The Reel Opinion Archives; September 2013 - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

The Reel Opinion Archives; September 2013

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September 24th, 2013

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Geno Reviews Prisoners

Rated R

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     I was afraid when I went to see this movie that the trailers for it would ruin the experience.  Though the trailer for this movie did show me more than I would have liked to know, in the end they didn't give away too much.

     Two families have gotten together for Thanksgiving dinner at one of their houses.  The two youngest girls in the family want to go play at the other family's house.  After a while, nobody hears from the girls.  Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman) goes to his house, but the girls are not there.  Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) is called in to investigate.  As he searches for the girls, so does Keller Dover…by any means necessary.

     I have to give this movie a lot of credit.  It handled a lot of the plot and the characters in a very smart way.  While in search of a monster, we get to see what monsters could come out of us if it was our children that were missing.  Hugh Jackman gives a great performance as a father that will stop at nothing to find his daughter.  I can't say any more than that about his character.

     Jake Gyllenhaal plays a detective that does not quit.  He plays his hunches and keeps searching for that one clue that will get him to the next step of the investigation.  He is the kind of cop that looks and if he finds nothing, he looks again.  I have to say that I really liked the character of Detective Loki and would like to see him in another movie, kind of like they do with Alex Cross.  I don't know if this will happen, but it should.  There are a few unanswered questions I have about the character.

     The movie's plot will keep you guessing quite a bit.  It is not entirely unpredictable, but there is a lot going on.  This make you try to figure out what is important to the plot and what is not.  There are a few decent twists and turns that make for an interesting detective story.

     That being said, you not only get the detective side of the story, but you also get the family side of it as well.  Add to that a bit of a psychological plot and it makes for a pretty fun film to watch.

     This movie had a really good plot, mostly great characters and keeps you guessing.  For fans of this type of movie, I would advise a trip to the theater to see it.  I liked the main character of Detective Loki and would like to see more of him.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


September 17th, 2013

 

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Geno Reviews The Family

Rated R

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of writer/director Luc Besson's work.  If I don't love his movies, I at least enjoy them.  When I saw the preview of this movie, I was interested in it because in recent memory, I don't remember Besson doing any comedy.  Some of his action movies have comedy in them, but they are usually more action than anything.

     Giovanni Manzoni (Robert DeNiro) and his family are in witness protection because Giovanni snitched on his boss and sent him to prison.  The family keeps getting moved around because they have trouble adjusting to the new places they are sent to.  Giovanni has decided that his new "profession" is to be a writer and begins to write his real memoirs.  Things also get a bit more complicated when his former boss may have found them.

     The trailer for this movie is a bit misleading.  I thought that this movie was going to be more of a straight up comedy, but I would label it more of a dramedy.  The humor of the movie comes from its vulgarity and its violence.  Except for near the end, the somewhat brutal violence of the film is played off for laughs.  Though it seems kind of strange to say that, it came of like it would in an episode of Family Guy.  For the most part, it worked.

     I did have a couple of problems with the movie.  The first one is the spreading out of the story.  I know that they were looking to establish each member of the family with their own story, but I felt they spent too much time with them and not enough time with DeNiro's character.  I would have like to know more about him instead.  The kids' stories were okay, but DeNiro's was by far the most interesting.

     The other major problem was the pacing of the entire movie.  This movie is not even two hours long, but it felt so much longer.  I think the separate stories were what caused this.  Spending less time with the other members of the family would have helped this as well.

     With this movie starring Robert DeNiro and with Martin Scorsese being one of the executive producers, there are two jokes in the movie that were really funny.  One was about a past character DeNiro played and one was about a movie he starred in and Scorsese directed.  Good stuff!

     While I thought this movie was decent, I have to call it a rental.  I think I was a little let down by the pacing and lack of focus on DeNiro's more interesting character.  This is still not a bad Luc Besson movie, but I am waiting for the day that he wows me again the way he did with movies like Leon The Professional.

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

 

 

 


September 16th, 2013

 

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Geno Reviews Insidious 2

Rated PG-13

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     I held off watching the original Insidious because I, like a lot of people for some reason, had this thing against PG-13 horror/thriller movies.  After starting this blog, I learned that a lot of the R Rated horror movies were just using a lot of gore and not creativity to get those ratings; I started to give the PG-13 ones a better look.  They have pretty much been mopping the floor with most of the R Rated ones as of late.  I checked out Insidious a couple of months ago and began to kick myself because I had missed out on a really great horror flick.

     The movie takes place right after the first one.  To not spoil it for anybody, I will just say that The Lamberts continue to have a similar problem as in the first one.  At the end of the first movie, something came back with Josh (Patrick Wilson) after the rescue of Dalton (Ty Simpkins).

     The first movie's creativity, scares and imagery is what really caught my attention.  While this movie still has some great imagery and decent scares, it wasn't as creative as the first one.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not really knocking it because it was going to be very difficult to surpass the first one.

     I liked that the story took place right after the first one.  I can't really say what happened because it would spoil the first movie for anybody that hasn't seen it, but the plot of the movie handled things the way that I hoped it would.  Even though the first movie came out in 2010, the kids didn't seem to really age much, so it just felt right.

     As a whole, I enjoyed the story a lot.  Though a few things became very predictable, I still had a lot of fun with the movie.  Though I know that somehow there is going to be another one, because so far the movie has at least made seven or eight times its budget the first weekend alone, I am satisfied with the way this one ended that there could be another great story to tell.  I just hope that they don't take these movies too far to where they lose their magic like other "Paranormal Activity" movies that shall remain nameless.

     My biggest gripe about the movie is that they did not use the character of Dalton enough.  I know he was the main focus of the first movie and they probably wanted to change things up a bit, but he is just so good they it felt like kind of a waste not to use him more.

     If you dug the first movie, I think you will at least enjoy this one.  While not as great, it is still a really good second chapter to a really fun overall story.  I have to say that I am already looking forward to the next one.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


September 13th, 2013

 

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Geno Presents Pros and Comic Cons 2013 Part 2

     A few weeks ago I presented part 1 of this two part blog entry.  The first entry was about the cons.  Today I will present my pros of going to Comic Con.  I want Wizard to know that I love coming and covering their events.  They have been nothing but good to me as professionals and acquaintances.  I just want them to bear with me as I present this two part piece.  This is not a smear story or a puff piece.  This is a collection of my own thoughts, and some anonymous attendee's thoughts, from the perspective of a show goer.  As a journalist, I have to be as honest as I can which sometimes is to a fault.

The Pros:

     Once again I made my yearly trek up to Rosemont for Wizard World Chicago.  Once again I got to meet some really great celebrities over the long four day weekend.  My trip started getting to once again meet one of my favorites, Jason David Frank, the Green Ranger from the Power Rangers.  One thing that is fun for me, and I have done a few times for my own amusement, is when I go through his line and he always welcomes me by name.  Though I didn't get my interview with him or work on a project we were trying to set up, I still enjoyed getting to talk with him again.

So yeah...I'm a bit of a fan...

 

     I was a bit disappointed that ONCE AGAIN, I couldn't get my Boondock Saints toy signed by Norman Reedus because he is too freaking popular now.

     Though I met him years ago, I always wanted to meet Michael Rosenbaum again and I did.  Though I thought he was a decent Lex Luthor, I like him more for his voice work as The Flash.  He called me baldy, then said "I'm happy I can call someone else that for a f***ing change.  I replied that his was by choice, mine was heredity.  He thought that was pretty funny.  He was pushing a movie that he wrote, directed and stars in called Back in the Day.  You can find more information in it HERE.

Wondering which one of us is Lex Luthor

 

     Speaking of back in the day, as a fan of rap music getting to meet Darryl "DMC" McDaniels was a real treat for me.  He was very cool and I got to talk about our love of The Beastie Boys with him.  As you can see, we had a little fun with some props.

The Kings of Rock

 

     Zachary Quinto was really cool to talk to.  I told him that I didn't think he could play Spock any better, but he proved me wrong with the sequel.  Later in the photo room, he thanked me again for my compliments and thanked me by name as well.  That is always really cool.

Live long an...Oh you know the rest!

 

     Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) was cool.  We talked about our love of the McFarlane Napoleon Dynamite toys since that is what I had for him to sign.

I guess that would make me Kip???

 

     I had met CM Punk last year, but I was never happy with my picture with him.  I like the new picture, but he was sitting down, so I look like Andre the Giant or The Big Show standing next to him.

The Best In The World...and CM Punk too!!!

 

     The last two people I met were probably the coolest for me.  The first was Michael Shannon.  Now a lot of people were there to meet Zod from the Man of Steel.  Me, I was there to meet Richard Kuklinski from this year's The Iceman.  I think I was the ONLY person there with a poster from that movie for him to sign.  I got to talk with him about how he is the frontrunner for The Opie Awards for best actor this year and I have a feeling he will get it.  He must have liked that because for the second time this trip, in the photo room, a celebrity remembered me BY NAME.  And seriously, if you haven't watched The Iceman yet, check it out on DVD now.

Nicest guy...but he still intimidates the s*** out of me!

 

     The last person I met was Robert Knepper, who played Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell on Prison Break.  I had made a picture with one of my favorite quotes of his from the show.  T-Bag had said, "So you see ‘friends'…either I'm going through that hole with you, or I'm gonna sing like Johnny Cash!"  He saw that and told me (and wrote on my picture) that it was one of his favorite quotes.  He then kind of gave me an impromptu reenactment of him practicing that line on set.  It was very cool.  On the last day of the con, I got to interview him.  If you want to see that interview, click HERE.  He watched the interview and here is a message I got from him on Twitter:

 

     I have to say that I was just a bit excited about that.  How excited you ask?  I am in the process of FRAMING this Tweet!

I'm just glad he didn't tell me to take his pocket...

 

     I know in my first part of this look at Comic Con I kind of ripped the thing a new one.  There are a lot of things that they need to improve on, but these cons are still the best place to meet people you never thought you would get to meet.  I have already booked my hotels for the ones I am going to next year.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


September 9th, 2013

 

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Geno Reviews Riddick

Rated R

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     Until about two months ago, I had not seen any of the Riddick movies.  I thought that Pitch Black was decent and I didn't hate Chronicles of Riddick, but I didn't think either of them was great.  My problem with Chronicles is that it tried to take itself too seriously.  My biggest fear for this one was that it would do the same thing.

     Riddick (Vin Diesel) has been betrayed and left for dead on an unknown planet.  Beaten and bloody, he has to figure out how to survive and find the savage within himself that he had lost.  When bounty hunters come to the planet looking for him, things get a bit more interesting.

     I should have hated this movie, but I could not bring myself to do it.  This movie is a low budget (around $40 Million), goofy action movie that sort of reminded me of an 80's sci-fi film when it came to the story and a 90's sci-fi film when it came to the effects.  This movie would have fit right in with a movie like Predator back in the day.  I found myself laughing through the entire movie and had a great time enjoying the ridiculousness of it all.

     The acting in this movie is extremely cheesy and macho, even from Katee Sackoff (Dahl) who was tougher than some of the male characters.  Diesel spouted off one liners that really just came off as Vin Diesel playing Vin Diesel, but it totally worked.

     I liked the fact that they just didn't reboot the entire franchise.  It has been nine years since Riddick was on the big screen, but they took care of explaining why Riddick wasn't king of the Necromongers and why he is being hunted this time.  It fit in aspects from both Pitch Black and Chronicles of Riddick, showing respect to the fans of those movies.

     I think that this franchise has finally found its niche.  If these movies stay like this, a low budget, b-style action fun fest, then I will be looking forward to the next one.  Vin Diesel loves this character and it shows.  He seemed to have a great time playing the character and I had fun watching him do it.  If you want to have a Hard-R rated good time watching a cheesy action movie, then this one is for you.

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 

 

 

 


September 5th, 2013

 

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Geno: .............

     Hey everybody.  I haven't taken a weekday off from the blog ever since the first one was posted back in July 2011.  Though I guess technically this would count as a post, I may take Friday off from it as well.  I just needed a couple days to rest, think and to get my you know what together.

     August was a very busy movie watching month, so I apologize for not getting part 2 of my Chicago Comic Con series out sooner.  I am going to get to that next week.  I have some great pictures and stories from the event.

     I have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of decisions to make regarding the future of a few different things, so to those that I hear from that read and watch my stuff regularly, thank you for sticking by me and keeping me going for all this time.  For those that do but don't give a lot of feedback, feel free to do so by either e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.  You can find links to those avenues at the top and the bottom of every daily post.  I welcome every conversation, even the ones that are criticism.  I thank you as well either way.  To those that don't read the blog…well, I guess they won't see this will they…

     I have some things I am working on, but I can't really share anything right now.  Besides, I don't like to make promises I can't keep…

     That's all I've got for now.  Thanks for taking the time to read this.

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

 

 

 


September 4th, 2013

 

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Geno Reviews Closed Circuit


Rated

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     As I have mentioned many times before, I like a good thriller.  As a fan of shows like Law & Order and The Practice and movies like A Time To Kill and A Few Good Men, I especially like courtroom dramas.

     A bomb goes off in London that kills over one hundred people.  A short time later, a Turkish man is arrested for the crime.  It is decided that this case will be held in closed court because of national security issues.  Six months later, the man defending the suspect commits suicide.  Martin Rhodes (Eric Bana) is called in to take his place.

     It is hard to talk about this movie without giving up details that would ruin it for you.  One thing I can say is that while not a bad movie, it is kind of hard to follow at times.  There is a lot going on and if you lose focus for just a bit, you might find it hard to understand some things that happen near the beginning of the movie.

     While I didn't feel that any actor stood out, the cast as a whole did a decent job at moving the story along.  There were a lot of characters, so it was hard to remember everybody at times.  If you focus on the main characters, you will get the gist of the minor ones.

     There are some decent twists in the plot of the film.  With this movie having so many characters, it is hard to focus on which ones are really important and which ones are there to distract you.  I thought that this was one of the movies strong points.

     I won't tell you to rush out to the theater to see this one, but for fans of court dramas/thrillers, it might make a decent rental.  I will warn you that I felt the ending was a bit weak.  The cast is good and the plot is decent with some good twists.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 


September 3rd, 2013

 

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Geno Reviews Girl Most Likely


Rated PG-13

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     This one is going to be kind of hard to review.  I went in thinking this was going to be really funny, but I didn't get (all) the laughs I wanted.  I did however think it had a certain charm to it and still kind of liked it.  I didn't love it, but it has grown on me a little bit.

     Imogene (Kristen Wiig) thought her life was great…until her boyfriend dumps her and moves out.  Then she loses her job and her apartment.  She fakes a suicide attempt to try to get her boyfriend back, but she ends up in the hospital psych ward.  Her estranged mother Zelda (Annette Bening) is called to come and get her.  Imogene moves in with her mother until she can get it back together.  She begins to learn about herself, her childhood and about her "friends".

     This movie's laughs tries to come from awkward humor, but most of the time it doesn't work.  Sure there were a couple of good laughs, but most of the jokes were not funny.  Like I said earlier, this movie did have some moments that gave it this strange charm.  Some of the characters were just so big of underdogs that you had to root for them.

     I am not a big fan of Kristen Wiig.  When she would be leading a skit on SNL, I would usually change the channel.  I kind of didn't like her in this movie as well…at first.  Imogene kind of grew on me because as someone that has had to and still is dealing with a lot of crap in life, I could identify with her.  I could also identify with her because she was a "little" socially awkward, same as me.  I liked this character a lot and was happy for her triumphs.

     The rest of the cast was decent.  I liked the character of Imogene's brother Ralph (Christopher Fitzgerald).  One thing I have talked about on this blog is the portrayal of people with special needs and how they are handled in movies.  With the character of Ralph, you are unsure if he is mentally handicapped in some way or is he just awkward.  The movie handles the character very well and very smart.  He has his moments of being slow to think and his moments of brilliance.  I wish more movies would handle characters like this more often.

     The only place this is playing is at The Avon…but only until Thursday this week.  If you want to see something a bit different…a bit awkward…with a bit of charm, check it out either in the theater or when it comes out on DVD.  I didn't think it was a great movie or even the funny movie I wanted it to be, but it had some things that I really liked, especially identifiable characters.

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

 

 

 

 


September 2nd, 2013

 

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Geno Reviews Getaway

Rated PG-13

Minor Spoilers Ahead!!!

     I wanted to be so wrong about this movie.  I wanted to eat my words after seeing it.  I wanted this movie to at least be fun.  I wanted to be wrong, but I was so right.

     Brent Magna (Ethan Hawke) is a former professional race car driver whose wife is kidnapped.  A mysterious caller has him steal a specific car and perform some ridiculous tasks in it or his wife will be killed.  This gets more complicated when the owner of the car catches up with Magna.

     This movie only did one thing right.  That one thing is it just got started right away.  We do get a few small flashbacks to help fill the time, but the first thing you see in the movie is Magna walking into a broken-in apartment and his wife missing.  This is where the compliments end.

     Since there was so much not to like about this movie, I will only cover a few of them.  The first thing is the repetitiveness.  If I told you a short outline about one event of the movie, it would ruin the whole thing.  Why you ask?  Because the same thing happened just about every time.  To put it simply, how many chases with the police can you have?  It wasn't just that, but things during those chases were way too similar as well.  The scenes were just a little too wash, rinse and repeat for me.

     The characters were all either uninteresting, underdeveloped or annoying.  You probably know where I am going with the last one there, huh?  The main character of the movie is just bland and it almost felt like Ethan Hawke phoned this one in.  Sure he gets a bit of a story, but it wasn't that great.  The villain, who I can't tell you who it is, just gets repetitive and boring being a voice over the phone.

     Then there is Selena Gomez (The Kid).  I really want to be sorry when I say she is horrible in this, but I just can't be.  I can't find her believable as the grease monkey, tomboy, foul mouthed, gangsta wannabe, tech savvy daughter of a rich man.  In the trailer, they show her pull a gun on Hawke's character like she is carjacking him.  It is funny then and it is still funny when you see it in the movie, but not in a good way.  She is just way too ridiculous to be believable at all.  When she curses or talks tough, it is just…I don't even know how to explain it.  I will just say that some actors need to stick to certain types of roles.

     This movie stole things from the following movies: Die Hard With A Vengeance, Speed, Mission: Impossible and The Chase…and it did NONE of them justice.

     This one is a major pass all the way.  It is not even a fun rental.  It may look cool, but the bad acting and repetitive nature of the movie just makes this one rather boring.

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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