Tag Archives: Felicity Jones

“Collide”

LOUISA: 2 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

I want to slap the person who decided Felicity Jones should be a movie star. She is, without question, one of the most annoying and overrated actors working today. And once again she is miscast as a bleached-blonde American love interest in “Collide,” a movie that I guarantee you’ve never heard of and one that you could watch and not remember having seen a month later. It’s not wholly awful, it’s far from unwatchable, but it’s completely forgettable.

This amounts to little more than a low rent action movie with a repetitive, unoriginal plot. You’ll get plenty of deja vu that you’ve seen this movie before — and you’ve most definitely seen a better version of the same film before. It’s a classic heist story with zero originality or spunk. Casey (Nicholas Hoult) gets involved with some very bad people after he robs a truck belonging to a drug trafficker and mob boss (Anthony Hopkins). When his girlfriend Juliette (Jones) is threatened and in danger, he calls on his former drug smuggling boss (Ben Kingsley) for help protecting her. Yawn.

The film is an obvious wannabe homage to the classic movie “True Romance,” with more than a few borrowed ideas and lines. It comes across as a cheap imitator at times (Jones wears a blonde Alabama -style wig, there are certain scenes framed in the exact same style, and there’s even some similar dialogue). This movie serves as a pertinent reminder to never copy a true cinematic original (or risk the fallout of an unfavorable comparison).

As a car enthusiast, I wanted to enjoy many of the car chase scenes but because of the way the action pieces were choppily edited, I couldn’t tell what the heck was going on. When you have gorgeous, sleek cars speed racing through the German Autobahn with fantastic and skilled stunt driving, slow the camera down so I can enjoy and appreciate the action. This is just one of the many failures of this poorly directed film.

Another major distraction is the bizarre, head-scratching, cartoonish performance from Kinglsey and the unusually hammy turn from Hopkins (both not exactly miscast as two unlikely rival gangsters, but both over the top in their portrayals). Jones displays the worst American accent you have ever heard in your life (but it’s important to the plot that her character is American and not British). Hoult is as bland as ever, and their whirlwind romance so unbelievable that you’ll question the main character’s motivation in the first place.

The first 30 minutes of “Collide” are so bad, with the director (Eran Creevy) trying so desperately to make an “artsy” style film, that it’s painful to sit through (I actually contemplated walking out). I’m glad I decided to stay because while the film isn’t memorable, it’s not really that terrible. It is, however, a textbook example of a junk movie that studios choose to dump into theaters to fill the dead zone of February.

“Rogue One”

LOUISA: 2.5 STARS MATT: 2.5 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

I sense a great disturbance in the force.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” the first of the new Disney owned “Star Wars” back story assembly line films, is as underwhelming as it gets. I wanted to like this movie. I really, truly did. As a standalone film, it’s just plain boring. As a Star Wars film, it’s nearly unrecognizable.

I knew something was going to go horribly wrong from the film’s opening 30 seconds, which manages to deliver an instant letdown to longtime fans. A sluggish and unnecessary prologue kicks off this chapter like a drab version of a dramatic made-for-television movie. The movie starts off on the wrong foot and quickly careens off a cliff and into a whirlwind of mediocrity, swiftly reaching the point of no return. It looks and feels cheaply watered down, from the murky brown cinematography and the inferior CGI of actors’ faces to the abysmal, ill-fitting musical score by Michael Giacchino (the distracting, clashing music is by far the worst thing in this movie).

This poorly conceived money grab tells the story of a group of Rebels who band together and go rogue to steal the plans to the Death Star. The film’s timeline takes place before 1977’s Star Wars, so there are lots of mildly amusing Easter eggs for die-hard fans of the franchise. Adding in a few nods here and there will surely elicit a few knowing giggles from geeks everywhere, but these little references are a poor mask for what’s simply a dull, lifeless movie.

There’s no spectacle, there’s no drama, and there’s no suspense. We all know how the story will eventually end, and this movie doesn’t make enough effort to ensure its fable is compelling or the least bit interesting.

It’s hard not to compare this one to J.J. Abrams’ far better “The Force Awakens,” especially in its casting. The diverse cast felt organic and natural in Abrams’ movie, whereas the diversity in “Rogue One” feels forced and phony to the point where it’s borderline laughable. I appreciate that science fiction films in particular lend themselves to diversity, but when it’s obvious to the audience that certain actors were hired mostly because of their ethnicity, it comes across as more offensive than inclusive.

The elephant in the room is the ghastly showcase of some of the year’s worst acting, from Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera (flashing his trademark stink eye while delivering hoarse-voiced dialogue without an ounce of emotional connection), the general unpleasantness emanating from Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso (competent enough as usual, but better suited as a soap opera actor than big budget movie star), the gross overacting (translation: a lot of angry yelling) from Ben Mendelsohn (Krennic), the dead-eyed Mads Mikkelsen phoning it in as Galen Erso, to a notably detached and wooden performance from the usually composed Diego Luna (as Cassian). While I appreciate the attempt from Alan Tudyk to add some much needed humor, his voicing of droid K-2SO just comes across as a pathetic and desperate C-3PO ripoff. The worst of the bunch is Donnie Yen as blind warrior Chirrut Îmwe — he rarely reaches the low, low bar set by incompetent high school thespians performing in the year-end senior play.

Poorly edited with bumbling animated effects and elementary in its writing, I’m sad to say that I wasn’t even entertained by “Rogue One.” I’d rather have been taking a nap during the majority of the movie, and it will be the only “Star Wars” film that I won’t see for a second time in the theater (yes, I even saw “The Phantom Menace” twice). What’s lacking is that epic feeling, a sense of distinction and importance: something that the Star Wars universe should do — and usually does do — so incredibly well.

Granted, the last fifteen minutes of this film are freaking fantastic, and I guarantee it will leave you with the most amazing movie high as you exit the theater. But nothing can forgive the boring, tedious and strained scenes leading up to the endgame.

“Rogue One” is worth a rental, but just barely. It’s the most disappointing movie of the year.

MATT SAYS:

The first “Star Wars” expanded universe/spin-off movie is finally here, you guys! I was very much looking forward to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” but I’m more than a little bit disappointed in the result.

In “Rogue One,” Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is the estranged daughter of Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) the architect that built the Death Star. The Rebel Alliance, led by Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) reaches out to Jyn and taps rebel pilot Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) to accompany her on a mission to connect with Jyn’s former guardian and protector, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker). Saw knows how to find the plans to the super weapon, which the Alliance hopes may reveal a way to stop or destroy it before the Galactic Empire is able to use it to dominate the galaxy.

“Rogue One” adds some meat to the bones of the story we already knew from “A New Hope.” The problem with it is that there’s not that much meat – and what we are fed doesn’t taste very good. The first 90 minutes of the film are primarily devoted to introducing new characters and worlds in the Star Wars universe – some of whom we glimpsed through the trailers to the film. But none of these characters are that interesting, and (with the notable exception of the last one) the worlds aren’t that imaginative or special. After spending most of the film getting to know these people, it’s hard to react with anything other than a shrug. Sure, they look cool – but so what?

“Rogue One” doesn’t really come into its own until the last 30 minutes or so, when we get to see the beach planet battle that’s teased in the posters and trailers. The battle is mostly well-done, but the actors that are asked to carry the weight of the last quarter of the movie are clearly not up to the task. That is to say that the gravity and effectiveness of the battle is weighed down by the mediocre-to-terrible acting of Jones, Luna, and their compatriots. It’s fun to see some new and old Star Wars tech in action, sure, but it’s not as fun as it could have been if the movie had more emotional weight.

The film is at its best when it’s feeding us Member Berries. I won’t spoil any of them for you, but it’s fair to say that the Disney/Lucasfilm people harvested a whole crop of Member Berries for “Rogue One” and I will say that they taste… pretty good. For those of you who aren’t “South Park” fans (shame on you – you’re missing out), what I mean by this is that there are enough Easter eggs in this movie for “Star Wars” fans to make the world’s largest omelet. I won’t spoil any of them for you, but the problem with Member Berries like these is that while they are sweet and addictive, they are ultimately unsatisfying. Wasn’t the point of the spin off movies to try to tell new, different stories in the “Star Wars” universe? If so, “Rogue One” fails on that count.

If you’re a “Star Wars” fan, you’ll clearly want to see this movie. And you’ll love how those Member Berries taste. But “Rogue One” isn’t going to win over any new fans, and doesn’t make a convincing case for how this universe can be expanded to tell new and different stories.

“Inferno”

LOUISA: 1.5 STARS MATT: 1.5 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

The opening scenes of the Ron Howard directed “Inferno” give a crystal clear picture of what’s to come in the next two hours: a confusing, incoherent jumble of a movie that easily earns its spot as one of the worst films of 2016. Not only is this unsophisticated movie a complete and utter mess, it’s not even entertaining.

Tom Hanks is back as Harvard smartypants Robert Langdon, a popular character from the fictional series (“The Da Vinci Code,” “Angels & Demons”) by author Dan Brown. This time Langdon is chasing clues from Dante’s “The Divine Comedy” in a race against time to stop the release of a toxin designed to wipe out half of the human race.

The hidden clues are uncovered with little fanfare, and half of the situations make no sense whatsoever. There’s a bunch of nonsensical double-crossing and more than a few gaping plot holes. This chaotic movie reaches heights of absurdity that are rare even for a dumb pop culture thriller like this — and that’s even if you already readily suspend disbelief.

Langdon wakes up with amnesia in a hospital in Italy, where he joins up with young doctor Sienna (the horribly miscast Felicity Jones). What follows are many noisy shootouts and chase sequences (that have zero suspense whatsoever), and scene after scene of scholars attempting to decipher hidden meaning in numbers and works of art. Yawn.

Hanks is America’s likeable everyman, which means he can (sort of) carry the movie — but his charisma can only take this material so far. He doesn’t get much help from his dreadful supporting cast (led by the irritating and wooden Jones and the caricature acting turns from Ben Foster and Omar Sy) either. Thank goodness for Sidse Babett Knudsen, who adds a brief glimmer of professionalism and chemistry to this dreck. If only she had been paired with Hanks instead of Jones in a larger role.

This is a stupid story with a lazy plot and an inarticulate screenplay with oversimplified dialogue. It’s poorly directed in what amounts to nothing more than cinematic debris. This certainly isn’t a movie anyone wanted, which in turns means that it’s also a movie that nobody needed.

This mess earns a half star because I did enjoy the film’s setting in Rome, Venice and Florence (which are among my favorite cities on Earth), and one extra star because I still love you, Tom Hanks.

MATT SAYS:

Have you seen the poster for “Inferno,” the new sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons”? You know, the one where Tom Hanks and his co-star Felicity Jones are running towards or from something? If you haven’t seen it, check it out. I’ll wait.

The poster is actually a perfect advertisement for this movie. You see that completely vacant, bored look on Felicity Jones’s face? That pretty much sums up her “acting” in this movie. Tom Hanks does a good job as usual, but he can only carry a movie with a dull co-star and a stupid plot so far.

In “Inferno,” some kind of group led by billionaire Bertrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) has engineered a virus that will essentially wipe out half of mankind. Driven by the belief that overpopulation will doom the earth, Zobrist has come to the conclusion that the only way to save the planet is to cull its population. When Zobrist commits suicide to escape his pursuers, Robert Langdon (Hanks) is left to follow a trail of clues left by Zobrist to find where the virus has been hidden, before it can be released.

One of the incredibly stupid things about this film is the whole idea of Zobrist hiding the virus away and engineering a trail of clues to lead to it. Why bother? If you’re committed to a plan of action, why wait? And the reveal is even more idiotic, when we discover who it was that Zobrist wanted to find the virus. Why go through all of that trouble? If you just wanted that person to have it, why not just give it to them?

Okay, even suspending disbelief this movie is no good. Scene after scene, we see Langdon and Brooks (Jones) following the breadcrumb trail to exotic locations while chased by multiple pursuers. While it’s fun to look at all of the interesting places they go (like Florence and Istanbul), there just isn’t much to hold the viewer’s interest.

Don’t bother watching “Inferno”. It’s time for this franchise to die.