R.I.P.D. (2013)


Damn.  I Don’t Know What Eyes to Shoot You Between.

R.I.P.D. (2013)As the end of the year approaches, my standards dip dangerously low as I try to round out my films of 2013.  I could dislocate my shoulder with how hard I shrug in front of a RedBox while saying, “Fuck it!”  I knew about today’s movie while it was in theaters and even considered seeing it there.  Even though the movie looked like crap, it had a bunch of people I liked in it so I figured it was worth a chance.  We’ll find out if it was as I review R.I.P.D., based on the Dark Horse Entertainment comic by Peter M. Lenkov, written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi, directed by Robert Schwentke, and starring Ryan Reynolds, Jeff Bridges, Mary-Louise Parker, Kevin Bacon, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong, and Marisa Miller.

Two Detectives named Nick Walker (Ryan Reynolds) and Bobby Hayes (Kevin Bacon) steal some gold they found during a drug-bust, but Nick is having doubts.  Bobby is not.  So much so that he kills Nick when they go out on a bust to keep him from returning the gold.  Instead of just dying as his face hit the ground from 3 stories up, the world freezes around Nick until he’s sucked up into an anus in the sky.  He wakes up in an interrogation room with Mildred Proctor (Mary-Louise Parker), who invites Nick to join the Rest In Peace Department, a police force dedicated to the capture of the escaped dead that live among us.  Nick is immediately partnered up with Roycephus Pulsipher (Jeff Bridges) and sent out to the streets, where he soon finds out that the gold he stole is part of a set that the dead are trying to use to reverse the flow on the giant Sky Anus that swallowed him before.

This movie was nowhere near as bad as I thought it would be.  It was actually fairly enjoyable.  I don’t feel like any of that really comes from the story as that was pretty basic.  I guess that’s a strange thing to say about a movie with dead policemen and a plot to pink sock a Sky Anus, but I’m sticking with it.  I’m also sticking with my decision to use “pink sock” as a verb.  I guess it’s more how they get there that’s pretty basic.  “We’re new partners and we don’t get along.  We found this gold and there’s something weird about it.  The boss is trying to get in our way, but we’ll go after it anyway.”  There’s really no mystery to it.  They find the gold and turn it in and then the guys upstairs just explain it all.  If it were an action movie, a subpar story would be much more acceptable, but it seemed more this movie’s intention to be a comedy.  It didn’t land the humor nearly as much as it tried.  Most of the successes felt like it were sold much more by the delivery than the joke itself, such as the moment when Proctor bit Roy’s beard and he said, “She billy-goated me!”  If you’re not laughing right now, it’s because it wasn’t that funny of a joke on the page.  It needed Jeff Bridges to pull it off.

The main thing I noticed about this movie visually is that it felt like it really wanted to be Men in Black.  Quasi-dark and quasi-funny.  There was a good amount of action in the movie, but not a whole lot that struck me as particularly cool.  I did really enjoy Roy’s showdown scene, though.  I also laughed really hard when the construction vehicle got stuck in the wall above the Spear of Jericho (or whatever they called it), but not for a reason that was positive for the movie.  It was just so obvious of a setup for how they would eventually defeat the Spear thing that it was laughable.

I think the performances in this movie were what elevated it beyond its station.  I typically like Ryan Reynolds.  He’s usually funny and always easy on the eyes.  I even liked him in Green Lantern.  That movie wasn’t his fault.  Of course, Ryan Reynolds was definitely overshadowed by Jeff Bridges.  If you liked Bridges’ portrayal of Rooster Cogburn in True Grit, then you’ll find much more of the same in his performance in this movie.  And if you didn’t like his performance in that movie then I request you make sweet love to a rock or something prickly.  Mary-Louise Parker is just great in general.  She’s super cute and super funny.  I should like one day to place a baby inside of her.  And these three actors also had great chemistry between each other.  The new partnership friction between Reynolds and Bridges was well-realized, and the sexual tension between Bridges and Parker was mined for some funny moments.  Enough to make me forgive Bridges for laying his mack down on my woman.  Kevin Bacon was also in this movie!  …That’s all I got about that.

R.I.P.D. was much better than I expected.  It would be difficult for it not to be.  There was nothing special in the writing or the action, but I think the cast made the movie much better than it would be on its own.  Their chemistry and quality made this movie easily watchable, but they could not fix the movie enough for there to really be any reason to watch it.  You can, but you don’t need to.  R.I.P.D. gets “I think you’re smelling what I’m selling” out of “One of them coyotes, he made love to my skull!”

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RED (2010)


I Am Getting the Pig!

I vaguely remember someone I work with suggesting that I watch today’s movie, but I don’t really remember who.  I think it may have been Eric.  Who suggested it was fairly irrelevant to me because I’m always down to check this movie out.  I don’t remember the circumstances that first lead to me watching this movie.  There’s a possibility that I randomly purchased the movie without having seen it; something that is a rarity for me to do.  I may also have RedBox’d the movie and liked it so much that I immediately purchased it.  Either way, to fulfill this mystery request today, I needed only to walk to my DVD shelves and grab the BluRay.  Doing so brings us up to speed, so let’s review RED, loosely based on a comic book series created by Warren Ellis and Cully Hammer, written by Erich Hoeber, directed by Robert Schwentke, and starring Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, Julian McMahon, Richard Dreyfuss, Karl Urban, Brian Cox, James Remar, Rebecca Pidgeon, Ernest Borgnine, and Audrey Wasilewski.

Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) leads a pretty boring life in his retirement.  So boring, it seems, that he entertains himself by tearing up his pension checks so that he can call Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker), a customer service agent at the pension office, and talk with her for a bit.  The hum-drum life he leads is interrupted when one day he goes downstairs and a hit squad appear to attack him.  He kills the bejesus out of them with extreme prejudice and sets off for Kansas City.  CIA agent William Cooper (Karl Urban) is tapped to hunt down Moses and kill him.  It turns out Frank is no ordinary bald dude, but he’s a former black-ops CIA agent who has been tagged “R.E.D.”, or Retired, Extremely Dangerous.  Frank is forced to kidnap Sarah for her own safety and the two set out to get the band back together and find out what’s happening.  With the help of other RED agents – Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), Marvin Boggs (John Malkovich), Ivan Simanov (Brian Cox), and Victoria (Helen Mirren) – they find out that their deaths are part of a cover up for the CIA involving people high up on the ladder.  They will most likely kill the shit out of them too.

I really dig this movie.  It suffers a bit from a pretty predictable and familiar story, but saves itself from being too much of the same by telling it in a different and superior way.  The action is over the top and awesome, the movie is a lot of fun for something that’s basically about killing, the performances are delivered by people way over-qualified for such a movie, and the dialogue is very charming.  The action in this movie is a lot of fun.  It’s pretty much all over the top and exciting, and usually framed with some funny dialogue.  I really like the scene you probably saw in the trailer for this movie when Bruce Willis steps out of a spinning cop car and starts firing at Karl Urban, Willis’ legs narrowly being missed by the back of the spinning car.  John Malkovich also shoots a rocket out of mid-air, causing it to explode backwards and kill the person firing it.  I’m sure the Mythbusters would wipe their ass with this notion, but I thought it was awesome, so who cares if it makes sense?  The movie ends on a 20 minute or more action scene of the RED people doing a heist of sorts, but I never got sick of the action because it went on too long.  The movie also had a very satisfying ending.  The throwdown between Willis and Urban in Urban’s office served no purpose to the plot and also seemed a bit out of character for Moses to jeopardize the mission to show Urban that he was better than him, but it was a pretty awesome UFC style throwdown that was amped up by Aerosmith’s “Back in the Saddle”.  Pointless, but awesome.  Part of what made this movie work for me was the way it was filmed.  They used lots of creative camera angles and cool transitions to make it a very stylized movie, setting itself apart from other action movies.  These were small things that you might not necessarily pay attention to, but subconsciously stick in your mind.  Things like Bruce Willis’ eye transitioning into a bullet in the opening of the movie and John Malkovich flipping off a satellite, transitioning into Karl Urban watching the monitors.  I also liked the postcard things they used to show that we were switching locations.

The cast of this movie is probably the whole reason I went to see it in the first place.  There are so many big names and diverse actors in this thing that I just had to see how it worked out.  Well it worked out amazingly well and impressed me more when I saw who else was in this that was not top-billed.  Bruce Willis is one of the biggest action stars in the world, but he is aging a little by now, making him perfect for this movie.  He didn’t play it like a super-badass action hero, even while he was doing super-badass action things.  He played it more like a quiet, shy dude that was crushing on a girl he met on the phone … oh yeah, and also I’m a total badass.  I didn’t really know who Mary-Louise Parker was before going into this movie because most of her film credits are movies I would not be interested in, and also I never saw Weeds, but she could not have been cuter in this movie, both in looks and in personality.  She was totally fish out of water amongst the crowd Willis gets her involved with, but she had a lot of sass to her and I really dug her in this movie.  As much as I liked her, she had the misfortune of going up against John Malkovich as Marvin Boggs, and she could not compete with that character.  I don’t know that I had ever seen Malkovich do comedy before I saw this, but that dude was great.  He was so awesome and hilarious as the uber-paranoid Marvin.  He was crazy and paranoid so people rarely took what he said seriously, even though he turned out to be right more often than not.  He was the one throwing in the most jokes in the action situations, and if he wasn’t actually saying them, he was making me laugh by being downtrodden in the background holding a pink, stuffed pig.  Morgan Freeman was fairly underused in the movie, but was great in the parts he was in.  He was the one that had the part that bummed me out in the middle of the movie, but I got through it.  I don’t care how old Helen Mirren is, I think I would still throw down with her if she wanted.  Something about that lady is just sexy, especially if you have her shooting a 50-calibur machine gun wearing a white gown.  Karl Urban has played a badass before, but didn’t really go above that character to impress too much.  But I guess he was the bad guy for the most part, so you don’t want him to be too charming.

I dig RED a lot.  It’s not the smartest movie you can watch, and you won’t learn anything from it, but you will watch a stylishly-filmed movie with great performances, charming characters, funny dialogue, and over the top, fantastic action.  However I came to see this movie the first time is irrelevant.  I liked it enough to immediately purchase it on BluRay, and I feel comfortable saying you’ll have fun renting it.  SO DO IT!  RED gets “You guys want to get pancakes?” out of “I trained Kordeski.”

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