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The Reel Opinion with Geno Reynolds

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My Thoughts on NBC's New Show Dracula

Rated TV-14

     I got a chance to view the first two episodes of NBC's new Dracula show and I just wanted to say a few quick things about what I thought about it. Though this show needs a few minor tweaks, such as in the action scenes, I feel that this show has some promise.

     Casting an extremely underappreciated actor such as Jonathan Rhys Meyers to play Dracula was a very good choice. He is unknown enough that he could make an impact with this role. Some people might be put off by his American take on Dracula, but I assure you, he is using that accent for a reason.

     This story about Dracula is only based on Bram Stoker's novel. That story did not happen in this universe. The Dracula in this universe is awakened to help a very unlikely ally take down an organization that is trying to run all aspects of the world. Dracula in this universe is more of an antihero because even though he is the hero of the story, he is STILL Dracula.

     He still has to feed as the original did, so he has to cross the line at times to keep going. He is also a bit more unforgiving than his ally, who I won't spoil for you.

     Along with the takedown story, the new series is also going to explore Dracula's love for Mina, but since the story is different, we should get another interesting take on the tale.

     I like the look and the different spin on the classic story. I think that if this show plays its cards right, NBC might have a new hit on their hands.

Remember, its only just one guy's opinion

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 

 

 

 


 

Geno Reviews Escape Plan

Rated R

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     Even with The Expendables franchise, movies from Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger have been hit of miss. While I really enjoyed Arnie's The Last Stand, but Sly's Bullet to the Head made me want to put a bullet…well, you get the picture. The Expendables movies are okay, but haven't really lived up to the hype either. Are guys like Sly and Arnie past their prime?

     Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) breaks out of prisons for a living. He is hired by Federal Bureau of Prisons to find weaknesses in prison security, structure and everything else that makes a prison run. He is so good that he LITERALLY wrote the book on the subject. Breslin is hired by the feds to test out a new "Off the books" prison for criminals that multiple governments want to disappear. After being taken to The Cell, he finds out he has been tricked and is left to rot in this unbreakable prison fortress. He needs to find a way out and will have to partner up with an unlikely ally to do so.

     While this movie is not the most unpredictable movie, it is still a lot of old school type action fun. Like The Last Stand, the action and violence stick mostly to the 80's style, which really works in the movie's favor. At this point in their careers, these guys should stick to what they know. If they just bring the old school action and humor like this once or twice a year, I will keep watching and enjoying it.

     I am happy to see this year that Schwarzenegger back where he belongs…

     This movie brings the right amount of humor to the mix. Most of the jokes where decent and fit in well with the serious parts of the movie. I think that because the movie wasn't too serious, it helped the lighter moments to fit in better.

     You can't have a good action film without a great villain, right? Well you are in luck with this movie because you get THREE! The first one is Warden Hobbes (Jim Caviezal). He is kind of goofy, but it works in this setting. Next is the Head Prison Guard Drake (Vinnie Jones). It is Vinnie Jones…'nuff said. The last one I can't tell you because it would ruin part of the movie for you. I will just call him Scumbag, which fits the character perfectly.

     While the twists in this movie are pretty much all easy to figure out, the movie is still a lot of old school 80's action fun. I could totally see this movie coming out in the 80's. It is nice to see Stallone and Schwarzenegger getting to work together with it being just them and not the whole action crew. They make a great team and I hope this isn't the last we will see of them together.

Remember, it's only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 

 

 


 

Geno Reviews Carrie (2013)

Rated R

     Remakes. The very word usually sends unwanted chills down the spines of most people...especially movie critics. If you like the movie that is being remade, you don't want to see them mess with it. If you didn't like the original, you certainly don't want to see it again. In the case of Carrie, I really don't have much of a strong opinion about the original.

     If you have see the original, or even the 2002 TV movie, you pretty much know the story. Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz) is the victim of both bullies at school and an overly religious and abusive mother. Things go too far after Carrie learns that she develops telekinetic powers.

     Though a lot of this version of Carrie is the same, there are some little differences that make this movie stand out more than you typical remake. Here are just a few examples of those changes.

     This time around, Carrie is a little more defiant towards her mother. Though this defiance is slight, it just seemed like she was a little less okay with making her mother happy from the beginning. The original Carrie was a little more easily manipulated at first.

     Here is the one that really stood out for me. Carrie's mother, Margaret White (Julianne Moore) was a lot more crazy this time around. She did some things that really made her character stand out from the mother in the original. That in itself is an accomplishment.

     A lot of the other characters' intentions are a lot more clear in this version of the story than in the original. There was a lot of uncertainty in the original Carrie about what certain characters were thinking and what there motivations were. The motivations of this movie's characters are not in question.

     The bullying in this version is elevated this time around. You get all of the usual stuff, but the addition of social media makes the bullying a lot worse for our main character.

     The final thing is the violence. As most movies nowadays, the violence is a lot more brutal. The one that really stood out is the "Carrie vs. the car" scene.

     While I won't tell you to rush to the theater to see it, for a remake it is not that bad. For the most part, it is just an updated version of the story. Many of the elements are the same or at least similar to the original. I don't know if this is the case, but like the original, this version might get a sequel we don't really need. That being said Carrie 2 is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine.

Remember, its only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 

 

 

 


 

Geno Reviews Captain Phillips

Rated PG-13

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     This film is based on the 2009 Somali pirate attack on the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama off the Somali coast. Captain Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) and his crew are taking a cargo ship to Mombasa, but are approached by two ships of armed men. They are able to outrun them once, but on the second attempt, they are boarded. It is up to Captain Phillips and his crew to take back control of the ship.

     I will have to give this movie a lot of credit. I wasn't sure how a lot of things were going to be handled in this movie. I wasn't sure if it was all going to be about Captain Phillips because, you know, the movie is called CAPTAIN PHILLIPS or if we were going to get to know more of the crew or even about the pirates. While we didn't get to know a lot about most of the other characters, we did get to know a lot about the pirate captain Muse (Barkhad Abdi). We go to see a bit of why he was doing the things he was doing. What his motivations were.

     As for the thrills of this movie, when it was on it was really on. I held my breath a lot during the occupation of the ship by the pirates. There was a lot of "Will they or won't they?" when it came to the pirates looking for the ship's crew to the threats the pirates were making to kill if they didn't get what they wanted.

     While the stuff on the ship was really good, at first the stuff on the lifeboat was kind of slow and boring. I know that they were trying to develop some tension to a coming storm, but they spent a little bit too much time trying to build that tension. I think they could have shortened it a bit. The movie did pick up again after a while and kept it up until the end.

     While I though Tom Hanks did a really great job, especially at the end of the movie, I have to give the most credit to the four actors playing the main pirates. For ALL of them, this was their FIRST movie EVER. They were all very good at their roles and deserve a lot of credit for being able to handle a movie like this on their first attempt.

     While there is a lot of debate about how heroic Captain Phillips really was or how the events unfolded according to the crew of the ship, this was still a mostly entertaining movie.  Other than the small lull in the movie's middle, it is still a very good film. I don't know if I would call it a must see in the theaters, but I don't think you would be too disappointed if you did.

Remember, it's only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 

 

 


 

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Geno Reviews House of Thaddeus

Unrated

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     I have gotten to do some pretty cool things since starting The Reel Opinion in 2011, but one of the things I have enjoyed the most is taking a look at local film projects.  I received a screener of one such local project from Mike Boedicker and Bill Kephart, who live and work in the Champaign-Urbana/Danville area.  As I usually feel with projects like this, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by what I got out of this movie.

     Married couple Claire and Tom have just bought an outstanding old house for a great price.  What begins as a dream turns into a nightmare when they learn of the house's checkered past.  Their purchase of the house begins to attract many unwanted attention and guests.  The events that happen next will test their patience, beliefs and their marriage.

     As many of you know, I don't like to do a ton of research about a movie so I can possibly be surprised by it.  All I did before watching this movie was watch the short trailer at the House of Thaddeus website.  I was expecting to get a somewhat run of the mill ghost or haunted house story.  What I got instead was a wonderfully complex tale mostly about a married couple who change over time.  It just so happens that the circumstances that change them may or may not be supernatural.

     I will admit that it took me a little bit of time to warm up to the movie as a whole.  That is not saying that the plot is boring, slow or anything like that, but I wasn't really sure where it was going.  Over a bit of time, the movie's plot slowly kept bringing further and further in until I was invested in it.

     I think what did this for me the most is the methodical character development and pacing of the story.  We get to know the characters a little more and more over the course of the movie.  Just as we get invested in them, we have to choose a side.  This is hard to do when you like both of the main characters, but it gives the movie a nice and complex twist.  I felt that the pacing of the movie was just right practically the whole time.  I don't remember once thinking that it needed to change.

     Co-Writer/Co-Producer Bill Kephart played the husband Tom in this movie.  I think I liked him so much because he reminded me of Louis CK with his look, posture and attitude.  This is meant as a very big compliment because I could see Louis CK playing this part…and winning awards for it.  Both the roles of Tom and his wife Claire, played by Joi Hoffsommer, are complex and interesting.  These two pull them of beautifully.

 

     There is a blink and you might miss it cameo from a certain morning weather guy playing a part WAY out of his element…

 

     This movie has a lot to offer a lot of different fans.  You might comment on how this movie must be low budget or bad because it is locally made.  I would tell you that I felt this movie had a way better plot and way better characters than some of the stuff I have had to watch in theaters this year.  If you want to check out this movie, keep an eye on the House of Thaddeus website or LIKE their Facebook Page.  I say check it out and see what some pretty great local filmmakers can do.

Remember, it's only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 

 

 


 

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Geno Reviews Machete Kills

Rated R

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     Many of you have heard of my fanboy attitude towards actor Danny Trejo.  Like a lot of other actors I like, he is more of an everyman than your typical movie star.  Many would consider him a very unlikely movie star.  I like him because of the illusion that he creates when playing a role like Machete.  No matter what you think of the character, he is the most intelligent, most irresistible and toughest S.O.B. Bada** on the planet.

     After a weapons exchange bust goes bad, Machete (Danny Trejo) loses someone very special to him.  After a failed execution of our hero, he is approached by the most unlikely President of the United States played by Carlos Estevez, aka Charlie Sheen, to eliminate a notorious former cartel member turned revolutionary.  A reluctant Machete takes the job.

     I was really torn about how I felt about this movie after I watched it.  Though some of the stuff that they did I really understood style-wise, such as the inclusion of some sci-fi elements, the script and some of the characters really suffered this time around.  Some of the big actors that were used in this movie only had small, underdeveloped roles.  Sofia Vergara (Desdemona) was really kind of a waste of time.  They tried to develop her character, but it just turned out alright.

     Then there was Machete himself.  I was a bit disappointed because I was hoping that since he lost someone, they would give Trejo's character a little more depth.  They tried at first, but Machete's lines were mostly reduced to a lot of one-liners that could be printed on t-shirts later.  Trejo did still excel in the action scenes, though.

     Three of the characters did stand out for me.  The first was Marcos Mendes (Demian Bichir), who was a cartel boss with a split personality.  I also enjoyed El Camaleon.  This character was played by at least four actors (I think another character was one of the disguises).  The cool thing was that even though the character was different people in disguise, one of the actors did most of the voice work for the character.  It is performed by another underappreciated actor that I enjoy.  I don't want to give anything away, but I also enjoyed Mel Gibson as Voz as well.

     The action and the violence are by far the most interesting thing about this movie.  If you throw everything else away, you can still have a great time with the ridiculousness of the action in this film.  They just took similar stuff from the first movie and cranked the crazy meter up about 1000 notches.

     The only real way to describe this movie is this way.  If you didn't like the first movie, this one won't change your mind.  If you liked the first one, you might not like it either.  While I had a good time and want to see the advertised sequel, which they advertised at the FIRST of the movie, I though this movie was kind of weak.  Unless you are a hardcore fan and want to see another one be made, wait for the DVD.

Remember, it's only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 

 

 

 


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Geno Reviews Runner Runner

Rated R

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     Justin Timberlake plays Richie Furst, a Princeton Grad Student that is not able to get any help with pay for school, so he plays a large stake online poker game.  After losing, he finds out he has been cheated, so he tracks down the man behind the poker company, Ivan Block (Ben Affleck) to expose the cheating.  Block is so impressed that he hires Richie to work for him.

     I thought the trailers for this movie looked pretty underwhelming, but I was going to try to give it the benefit of the doubt because the guys that wrote Rounders and Walking Tall, two movies I really like, wrote this movie.  I have to say that what they came up with here never really makes it past slightly under average.

     I will give credit where credit is due.  I actually enjoyed the ridiculousness of Ben Affleck's character.  He just seemed to be having fun with the role, kind of like he did in Reindeer Games…I know, I know…most of you hate that movie.  I had a good time with it, so sue me.  Though I enjoyed this character for his less than serious nature, Affleck's acting job in this did him no favors in the "Will he be a good Batman" argument.

     In certain things, Justin Timberlake is a very talented guy, but not here.  He comes off as totally and completely unbelievable in this role.  I don't know how many times I shook my head and sighed when he tried to say something intelligent or clever.  I have liked him in movies before, such as In Time and The Social Network, but those characters where closer to his real personality and not something totally out of his range.  This movie needed a better actor to pull off this character.

     That being said, this movie also needed a better script to pull off a better movie…

     I was hoping to get more of a look inside the online poker world.  I expected this movie too look at that the way that Rounders looked at No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em.  Unfortunately, online poker was more of a backdrop than a plot device.

     I will give this movie a little more credit, just so you don't think that I am totally trashing it.  I really enjoyed the ending.  It was nothing original or anything, but I thought it was kind of funny.

     If you just have to see this movie, wait for it on video.  Me, I never really want to see this movie again.  Though I enjoyed a few things about it, I was extremely underwhelmed be the whole thing.  I think I will just go watch Rounders again. 

Remember, it's only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 

 


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Geno Reviews Gravity

Geno Reviews Gravity

Rated PG-13

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     After watching the first trailer for this movie, I wasn't sure what I thought this film was going to be like. I had a feeling that it might take a strange turn like 2001: A Space Odyssey or something similar. Though I will tell you that it doesn't take a strange turn such as that film, but it is a frightening space survival film.

     Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are part of a space mission. While making repairs, debris from an exploded satellite sends shrapnel their way, which causes major damage to their ship and leaves them stranded in space.

     That is about all I really want to tell you about the plot. To give away any more would be a crime. I will tell you about why I really liked this movie and why I feel that everybody should go and see it.

     First thing is the acting is top notch. Sandra Bullock is at her best here and I can't believe I am saying this, but so is George Clooney. Both of them play their respected parts well: Clooney being the somewhat cocky, but caring veteran astronaut and Bullock being the scared first timer.

     The next thing is how this movie portrays space. There weren't many parts of this movie where I didn't feel dizzy. That is not a complaint by the way, but a big compliment. It is the dizziness that helps to bring the fear of being lost in an impossible situation. The dizziness helps to make the atmosphere seem like a place that you could never navigate or get out of if you were to be off course.

     The biggest threat in the movie is the recurring storm of debris that the characters have to deal with. This would be hard to buy as a "villain" if it wasn't for the fact that in space, you wouldn't know it was coming unless you saw it coming. This "storm" that kept coming would sneak up on our heroes because they could not hear it as it headed their way.

     Though I won't say who played the part of Mission Control, the actor that voices the part is perfect because he will remind you of another movie where he played the same part. Great casting!

     While I feel that this movie was really great, I still would not put it in the year's best category. The story itself was really great, but I just needed a bit more than it provided. That being said, it is still a great story of survival against unwinnable odds that I would recommend to everybody. I see it being nominated for at least a few awards this year: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Picture. Though I said I would not call it the year's best, I also said that about the movie I called the best movie of the year last year, Django Unchained.

Remember, it's only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 


 

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Geno Reviews My Last Day Without You

 

Not Rated

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     Niklas (Ken Duken) is on a one day business trip from Germany to New York. He is there to finalize the closing of his companies New York branch. His plans of leaving right away change when a chance meeting with aspiring singer Leticia (Nicole Beharie) leads to him being intrigued with many new things.

     One thing that really stuck out in this film for me was the love story. I will try not to spoil too much of it, but I felt that it was a very unique take on the subject. A problem I have with a lot of love story themed movies is that things move too fast. People fall for each other within the course of a two hour flick and it is just kind of unbelievable. This movie does not do that. What it does do, which I will not spoil for you, is take a big chance in how it handles the subject. After watching it, I felt that the title of the movie really worked well with the plot of the movie.

     There were a couple of times that I thought the movie was going to go into the typical Rom Com direction and I began to think, "Okay, here we go again." Then a nice little twist happened that I would not see coming. I give the movie a lot of credit for that.

     Though it was sort of necessary to the plot, the side story involving "Tisha's" father and one of his congregation was not the strongest of stories, but that is not saying it was bad. I think I just would have liked to have a bit more information behind the characters involved so that I could invest in that storyline a bit more.

     I really dug the music of the movie. I am not positive if Nicole Beharie was really the singer of the songs, but if she was then job well done. If not, the music was still great.

     Going back to the love story, there is a lot here about opposites attract and cultural differences. I felt that the movie really handled these things very well. This wasn't about two Americans with different colored skin. This was about two people from different parts of the world taking a chance on each other after only knowing each other for not even an entire day. Big twists in the story test even this side of the story and it is handled very well.

     I think labeling this movie a Rom Com would be a mistake. This movie had some funny moments, but I felt that the love story involved here was handled very seriously and it worked very well. I am glad I got to see this movie because it might have passed me up if it wasn't brought to my attention. I felt that the love story is one that I enjoyed because it wasn't overly fantasized, but felt like something that is only the beginning, even though a sequel would be unnecessary.

Remember, it's only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

 

 


 

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Geno Reviews The Spectacular Now

Rated R

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     Do you know why I love EbertFest?  The main reason is because I get to see movies that I would probably never give a chance to otherwise.  While there were some great movies at the festival this year, one of them stood out.  It just so happens that you can still see it at Decatur's Avon Theater until Thursday.  I am telling you this because The Spectacular Now is not only one of the best movies about high school life EVER, but it is also one of the best movies of the year.

     Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) has what he thinks is a great high school life.  He has an attractive girlfriend and is the life at a lot of the parties he attends.  After his girlfriend breaks up with him, he ends up drunk and wakes up in the front yard of Aimee Finecky (Shailene Woodley).  The tow become fast friends and they begin to help each other deal with the deeper problems in life that they both have.

     This movie handles high school life the way that a movie should.  We get to see the ups and downs of all of the major characters, whether it be the schools top athlete not being able to let loose at a party to multiple characters having problems with their parents.  There is no sugar coating any of the storylines here.  Minor problems are treated seriously (As high schoolers would do) and major problems are really the main focus of the plot.

     The two main leads in this movie, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley, are incredible as individuals and as a team in this.  Both of them put on incredible performances that are sure to put them in consideration for some major awards, as well as an Opie.  Both of them handle their characters in a way that makes them very identifiable and real.

     This movies greatest strength is that none of the characters, and I do mean none of them, are not without flaws.  Some of the flaws might be simple, but most of them are major.  The majority of the main characters have life altering flaws that I will not spoil for you.  These flaws make EVERY character easy to identify with.  You will at least identify with one of the problems that one of these characters have…unless you have lived in a bubble for your entire life.

     I can really appreciate a movie about high school that takes the time not to make a joke of the whole experience.  For most of us, high school kind of stunk, so for a movie to really deal with things like love, grades and life after high school in this way was kind of refreshing.  Do yourself a favor and go see this movie before it is gone.

Remember, it's only just one guy's opinion.

Geno

     Question, comments or disagreements? Contact me on Facebook. Hit this link and like it. I also now have an e-mail address you can contact me at. It is TheReelGeno@yahoo.com. I am also on Twitter. You can follow me @TheReelGeno

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