unmatched realistic immersive experience.”

Alex Rosario, who is the general manager of Muvico Hialeah 12, says he hopes the movie will bring in a big young crowd this weekend that enjoy films like this.

“Our goal with Fast Five is to have our customers to be aware of our D-Box theater,” Rosario says. “Not only is our midnight show sold out, but two of our Friday night showings are sold out as well.”

Fast Five opens in Hialeah theaters today. For showtimes at Muvico Hialeah 12, go to muvico.com

Fast Five: 4.5 stars out of 5

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“Scream 4” injects new blood into an old franchise

Posted in Reviews on April 13, 2011 by Steve Mesa

Director Wes Craven returns to the franchise that revitalized his career in the 90s with the latest entry of the Scream films, Scream 4. 

Ten years after the events of Scream 3, Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) returns home to Woodsboro in order to promote a self-help book she wrote and reconnect with Sheriff Dewey (David Arquette), Gale (Courtney Cox) and her cousin Jill (Emma Roberts). Not only does her arrival coincides with the 15th anniversary of the events that took place in the first Scream, but it seems like it triggered the return of Ghostface. As the body count begin to rises, Sidney, Gale and Dewey collaborate with Jill and her friends in order to find out what are the new and reinvented “set of rules” to follow in order to survive. 

After directing a couple of stinkers, Wes Craven is back on his game with Scream 4. With the help of Williamson’s script, Craven goes back to the basics by keeping Scream 4 simple: a murder mystery set in high school with the series’ three surviving veterans. As the most brutal and bloodiest movie of the franchise, the film does not hold back on the kill scenes but it also does not go overboard with it as Wes Craven goes for the throat when it comes to dispatching of the would-be victims in all its blood-splattered, guts spilling glory.

Kevin Williamson’s funny and sometimes cynical script is almost on par with the first Scream in which the characters are aware that they are in horror movie. Williamson does a great job in poking fun at the Scream franchise in the form of the Stab movies and the latest “torture porn” horror films that have come out in the last ten years. Williamson incorporates the modern technology into the plot whether it is an iPhone app allows you to sound like Ghostface or web cameras that play a pivotal role in the story and in a suspenseful scene.

The opening sequence for the film, which begins with a sound and shot of a ringing telephone, brilliantly plays on the audience’s expectations on current horror movies that usually open with a murder that would set the story in motion. The last 20-minutes of the movie is awesome with the movie coming in a full vicious circle with characters dropping like flies and shocking revelations that may require a second viewing in order to truly make sense of it all. 

The film does a nice job in focusing on the old and new characters of the movie equally with Cox as the most entertaining of the bunch. Not only does Scream 4 reunite Campbell, Arquette and Cox, but it also injects new blood into the franchise with engaging and genuine characters like Emma Roberts as Sidney’s terrified niece and her friends played by Hayden Penettiere, Rory Culkin and Erik Knudsen. In particular, Panettiere does a good job as a beautiful movie geek in which she manages to create a fascinating character that combines certain character traits from Jamie Kennedy’s Randy and Rose McGowan’s Tatum. 

Thanks to the great screenplay written by Kevin Williamson and the great direction from Wes Craven, Scream 4 is the most entertaining and smartest horror movie of the year.  

 Scream 4 opens nationwide on Friday.

Scream 4: 5 stars out of 5

Film critics on the web

Posted in Features on April 10, 2011 by Steve Mesa

As par tof a project for school, I interviewed three different film critics:  the Infamous Billy the Kidd from InfamousKidd.com, Dan Hudak from HudakOnHollywood.comwho  and Steven Lebowitz from Examiner.com. They either write for a website or they write for their own website.

Opening April 8-Arthur, Hanna, Soul Surfer and Your Highness

Posted in Movie News on April 8, 2011 by Steve Mesa

We have four brand-new movies opening up in the second week of April with a Christian-inspired film, a thriller and two comedies. From what  I have heard from my fellow critics, none of these film are particularly interesting.

A remake of the 1981 Dudley Moore comedy and starring Russell Brand in the title role, Arthur is about a wealthy playboy who will lose his inheritance if he does not married a woman (Jennifer Garner), but he falls for a woman (Greta Gerwig) his family does not apporove of.

Director Joe Wright’s (Atonement) latest film, Hanna, is scored by The Chemical Brothers and features an cast that includes Saoirse Ronan, Eric Bana and Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett. The film is about a 16-year-old girl (Ronan) who is raised and trained by her father (Bana) to be an assassin. She must trek across Europe in order to complete certain missions while being tracked by a ruthless intelligence agent (Blanchett).

Based on true events, Soul Surfer is a movie about professional surfer Bethany Hamilton (AnnaSophia Robb), who summoned the courage to continue surfing after losing an arm in a shark attack.

Director David Gordon Green reunites with his Pineapple Express co-stars James Franco and Dannny McBride to bring  the latest stoner comedy, Your Highness. The film tells the story of two brothers (McBride and Franco) who must rescue a damsel-in-distress (Zooey Deschanel) from an evil wizard (Justin Theroux) and soon “the hilarity begins”. I was not sure if noticed the sarcasm in those words. This movie was reallly disappointing as the movie has some good laughs, but it ends looking and feeling like several failed Saturday Night Live skits put together.

Opening April 1-Hop, Insidious and Source Code

Posted in Movie News on April 1, 2011 by Steve Mesa

A kiddie film, a horror film and an action film all makes up the movies that are out this weekend.

In Hop, Russell Brand plays the voice of E.B., the teenaged son of the Easter Bunny (voiced by Hugh Laurie). He leaves to go to Hollywood to become a famous drummer, but he ends up in Los Angeles where he gets hit by a car driven by an out-of-work slacker (James Marsden).

From the makers of Saw and Paranormal Activity comes the latest horror movie, Insidious. Directed by James Wan, the movie is about a family is haunted by evil spirits when their son is put in a coma and trapped in supernatural realm called The Further thanks to the spirits.

Director Ducan Jones (Moon) makes his second movie, Source Code, which stars Oscar-nominee Jake Gyllenhaal. In the film, Gyllenhaal plays a soldier who wakes up the body of an unknown man and discovers he is part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.