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Non-Review Review: Brick Mansions

Brick Mansions is an incredibly stupid film. It’s a movie that doesn’t make any real sense. It hinges on a series of set-ups and reversals that don’t even hold together while watching the movie. Anybody expecting an action movie that makes any semblance of sense is probably best advised to look elsewhere. And yet, despite this, there’s a point where the sheer unrelenting absurdity of Brick Mansions becomes fun in a grindhouse “this is probably great fun at 2am” sort of way.

At its heart, Brick Mansions feels like a throwback to a very particular style of eighties science-fiction cinema. It’s an action movie with the faintest trace of a social conscience that really exists just to justify ridiculous plot developments and excuse a central story that makes absolutely no sense. Lacking the awareness or intelligence that defined the best of the socially-conscious eighties science-fiction action films, Brick Mansions feels a lot like the kind of guilty pleasure that eats up the airwaves at the most unsocial broadcast hours.

You don't need that to make out the plot holes...

You don’t need that to make out the plot holes…

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Non-Review Review: The Fast & The Furious 6

The ideal The Fast & The Furious film could only properly be summated with hand gestures and poorly improvised sound effects. “Rrrrrrr….” and then (wavy hand movement) and then “smack!” and then (index finger jams into opposite palm), followed a “bb’tccccch…” and (outward gesture of hand indicating explosion). Fast Five came close to being that perfect macho car chase film, one less concerned with plot and performance than a riveting high-octane spectacle treating its human cast as much like props as the vehicles they drive.

The Fast & The Furious 6 backs away a great deal from the charm of the previous film. There’s the same dumb action set pieces delivered in a charmingly intense manner by Justin Lin, but the script feels over-plotted. There are lots of big emotional moments between an ensemble that really wasn’t built to give those sorts of performances. There are lots of shocking revelations from events several films earlier. There are lots of personal conversations where Lin has no idea what to do with the camera but circle around his actors and hope that the audience doesn’t get too bored.

Not so fast...

Not so fast…

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Non-Review Review: Fast Five

Fast Five reminds me a lot of the kinds of cars that its leads drive. Now, please excuse me if the metaphor is a bit clunky. I know nothing of cars. However, whenever we cut to inside one of these enhanced driving machines, it’s clear that virtually every unnecessary component has been stripped out in order to make room for more relevant pieces of equipment. The passenger seat, for example, has been removed and replaced with some canisters I can only assume allow the car to go faster. In many ways, Fast Five feels a bit like that. I knows exactly the film that it wants to be, and it knows exactly what it needs to be that sort of film. Anything else – whether wit, sophistication or character development – is all just dead weight between fast one-liners, impressive action sequences and effective stunt work. And, I am not ashamed to admit, I actually quite enjoyed it on its own terms.

Let’s Rock ‘n’ Roll…

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