This week: A list from FormFire’s resident Asian and intern, Jeff. He doesn’t like movies so he’s going with television shows.
- 10. Family Guy (2001 – present)
“Family Guy provides humor for the days when I just need to feel my brain shrivel with crude and rude jokes that are sometimes borderline wrong.”
- 9. Dexter (2010 – present)
“The show that makes you root for a serial killer. Crazy.”
- 8. Workaholics (2011 – present)
- 7. White Collar (2009 – present)
“Love this show because of how smooth Neal Caffrey is. If I had to be a criminal, it would be him.”
- 6. Psych (2006 – present)
“Instead of a detective show where everything is suspenseful (not that I don’t like those), Psych gives it a comedic twist by making Shawn, the protagonist, be a goofy guy who works for the Santa Barbara police department by claiming he has psychic abilities that helps with the investigations. The truth is that he made it all up, but he does have a knack for spotting details most others would have missed. Humor + Cops + detective work, what’s not to like?”
- 5. Modern Family (2009 – present)
“Best ensemble of characters/actors possible. The kind of humor you can’t help but laugh at even when you’re watching it for the 15th time.”
- 4. Futurama (1999 – present)
“What’s life without a little Sci-fi? Now mix that alien stuff with humor and a character everyone can relate with because he’s from the 21st century, and you get this awesome show.”
- 3. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005 – present)
“Danny Devito + Charlie Day = pure LOLs.”
- 2. How I Met Your Mother (2005 – present)
“How could you not like Neil Patrick Harris? Challenge not accepted.”
- 1. Community (2009 – present)
“This show makes me want to attend community college instead of Case Western just to see if I can have the ridiculous paintball wars on campus.”
Until next time…
The Bourne Legacy
“Whether you call this a reboot, extension, evolution or a spin-off, I’m thrilled with where this franchise can go.”
-Jeff Bayer, The Scorecard Review
I went into this movie not expecting much. Why should I? Who wants a Bourne movie without Bourne? But as it turns out, I do. It surprised me quite a bit how much I enjoyedThe Bourne Legacy. Putting on his best performance since 2008’s The Hurt Locker, Jeremy Renner shows that he has the action chops to continue this franchise, one that has now proven to have many more stories to tell.
More of a spinoff than a sequel, Legacy largely occurs tangentially to the events of 2007’s The Bourne Ultimatum. This is one of the films strong points, as it not only strengthens Legacy, but also adds depth to the franchise as a whole, fleshing out previous plot points and backstory. Ultimatum was essentially about Jason Bourne exposing government secrets to the public. Legacy is about the consequences of those events.
Legacy does a lot of things right, casting being one of them. Rachel Weisz does a more than convincing job as a research-scientist-on-the-run, teaming up with Renner’s super soldier Aaron Cross out of shear survival instinct. The chemistry between the two actors is palpable as they fight for their survival throughout a series of exotic locales. And just for good measure, Edward Norton shows up, doing his best “morally ambiguous government operative” impression. Plot is another plus here, as writer/director Tony Gilroy expertly expands on the most interesting story elements from the three prior films. As fun as the plot is, pacing is often a problem here as the action beats aren’t quite seamless with slower scenes of dialogue or explanation. The final 30 or so minutes ends up being one long chase scene that could have used a moment or two to breathe.
The original three films are pretty much required viewing in order to fully appreciate The Bourne Legacy. It’s not a perfect standalone action film so I would probably stay away from it if you’re not invested in seeing all four. But, if you’re a fan of the franchise, this is a definite must-see.
Total Recall (2012)
“Casting and visuals are an upgrade, but we get far too many action sequences and not enough of the mind games.”
-Richard Roeper, Richard Roeper.com
“The movie is relentless in its narrative monotony. It especially devotes an ungodly amount of screen time to a series of endless chases — so many, in fact, that I had to wonder if the performers were being paid by the mile.”
-Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
“Colin Farrell is the blandest of leading men; a credible actor, but charisma-deficient – no matter how many times the studios tell us he’s a star.”
-Corey Hall, Metro Times
The above quotes sum up my opinion of this film pretty well. First, I’ve never really understood why Colin Farrell is consistently cast as the leading man, he just doesn’t have the screen presence to command these types of roles. Despite the miscasting, the film actually starts off pretty well. I was on board for at least the first half hour and really enjoyed the initial setup of the “Federation of Britain”, the Colony and the elevator shaft through the Earth’s core. Eventually, though, everything gets muddied up into one too many set pieces and scenes of people chasing or fighting each other through various locations, including: floating cubes, elevator shafts, hovering cities and helicopters. Pretty exhausting.
It’s confounding why director Len Wiseman chose to replace all the fun sci-fi elements of the original with scene after scene of chases and semi-incoherent action. All of the charm of the original is lost in translation as the script tries to shoehorn in most of the iconic moments and classic characters from Paul Verhoeven’s film, coming across as complete fan-service. To top it off, Bryan Cranston (Cohaagen) and Bill Nighy (Matthias) are completely wasted here, neither doing much of anything until the second half of the film. Richter and George/Kuato (the best characters in the original) are nowhere to be found.
The action stinks and the plot is non-existent, but at least the visual effects are pretty great. The dystopian version of Earth we see here is rich with the hustle-bustle of citizens, machines and the robot police force going about their lives, commuting to and from the colony for work. Speaking of commuting, “The Fall” is the most interesting element of the film. With the majority of the planet uninhabitable, citizens travel between “The Federation” and the Colony by way of an enormous elevator through the Earth’s core. The clever way the elevator rotates to account for gravity is a nice touch.
Other than some slick visuals and a cool setpiece or two, this is a mostly unecessary remake of the Paul Verhoeven classic. If you absolutely have to get your Total Recall fix, skip this and rewatch the original.
“No Arnold, no personality.”
-Christian Toto, Big Hollywood
Another off week here a FilmFire, so it’s time for a new list. I’ve decided to start a new series of the favorite films of FormFire employees. First up we have the top ten films from our favorite Quality Assurance Analyst, Joe Staff.
- 10. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
- 9. Gladiator (1998)
- 8. The Shining (1980)
- 7. The Big Lebowski (1998)
- 6. The “Hannibal Lector” series (1991, 2001, 2002)
- 5. The “Bourne” series (2002, 2004, 2007)
- 4. Training Day (2001)
- 3. Fight Club (1999)
- 2. The Dark Knight (2008)
- 1. The Departed (2006)
“I can not tell you how many times I have watched this film. Andy Dufresne is my hero.”
“The moment Commodus asks for Maximus’s name and he responds, ‘My Name is Gladiator’, I got chills.”
“The best horror movie ever made. Doesn’t need special effects to be scary.”
“That rug really tied the room together man!”
“Anthony Hopkins is beyond creepy in the series. It is hard for me to pick a favorite so I just put the whole series down.”
“Each individual movie is good, but as a whole the story is amazing.”
“Denzel is pure evil in Training Day. You hate what he stands for, but you also want him to win.”
“The first movie that is better than the book. Blew my mind the first time I saw it.”
“Heath Ledger’s depiction of the Joker is absolutely perfect. My favorite character out of any film.”
“There is no real way to describe the greatness of this movie, other than DiCaprio is dreamy and a genius.”
Joe has quite the eclectic taste, in movies as well as clothing.
Until next time…