Matthew McConaughey

The Dark Tower

Year: 2017
Directed By: Nikolaj Arcel
Written By: Akiva Goldsman, Jeff Pinkner, Anders Thomas Jensen, and Nikolaj Arcel (so many writers…a wonder the script was a blur right?) Based on the The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

RYAN’S REVIEW

I’m one of those dedicated readers who climbed the tower all the way to the top and saw what was through the doorway of fate for Roland of Gilead. So I knew better than to expect too much from this movie. I mean for starters it seems a little baffling for several thousand pages to be condensed into an hour and a half movie. Beyond that there is just no way this story was ever going to translate to the screen the way we wanted it to. Considering all of that from the beginning puts this film in an interesting perspective. So when I received this movie as a Christmas present I was delighted to add it to the collection.

I love Idris Elba, I mean who doesn’t think Stringer Bell is the shit right? He’s a cool guy and I think he looks really good on paper but in this movie he seems like he doesn’t really know what to do with the character. In this movie he delivers one of the worst lines I have ever heard. Shortly after Jake discovers his mother has been killed the two find themselves sitting on a dock and Roland looks to Jake and says “I will kill him” or something to that effect. It’s a poorly written and poorly delivered line that just doesn’t hit the spot. I don’t think Idris Elba ever bothered to read the books and only went by the convoluted and regularly rewritten script. He has several moments in this one that make it worth it, but overall I just don’t think his heart was in it. I did think he looked cool as the gunslinger and I didn’t mind the race bending.

Matthew McConaughey on the other hand was simply overplaying his part. I do get the feeling that McConaughey read the books and got really invested into the part but I think he was over doing it nonetheless.  There are better ways to convey this type of bad guy and I don’t think McConaughey pulled it off at all. He’s too super powered as a magician that likes to make people stop breathing with the oh so subtle phrase of “Stop breathing.” Walter Paddock, Walter O Dim, The Man in Black are all incarnations of Randall Flagg and McConaughey had nothing on Jamey Sheridan. Yes, I’m comparing McConaughey to the television adaptation of The Stand and determining he sucked at this part.

I did think that Tom Taylor was fantastic in the part of Jake and probably gave the strongest performance among this film of giants. It’s sad that in a film with two such well known leads that the best performance is giving by the kid with barely any acting credits to his name. I don’t know much about this kid but looking over his IMDB page shows he came from television and I hope the future is bright for him. This movie certainly isn’t going to get his foot in the door to bigger parts but I think he showed a lot of promise in the role.

What I do like about this movie is that I feel like it is full on Stephen King. I am a big fan of King and noticed many easter eggs referencing the universe he has created in this writing. Off the top of my head I remember references to Cujo, It, and the Shining among others. There are probably tons more that I either didn’t notice or forgot to mention. I love Stephen King and the interesting ways his books manage to tie all together. I can’t claim to be a mega reader who has read all of his books but I have read many and more than most.

With the way Stephen King sells books it’s understandable why filmmakers would want to develop any of his works into featured films but I’m at a loss on what they were thinking when it came to this series. There are just so many problems in adapting it. First of all there are seven books in the series, eight if you count Wind Through the Keyhole, which is a lot for any film to take on. Where do you even start? You can’t really start with The Gunslinger because that book is barely readable much less adaptable. Had King not been so persistent this series would have never got off the ground. The second book, The Drawing of Three, is far and away superior to the first book in every way but it is so out there that I couldn’t imagine how someone would adapt it. When you go on from there it only gets weirder with a talking train, a really long flashback, then all hell breaks loose with worlds colliding. It just doesn’t translate into a film and they were never going to get it right in a short film at that.

What I don’t understand is how they approached this. If you aren’t franchise building with a property like this I don’t know what the point is and they obviously didn’t build this film for sequels. Killing off the main antagonist in the first film for example leaves little to build on and where are all the other characters besides Roland and Jake? If they were going to bring this story to the big screen they needed Eddie Dean at the very least, and I for one really would have liked to see Oy. The Dark Tower series is a rich and fantastic story but it’s really really weird and it just doesn’t make sense to adapt it with one film. You’re only going to disappoint people like me and you certainly aren’t going to make new fans with a movie that makes little sense to those who didn’t read the story.

I watched a YouTube video recently where the commentator listed this as one of the worst films of the year, and I can’t really say she was wrong. I found things that I liked about it but I was being generously optimistic in doing so. I liked the references to King’s other work and some of the action was satisfying enough. In the action I liked that they came up with all those nifty reloading tricks instead of having Roland twirl his gun like a gunslinger in a western. I always find it silly for people to twirl and shoot at targets in western movies. These shenanigans just seem unnecessary and foolish. A real badass doesn’t need to show off with tricks. Roland isn’t showing off his skill in this movie we simply see it through the action of him doing it.

If you made that long and arduous journey to the top of the tower like I did I’d be really interested to hear your thoughts on the film. I can’t say I loved this movie by any means but I honestly can’t say I hated it either. I found enough I enjoyed to add it to the collection but my bias is well noted here. I came into it with low enough expectations to avoid utter disappointment and found things worth wild. If you’re willing to do that then I think this movie might be worth your time. If you are unfamiliar with The Dark Tower or Stephen King then don’t even bother because it definitely isn’t worth your time.

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Interstellar

Amber and I don’t get out to the theater that much these days. Life with two full time jobs and two rapidly growing children leaves us with little time for such a luxury. It requires the movies chosen to watch to come with a lot of confidence that it will be worth seeing in the atmosphere that has become such a rare chance. Amber surprised me last week with tickets to Interstellar and I was thrilled. I had even told people recently that it there was a movie worth us making to trip to the theater to see it was that one. Christopher Nolan’s newest had all my confidence that it would be incredible and mind blowing. I knew little of what to expect and appreciated that all the more. After such films like Memento and Inception I was certain that this movie was going to be a window into the future of films. Something that would be visually stunning and exciting in ways I could never have imagined.

Ladies and gentlemen, I was wrong. I walked away bewildered and confused as I checked the IMDB rating and saw a high rating of 9.0 out of 10. What did these people watch? I was walking to my car feeling like I had just watched a three hour Lincoln commercial. This movie bored me out of my mind. I specifically feel like it was nothing but a lot of monologues, a lot of crying, and an extremely long running time devoid of any excitement. I actually spent the last 15-20 minutes begging Amber for us to just get up and leave. At a certain point I was just so disappointed I didn’t care how it ended and had no interest in waiting to find out. Unfortunately I suffered through that ending that did nothing to change my already established opinion.

I think the biggest problem with this film is the story. I can appreciate that it was merely a platform to showcase the possibilities of certain scientific advancements but that isn’t good enough. They weren’t amazing enough to compensate for how everything unfolded. I think the biggest problem is how Matthew McConaughey comes to pilot the NASA mission. After a really long set up he figures out some coordinates by looking at the bookshelf and deciphering the code left on the wall from fallen books. OK, I could stick with them through that. Despite how strange that it is it doesn’t compare to how stupid it is when he is arrested at the super secret NASA facility before they more or less say “hey since you are here, can you be out last hope to save mankind?” Did the super secret NASA people not have an actual plan in place to the point they’ll just put everything in the hands of the guy that unknowingly showed up at the gate unannounced? Weak, and frankly I expect better from the Nolan team.

Another big problem I had is the role of Matt Damon. Does he qualify as the antagonist of the film? I think the character wasn’t really that bad of an idea but weak if that is all you are going to offer the audience. Here I was waiting for something to finally happen in the movie and when he makes his move I felt like he was just getting in the way of something that should be getting a lot better any moment now. When the realization that he was all that was going to happen actually donned on me I was so disappointed.

Now, another thing I just can’t deal with. I am no physicist and only vaguely familiar with science in general, but can it really be possible to convey advanced physics by way of Morse Code on a wrist watch? When his daughter figures everything out so quickly I just wanted to throw my hands up in disgust because it was all just so stupid. The new undiscovered fifth dimension being love made me want to scratch my eyes out. It immediately made the whole thing even worse than I felt like it had already been. Who knows? I get the idea that the whole thing hinges on technology and understanding that we haven’t yet acquired but it does nothing to make me hate the movie any less.

I do hate it too. I can find no other emotion for something that amounts to such a complete and utter disappointment. Christopher Nolan you let me down, I still believe in you but I consider this far and away your worst film. I think the robots were cool but that is the only good thing I can say about this movie. When I saw the trailer and the scene in which waves are mistaken for mountains I was so hopeful. I thought it was a glimpse of the possibilities and couldn’t wait to see what else was in store. The imaginative nature of the idea that on another planet waves might behave in ways we would never consider seemed like a taste of more to come. It wasn’t. I couldn’t even appreciate that scene because I was so excited about what else lay beyond that hadn’t been glimpsed in the trailer.

If you watched this movie and loved it please explain to me why. I was just so utterly bored and disappointed that maybe my opinion is overly negative at the moment. If this wasn’t an incredibly boring movie in which little actually happens tell me I need to see it again. I will need strong encouragement to ever try to get through this again. If you are on the fence about seeing it I would suggest you jump to the “No” side and spare yourself the loss of ignorance. If you don’t know how boring it is you can’t feel the disappointment I personally felt. If not then seek another opinion or make your argument by leaving a comment.

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Year: 2003
Directed By: Donald Petrie
Written By: 5 different people are credited with the writing.

RYAN’S REVIEW

When I was in college I had to write a paper about something I wasn’t interested in or something like that.  I can’t remember what the assignment was specifically but it was along the lines of doing something I wouldn’t normally do.  I chose the laziest route available and simply watched a movie I would normally never see.  I have never been one to sit through a chick flick because I think they are all relatively the same and have little point to them.  They aren’t made for me and I have always avoided wasting my time with them.  This movie just happened to be the chick flick that had just hit the video stores and I bought a used copy at Blockbuster.

This movie is pretty typical really and it is pointless, but I could have made worse choices when picking up the chick flick for my assignment.  This movie has a good cast and it is funny albeit stupid overall.  Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey have good chemistry with one another, something they have exploited in a few films together.  In supporting roles are Adam Goldberg, Thomas Lennon, and Kathryn Hahn who are all really funny.  I think Thomas Lennon is hilarious and I really like how he pops up in everything in roles like this.

This movie isn’t anything special but it is a funny battle of the sexes story.  I only bought it for the paper I had to write but I kept it because I did enjoy the movie.  To this day it is the only chick flick in the collection but it has its place on the shelf.  This movie has its moments and those moments make it worth your time.  If you find yourself in a position where you have to watch a chick flick you could do a lot worse than this one.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I am not a huge fan of chick flicks, as they call them, but this one takes the cake on the genre. I thoroughly like this one and it can still make me laugh the entire time. I really like Kate Hudson. She is cool and suave and I just think she is really funny. This movie really plays on how males and females react and interact in relationships, specifically in the beginning.

Here is the poster for this movie. Blah. It’s nothing special. I even hate the typography. It’s a really long title for a movie, compared to other movies and there was a lot of room to do something super creative with the title, but they completely bombed it. The colors are also green and red and the movie doesn’t take place nor have anything to do with Christmas. You have to be careful using those colors together, so another fail. The movie may be good but the poster fails in comparison.

NEXT MOVIE: The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

Magic Mike

Hey you guys, it’s actually Amber. I know, I know. I can’t believe Ryan wouldn’t want to write a review about Magic Mike. So here I am writing a special review.

My friends and I went out after work last night to get dinner and then to see Magic Mike. It was such an incredibly fun night. This movie is just a lot of fun. Of course, I say that meaning this is a lot of fun if men are your thing. I can’t see Ryan ever, ever watching this movie.

Anyway, to the point here, what is Magic Mike about? It’s about Mike, this 30 year old super hottie played by Channing Tatum. He is a roofer by day, stripper by night and makes specialty furniture in his free time and building furniture ultimately is his passion in life. A chance meeting with Adam, played by Alex Pettyfer, ends up being a friendship in which he becomes close to Adam’s sister, (Cody Horn). He brings Adam into the stripper world where we meet the boss of the club, Dallas, played by Matthew McConaughey. Alright, Alright, Alright. Ladies, you probably see more of Matthew in this movie than you have ever seen before. One of the ending scenes leaves super little to the imagination. Another notable name in the stripping troupe is Joe Manganiello, and he plays Big Dick Richie.

[Click on the character names above to see a yummy picture from the movie]

Because the theater was filled with mostly women, we all screamed when it started and laughed throughout. This movie is no Oscar worthy film, it isn’t moving and the love story is hardly a love story at all, but this movie is SO incredibly fun. We all had a blast and the men are smoking hot. Why not just go ahead and make it a girls night and go see it.

Have Fun!

-A