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3 Second Movie Reviews

3 Second Movie Reviews: 1/1/13

Happy New Year, my devoted, beautiful fans. The Mayans couldn’t kill us, but Christmas doomed our wallets. That makes it tough to see all the great movies hitting theaters. Thank Jeebus for gift cards! This week we’ve reviewed four flicks in theaters and a bunch of flicks new to disc you’re probably itching to spend those gift cards on. Welcome to 3SMR.

In Theaters Now

Django Unchained, (December 2012)

Genre: Western, Drama

Django meets the original Django from the 1966 film titled…Django.

Tarantino does with slavery what he did with World War 2 in this Western revenge thriller. Dialogue is sharp, Western homages come at a fast pace and the intensity will cut you like a knife. Don’t expect non-stop action; it’s more of an epic that’ll tire out the ADD crowd but the blood sprays high and the world always feels real.

And no, I’m not 100% sure if Jamie Foxx’s penis or genitals show up in the film. I wasn’t sure if i was looking at underwear or a lot of pubic hair, but it is in the script which is highlighted in the script review posted this week.

The Story: A-

Revenge films are as strong as the heroes’ reasons to strike down their enemies and we all know how good Tarantino is at making it okay for the hero to enact ultra violence.

Characters and Their Development: A

Every personality is strong either through strength, bravado or weakness as per usual Tarantino; myriad characters are rife with personality due to great dialogue and opportunities to shine.

Overall Grade: A-

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, (December 2012)

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Drama

The dwarf haircuts are rather stupid. Also an explanation as to why the dwarves have Irish/Scottish accents can be found here.

Traditionalists will cry foul at the sometimes not so subtle changes to the book, but for what it’s worth this is epic fantasy to satisfy all audiences. It all looks great and the world is once again fleshed out and real, but it’s too comprehensive and becomes tedious at times. It also occasionally comes off as desperate to connect itself to Lord of the Rings (adding more tediousness) so badly that I can’t help but think this is an extended cut for diehards rather than the potentially perfect theatrical cut.

The Story: C+

The only problem with this flick, since the story is being compressed to fit into 3 movies, is the overly long and tedious action sequences.

Characters and Their Development: B+

The characters are vibrant as ever, although it’s difficult to keep track of all the dwarves especially since most of them get bit parts as comedy relief. Bilbo changes in the story, although it’s more of an awakening then development.

Overall Grade: B

Life of Pi, (November 2012)

Genre: Drama

The film captures magic in a bottle for the most part.

For what it’s worth it’s a good adaptation, although it can’t match the spiritual quality of the book. Well shot, well acted and incredible to look at — the film is strong, but loses much of its meaning due to the literal nature of film.

The Story: C

Sadly the spiritual nature and focus of the first act seems to dissipate as the film progresses to become predominantly a survival story. It’s as if the spiritual aspects are forgotten intentionally.

Characters and Their Development: B-

There are stretches where Pi appears to be lost in thought rather than reflecting on his circumstances but it’s clear by the time we reach the twist something has broken inside him.

Overall Grade: B-

Hitchcock, (November 2012)

Genre: Drama

The best line in the film: “Call me Hitch, hold the cock.”

The relationship between a genius and their spousal (and usually more genius) companion is on display here as Hitchcock films Psycho. The film does a serviceable job getting inside Hitch’s head and uses an interesting concept as he steps into unused scenes from the Psycho book, but the supporting cast is sort of just there. His relationship between his wife is touching and worth a look.

The Story: A-

This film should have been titled, “Hitchcock and Wife” as it’s more about Hitch’s inability to communicate his feelings to his wife and the strength of their bond that’s on display. It’s very well done.

Characters and Their Development: B-

Anthony Hopkins roams the film chewing on the scenery, but the subtle flaws of Hitchcock aren’t nearly strong enough. More insight into his life prior to the film may have helped.

Overall Grade: B

Recently Released on Disc

Looper, (September 2012)

Genre: Action, Drama

Gordon-Levitt as Bruce Willis: How did they do?

Close enough?

Most won’t notice the impeccable pacing and well written story as this neo-noir plays with revelation on top of revelation. The sci-fi world and premise keep things unique and its characters honest. Its only weakness is its solely about character; there’s so much social commentary left to linger on screen.

The Story: B

The time travel makes sense (about as much as time travel can), but the villain and world are confusing. Isn’t it usually the other way around?

Characters and Their Development: B+

Watch as a man who will become a world renowned criminal learns to love a woman and her child.

Overall Grade: A-

Premium Rush, (August 2012)

Genre: Action

Essentially this is a chase film and it goes both ways. The chasers chase and be chased.

This bicycle messenger flick keeps things fast and interesting with some incredible traffic chase scenes and a story told out of chronological order. One neat effect shows the characters’ options through traffic to avert death before he chooses one. The film adds tricks like this to keep it fun and exciting.

The Story: C

It’s a chase picture about people who ride bicycles for a living. What do you expect?

Characters and Their Development: A-

Michael Shannon, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and David Koepp make a movie…stop me if you’ve heard this one. They can do no wrong with character.

Overall Grade: B

Killer Joe, (July 2012)

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Suspense

“No I’ve never been to this winery before.”

I’m not sure anyone going in blind will see any of this film coming. It’s intense due to that but the acting is top notch as well. Matthew McConaughey is powerful as a psycho cop in this white trash focused hitman picture. You’ll laugh a bit, be shocked and not know what to think and may even start laughing. A surprising gem in the 2012 year.

The Story: B

Adapted from a play this is a character piece masquerading as a thriller. I’m not sure much of the plot adds up in the end.

Characters and Their Development: A-

Everyone is exceptional as worthless hick losers except for Emile Hirsch. I didn’t believe he’s as stupid as he’s supposed to appear either due to his acting or appearance.

T&A: A

Guys get a lot of breasts and below the waist and gals (or gay guys) you get McConaughey’s butt and chest. Win win!

Overall Grade: B+

Total Recall, (August 2012)

Genre: Action

Even in the opening scene they can see the angry Arnold fans lining up.

This is wall to wall action with a sprinkling of cool real world science fiction elements like computerized glass and palm phone/computers to name a few. Biel and Beckinsale are uber-hot and Colin Farrell adds just enough emotional resonance to make the flick matter. It’s worth a look on the big screen due to the special effects alone!

The Story: B

This is a chase film and nothing much more. Replace the original films location of Mars with an elevator through Earth. Replace the rich humor and weirdness of the original with slick tech and Blade Runner envy.

Characters and Their Development: D

Do pretty faces count?

Overall Grade: B-

The Dark Knight Rises, (July 2012)

Genre: Drama, Action

Before she was in Les Misérables there was…Cats!

You’ll be glued to your seats with the stakes raised and a formidable and frighteningly chilling Bane. The climax is grand and the journey of Bruce Wayne (but not Batman) and the overall meaning are strong. Dare I say one of the weakest Nolan films to date? The pacing and story are convoluted at times and it never feels like a perfectly completed work like the previous films.

The Story: B+

Plot holes aside the film does a decent job concluding this masterful series.

Characters and Their Development: B-

Bruce Wayne’s escape from the prison is quick, colorless, and lacking. Catwoman is more of a bit part than an actual character.

Overall Grade: B+

ParaNorman, (October 2012)

Genre: Comedy, Animation, Horror

Somebody needs a Scooby snack.

The animation is a bit bland (especially considering the filmmakers’ previous film Coraline), but the story is clever and there’s enough laugh out loud moments to keep you interested. It probably should win best animated film of the year.

The Story: B

The Sixth Sense meets the Salem Witch trials meets Scooby Doo. Fun and interesting.

Characters and Their Development: B

Norman’s fat friend steals the show.

Overall Grade: B

Savages, (July 2012)

Genre: Suspense, Drama

For two guys who smoke weed and drink all day they sure are ripped.

There’s a good movie in here somewhere, but this is not it. The film does well to set up its premise and characters in the first act, but then devolves into a psuedo The Usual Suspects, who is double crossing who, thriller.

The concept of the high tech young American weed dealers versus the crumbling old school Mexican cartel is interesting, but unfortunately this movie is more about a strange threesome relationship packages as a brainless summer flick.

The Story: C

A great first act gets lost in its second and decides to go full kamakaze in the third.

Characters and Their Development: D+

Again…do pretty faces count?

Overall Grade: C

Oldy, But Goody?

Flashdance, (January 1983)

Genre: Drama

This film probably inspired more spoofs than actual views.

Pretty awesome if you ask me. Sexy with a lot of great cinematography and fun story. It is fluff, but it’s good fluff that rivals the fluff of today.

The Story: C

So the ending is a joke and the protagonists’ lover is unrealistic, but by god this is about as good as any sports film and it’s about dance!

Characters and Their Development: C-

I’m not so sure it was a good idea to have a poor girl trying to make it meet a guy who’ll let her retire to make babies.

Overall Grade: C

All-Star Superman, (February 2011)

Genre: Action, Drama, Animation

You be the judge. Is this as good as…


Not as strong as the comic, but who are we kidding as it won’t ever compete with Frank Quitely’s amazing pencil work. That said it’s still strong in emotion and wonder. A true classic in comic form and a decent watch in video form.

The Story: C

About as strong as the comic minus a good chunk of the story.

Characters and Their Development: B-

You will fall in love with Christina Hendricks’s Lois Lane and feel for Superman in his last adventure.

Overall Grade: C

The Postman Always Rings Twice, (May 1946)

Genre: Drama

At the time this was equivelent to NC-17 today.

Besides a femme fatale that is more ornery than dangerous this film doesn’t cut it as a film noir. Aside from the strange explanation for the title (we all get one free pass at murder!) the lawyer steals the show as the most interesting part.

The Story: B

It’s noir so plotting murder? Check. Murder? Check. Femme fatale? Check.

Characters and Their Development: B

By film’s end you’ll feel for the protagonist. The poor sap.

Overall Grade: B


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