Tag Archives: John C. McGinley

“The Belko Experiment”

LOUISA: 3 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

Oh, what a great movie this could have been.

In what’s been described with mild accuracy as “Office Space” meets “Battle Royale,” “The Belko Experiment” is a bloody, gruesome and hyper violent exercise in indie cinema with an abundance of missed potential. Instead of striving for a masterpiece of comedy or a clever critique on workplace hierarchy and office politics, director Greg McLean and writer James Gunn instead opt for a disappointing, unimaginative bloodbath. It’s a cruelly savage tale of massacre and slaughter with no heft or meaning, just lots of blood.

What a letdown.

The plot is straightforward and unoriginal, and the film relies on its white collar world setting as the only mark of creativity. In a sick and twisted social experiment, an office full of 80 American employees are trapped inside their corporate high rise headquarters in Bogotá, Colombia. They must commit a certain number of murders per hour at the behest of an unknown voice broadcasting over the loudspeaker in the building. An all-out war soon ensues as the office becomes a splatter-filled playground of carnage in a contest for the survival of the fittest.

Movie like this are always a bit fun to watch (“The Hunger Games,” “The Condemned,” “The Running Man”) and I understand that nonstop violence can sometimes be a fun escape, but this movie misses the mark in a big way. For films like this to be truly compelling, the characters have to be sympathetic, driven and relatable in their will to survive and their eagerness to become murderers. It’s not the fault of the actors either, as there are some decent performances from John Gallagher Jr., Melonie Diaz and Adria Arjona, with Tony Goldwyn and John C. McGinley adding the best turns as two bosses gone rogue. Here we just get to watch as shallow, thinly scripted office workers are shot, stabbed, impaled, torn apart by hatchets, kicked to death, burned alive, and have their necks broken, all in a frantic assembly line fashion.

There are a couple of inspired ways that some of the associates meet the demise, including one guy who has his brains bashed in by a tape dispenser and several others getting the ultimate surprise of having their heads explode all over the break room. This is more of a straight up horror gore fest rather than a thoughtful or fun movie, and I left extremely disappointed in this colossal waste of potential.

“The Belko Experiment” is little more than dumbed down carnage that’s being marketed to educated genre fans and as a result, the project fails.

“Get A Job”

LOUISA: 1.5 STARS MATT: 1.5 STARS


LOUISA SAYS:

Whiny millennials take note: movies like “Get A Job” are a big part of why you are often viewed as an annoyance by the rest of society! This vapid, lazy movie feels like an extended bitch session about how hard it is to find a job after college. Too bad the film doesn’t actually show the legitimate struggles and instead loses focus with its unrealistic plot, short attention span, and poor editing. It’s obvious this movie was made for those with extremely short attention spans.

Not only does it feel like huge chunks of the story are missing, but the dreadful excuses for ‘jokes’ are mostly a string of horribly unfunny embarrassments (you won’t believe the awkward, desperate attempt at humor from Alison Brie as the office’s sexual harasser; it’s not amusing, it’s just gross).

Even more of a shame is the great talent that is squandered in this awful junk. To be fair, this movie was filmed way back in 2012, long before the careers of stars Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick and Bryan Cranston really took off. The accomplished Marcia Gay Harden, John Cho, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (the only funny element of the entire movie), Brandon T. Jackson (the butt of several gross-out jokes), and John C. McGinley also lend their talents to this unclever mess.

I think I may be angry at the movie simply for its complete and utter waste of such a talented cast.

MATT SAYS:

Anna Kendrick, Miles Teller, Bryan Cranston, Brandon T. Jackson, Marcia Gay Harden, Alison Brie… with a cast like this, it’s hard NOT to wonder why “Get a Job” didn’t get a wide theatrical release. And then you start watching the movie. Mystery solved: it’s not good.

“Get a Job” starts out with a good premise, as narrated by Teller’s character Will. He opens by repeating what has been often observed: having grown up in a world where achievement and failure are celebrated equally by their parents and schools, where there are no winners or losers, and everyone is a unique snowflake to be nurtured and supported at all costs, Millennials are ill-equipped for the workforce and the realities of having to earn a living. The film then follows Will, his friends and girlfriend as they each look for jobs and attempt to integrate into the working world.

Sounds promising, right?

The problem is that the rest of the movie doesn’t follow this announced premise at all. Sure, the recent college grads struggle to get jobs and then find themselves at the bottom of their respective totem poles, but their trials and tribulations aren’t any different from how it was for any other generation. How they deal with it isn’t really any different, either. If anything, the film actually reaffirms their own inflated Millennial views of self-worth as most of them get much more attention and find much more early success than what really happens in the real world.

In other words, it not only fails to pay off on its premise, but it’s also fraudulent.

The only story line with resonance belongs to Cranston: as Roger Davis, a middle-aged man who pulled himself up by his bootstraps and achieved some success with a C-level job, he (who in the movie is Will’s dad) is suddenly downsized. Roger has to deal with his new reality and trying to find a job in a market where he must compete with people who are younger and more tech-savvy. Although Roger and his storyline are sympathetic, it is nothing new and not good enough to make this movie worth recommending.