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Movie Review: Glass

Anyone who expected better as a follow-up to Split, well, you get what you deserve. While Glass isn’t quite as terrible as that garbage, this is the proof of the adage that you can add as much mayonnaise as you want to chicken crap, but you’re never going to make chicken salad out of it.

Glass tries to borrow from the good will we have from Shyamalan’s Unbreakable by pitting its protagonist David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and antagonist Elijah “Mr. Glass” (Samuel L. Jackson) against The Horde/The Beast (James McAvoy). At the center of all of this is psychiatrist Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson) whose name couldn’t be any more indicative of her place in the movie– to staple the disparate elements together. Shyamalan no doubt thinks that this is “symbolic.” It’s about as deep as the film goes in its symbolism.

On the plus side, the film does have both Willis and Jackson. The film even lifts entire scenes from Unbreakable and puts them in this movie. Unfortunately, we get too little of them– Jackson plays catatonic for fully two-thirds of the movie. Willis just isn’t given that much to do, except to play hero.

They’re also joined by David’s son Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark) and Elijah’s mother (Charlayne Woodard) reprising their roles from the original cast of Unbreakable, and Casey (Anya Taylor-Joy) returning from Split. These five actually do their best and are mostly watchable. And that is where the good will for this film ends.

For a movie with so many women in it (and Shyamalan pointing out how he oh-so-progressively gender swapped Staple’s character. . . ugh), it’s amazing that the film still fails to pass the Bechdel test. Every single female character in this movie only serves as an adjunct to male characters.

Those who thought McAvoy was good in Split were and still are wrong. Shyamalan learned nothing from the criticisms of that film and, indeed, doubled down on some of the more problematic elements. Since Shyamalan lifted pieces of Unbreakable and Split into this film, I’m going to do the same with quoting my review of Split and McAvoy’s acting, because nothing has changed:

McAvoy’s performance is also. . . just. . . not good. A lot of what he does makes the audience laugh– and not in a good way. Because we are not laughing at a joke or a funny person. We are laughing at a person suffering from a serious mental disorder. That is not ok. And even if it was, so much of what McAvoy is doing is jarring and borrows from the “Master Thespian” school of scenery-chewing “ACT-ING!!!” McAvoy is better than this. And him as a goat-footed faun or a guy who can bend the path of bullets are more believable. At least X-Men doesn’t pretend its superpowers are anything but myth and fantasy.

He does, however, go hard AF in this movie. Some of the scenes where he becomes The Beast, shot in full daylight instead of being obscured by the darkness of Split, are actually kind of cool. If only this movie made a lick of sense on a narrative or thematic level.

Unbreakable was a good movie. It was a love letter to comic books and posits that our stories of super-heroism are based in reality. Glass adds literally nothing to that except to repeat the conceit several times. I also have a hard time taking any film seriously that wants to talk about comics on the meta level who keeps saying “limited edition” in their dialogue when they mean “limited series.” Unbreakable worked, partially, because the superhero explosion hadn’t happened yet. It was a novelty. Glass plays like no one has touched a comic book since 2000 or the world hasn’t changed. Your insights aren’t new or interesting or unique.

Add to that numerous plot holes and a “twist” ending that isn’t really a twist because you see it coming miles away, and this is just unsatisfying. The movie also teases an ending (with a not-so-subtle Die Hard homage) that it then doesn’t do at all. It’s not misdirection. It’s an excuse to do a smaller-scale finale. And actually, the final showdown is one of the parts of the film that works best, but the tease of something else entirely is just annoying.

It’s clear there’s a market for this schlock because so many people went to see (and apparently enjoyed?!?) Split, and those people deserve this movie the same way people who enjoy eating fast food deserve it too. But it’s objectively terrible and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise. The nicest thing I can say about Glass is at least it wasn’t as bad as Split.

1 out of 5 stars

The First Trailer For Red 2

Release Date: August 2, 2013
Genre: Action, Comedy
Director: Dean Parisot
Screenwriter: Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber
Starring: Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Anthony Hopkins
Studio: Summit Entertainment

Plot: In RED 2, the high-octane action-comedy sequel to the worldwide sleeper hit, retired black-ops CIA agent Frank Moses reunites his unlikely team of elite operatives for a global quest to track down a missing portable nuclear device. To succeed, they’ll need to survive an army of relentless assassins, ruthless terrorists and power-crazed government officials, all eager to get their hands on the next-generation weapon. The mission takes Frank and his motley crew to Paris, London and Moscow. Outgunned and outmanned, they have only their cunning wits, their old-school skills, and each other to rely on as they try to save the world—and stay alive in the process.

Movie Review – Looper

LooperI went in to watching my DVD review copy of Looper with a bit of hesitation. I heard a lot about it from friends and saw the praise online. But, when it comes to time travel trippy movies, I find them to be rather hit or miss. I’m often left wondering more about the mechanics of time travel the movie lives by instead of the story presented before me.

In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where a hired gun awaits. Someone like Joe, who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by transporting back Joe’s future self.

I sat down with my bowl of popcorn and my soda and turned down the lights not sure what to expect. What I found was an action packed movie that was more a hard boiled noir/crime story instead of a time travel/sci-fi movie. This was a movie whose character development was centered around people sitting or standing around talking, not in the action or bravado they showed.

Directed by Rian Johnson where left to focus on the characters before us and their motivation instead of being distracted by the world they inhabit or that mechanics of time travel. To control our focus like that is impressive for the director who gives us quiet scenes of chatter along with blazing shoot outs. To be able to pull off both and pull us in as an audience is impressive.

The most difficult task of the movie was making us believe Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the younger version of Bruce Willis. The movie really centers around that having us focus on these two same people at different points in their lives. Some small make-up work made Gordon-Levitt look like Willis and the young actors ability to mimic the veteran action star’s familiar patterns is impressive. You could easily believe they’re the same person. Supporting roles by Emily Blunt and Jeff Daniels as Gordon-Levitt’s verbal sparring partner and the mob boss pursing Willis and Gordon-Levitt stand out from a small, but impressive cast. Pierce Gagnon as Cid, the possible target of Willis, is really impressive. At not times does the movie suffer from the child actor, in fact it’s enhanced by his innocence.

I did find some issues with the mechanics of time travel presented in the movie (we’ll get to that in the extras comment) and found myself focused a lot on that after. But, it was explainable to me (though the other person I watched it with had issues as well). The plot was predictable with some slight twists and turns, but nothing super shocked. The movie is all about that acting not the action, something not expected going into watching the film.

The extras on the DVD was sparse with some commentary and deleted scenes. There’s one scene I think does deserve being in the film and it explains time travel a bit better. That extra is very helpful watching after the film. The Blu-Ray has a “The Science of Time Travel Featurette” and additional deleted scenes, but unfortunately that’s not the copy I received, so only able to review what was provided.

Overall, the film is excellent. It lives up to the hype and buzz and I’m a bit pissed I waited so long to watch the film. It might seem like a time travel action film, but it’s really all about the characters and acting. This is a smart-person’s sci-fi film, one who doesn’t care about explosions or action sequences, they care about the performance overall. It’s a pretty tight movie that you have to pay attention to, to really appreciate the small details that added in with the performances make one of the best films of the year.

Looperis out today on Blu-Ray, DVD and Instant Video.

Direction: 8 Acting: 9 Plot: 7.5 Extras: 6 Overall: 8

Graphic Policy was provided with a FREE copy for review

Review – RED


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REDGuest post by Brad Schenker reviewing the recently released movie RED.

RED is based on the cult Wildstorm/D.C. Comics graphic novel by Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer and stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren and Mary-Louis ParkerRED stands for “Retired Extremely Dangerous” and is the story of retired CIA agents who are marked for assassination and must use all their ‘old’ skills to uncover a conspiracy that goes all the way to the highest levels of government.

Great cast and great story, problem was the only RED I was seeing was the financials this movie should have after its theatrical run.  Or the red roses I needed to buy my wife to make up for the misdirected choice on a rare date night.  Or the blood of my fellow audience members who slowly bled out after slitting their throats and wrists for putting themselves through what amounted to an assassination of their intelligence.

At times I thought I was watching a Coen Brothers movie with some smart dialogue, only to realize the movie had the following rhythm:

  • 3 lines of dialogue
  • Blow shit up
  • Show a postcard of the next city on this cross country journey

I enjoyed watching the actors on the screen when I should have enjoyed the characters they were playing.  I had no investment in any of them, even when one sacrificed themselves for the team or in the relationship between the characters portrayed by Bruce Willis and Mary-Louise Parker.   I wanted to see how Morgan Freeman’s 80-year-old character would kick ass, not look like an ass disguised as a military despot.  Though I will say, if the film makers come out with a sequel with just John Malkovich, I’ll be there, without my wife I am sure.

I liked the shout out to my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and the handful of good action sequences, though all the fire balls looked like a middle school kid created them for his computer science project. If the filmmakers would have made RED rated R, they may have had something worthy of a sequel.  Instead, RED was like buying a bag of potato chips you are craving and opening it to find its all air except for the 8 smashed chips at the bottom.

Grade: C

RED Opens Strong


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RED seems to have buck the recent trend of comic book movies and opened with a fairly strong $22 million weekend.  This is after disappointing performances by other high profile comic book based movies earlier this year.

The movie which stars Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich drew an 53 percent male audience and 58 percent of that was over the age of 34, according to Summit Entertainment.

The movie is based on the comic book series from Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner and published by the DC comics imprint Wildstorm.

We haven’t seen the movie to give our thoughts but it’s received generally positive reviews from critics and audiences.

Red Theatrical Trailer


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The theatrical trailer for the movie Red has been released.  Based off of the DC comics series, Red hits theaters October 15, 2010.  The movie is directed by Robert Schwentke and stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren.

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Red Trailer


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Based off of the DC comics series, this trailer leaves me giddy. Red hits theaters October 15, 2010.  The movie is directed by Robert Schwentke and stars Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker and Helen Mirren.