Movie Review: Death Wish

I have often wondered about Hollywood board rooms and conference rooms and discussions executives have about money and what works and what does not work with new movies, movie franchises and decisions to remake a movie. Why are some movies considered possibilities for remakes and others not? Why Death Wish? Perhaps one reason could be the setting of this movie in Chicago that in the last few years has been one of the most violent cities in US history.

Death Wish has also been remade in other forms over the years, with Kevin Bacon in “Death Sentence”, 2007 and Jodie Foster In “The Brave One” that also came out in 2007. The premise for these movies are all the same. A horrible crime has been committed, the police and the courts can do nothing to find the criminals and the person suffering incredible grief goes on a shooting rampage to achieve justice and revenge. I found it very disturbing that in the trailer for this film, it is said that 1 in 4 people will become a victim of a violent crime. Of course the averages go way up around cities like Chicago.

Bruce Willis used to be a huge star in Hollywood for many years but unfortunately his last Die Hard movie “A Good Day to Die Hard” just about ruined his career and destroyed a very strong movie franchise. Since then he has made a string of movies that have gone right to DVD and have never been released to movie theaters, proving once again just how fleeting movie success can be and with only one big bomb the whole miracle of you’re acting career can be over very quickly.

As far as this new Death Wish movie remake, directed by Eli Roth, I thought it was well done and believable, and about as good as the original Death Wish that was released in 1974 starring Charles Bronson. The actor Dean Norris is perfectly cast as the police officer in charge of the case, and since his performance in Breaking Bad, Norris could just about be one of the believable actors to play a police officer. Unfortunately for Bruce Willis the Rotten Tomatoes reviews are very low, only 14%, so the odds are that this film will be in and out of the theaters relatively quickly.

Overall, I thought this movie was just OK and I do recommend it.

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Movie Review: Red Sparrow

In 1993 a very good movie called “Point of No Return” was released starring Bridget Fonda, who has dropped out of the movie business in 2002, an unfortunate fact because she was a very good actress. The new movie “Red Sparrow” follows the exact same idea of Point of No Return. “A down and out woman is recruited to be an operative or a spy for their country and she is trained by her country using cruel tactics to turn her into a killer”. Unfortunately Red Sparrow is a very bad movie starring Jennifer Lawrence that has a mixed up disaster of a story that is impossible to follow. Rather than having a down and out woman recruited to be an operative, Lawrence plays a Russian Ballerina who breaks her leg, which in itself makes no sense because wouldn’t she have too much fame in Russia to be a Russian spy? It seemed to me as I suffered through this 2 plus hours of an insane plot that they hired 14 screenwriters to write this mess, threw the script on the floor and then slapped the pages back together, hoping that maybe when they cut the film it might somehow miraculously become a movie. No such luck.

I believe that the producers knew for sure that this movie would be a bomb while they were making it so they came up with an idea and with probably another few million dollars convinced Lawrence to do a nude scene, which is something she swore she would never do. There are also several sexual situations even during the training the operatives go through, which was another failed attempt by the producers help the box office. Then with every appearance on every talk show, they made sure that she mentioned the nude scene, in the hopes of saving this movie. Considering the low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes and how bad this movie is, I cannot believe that one nude scene will be enough to save this disastrous mess of screenwriting.

Do yourself a favor and skip this mess and see Point of No Return instead. That was a very good movie.

Movie Review: Murder on the Orient Express

The new movie “Murder on the Orient Express” is a remake of the original made in 1974. I always ask myself, when there is a remake of a movie like this, why a remake? Was the movie important enough or memorable enough to make another one? Very often and including this time, the answer to that question is no. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the most famous of all the Agatha Christie novels, but in my opinion the ending of this story is too unbelievable and convoluted to really believe possible and for that reason, and for the reason that the entire movie was quite boring, I cannot recommend this movie.

There are many known actors in this film, including Johnny Depp and
Michelle Pfeiffer, but their appearances are not enough to have any reason to recommend this film.

Movie Review: IT

I can only speculate about what Steven King who wrote the It: A Novel many years was thinking about, but I think that it had to be that he was fascinated about the bullying so many young people have to endure in school. As most of us have heard in this country, bulling is an epidemic and now its even worse than it has been because of social media and cyber-bullying. We have all heard about news reports where some young person has committed suicide because of bullying or have gone on school shooting sprees, killing many people in retaliation.

Movie Review: The House

What is funny? Both Will Ferrel and Amy Poehler were two of the best to performers on Saturday Night Live for many years and they are both funny. Both Ferrel and Poehler are great in comedy sketches and Will Ferrel has the very rare talent of just making a face or doing something with his eyes and getting a huge laugh just for showing up. What is not funny is the movie both of these talented people are in, titled “The House”.

The premise of the House is a very good one. Two parents facing the nightmare of trying to face the incredible cost of sending just one child to a good college. Right at the start, trying to make paying for college funny is a daunting task because there is nothing funny about putting your financial future in jeopardy by taking a second mortgage out on a house or risking your health by working more than one job. The couple in this story try to pay for college by opening up an illegal gambling house and while this story may have started out a little funny, the whole idea took a very bad, unfunny and stupid turn and in the end turned out to be a pretty bad movie. This is too bad because both Ferrel and Poehler are very talented but the problem has always been finding both a screenplay and a great idea that actually results in a funny movie and in my experience this has been very rare.

I thought there was one scene in this entire movie that was funny, when Ferrel thinks that he has 401,000 dollars in his bank account and his accountant tells him that he is has a 401K account. That was a very good line, but unfortunately the only funny line in this entire movie. I thought it was unusual that the actor Jeremy Renner appears at the end of this movie, but the scene where he is set on fire was not funny and the scene where one of his thugs lost a finger and bleeds all over Will Ferrell was also not funny.

This movie should have gone right to DVD and should be missed.