Commentaries

Thursday, August 17, 2017

THE HITMAN'S BODYGUARD



GREAT TEAMING OF REYNOLDS, JACKSON 

Film Review by Fiore 


I must admit I love these films.  Back in Hollywood’s Golden Era they were known as “buddy films”.  Two guys experiencing wild escapades, usually in comedic fashion.  Nowadays, the buddy films are more action oriented and ribald, therefore the pairing of Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson in THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD , helps make it one of the funnier films of the year.


THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD is chock full of quirky one-liners, double entendres and slapstick, all enveloped in impossible action sequences.  The stunts make most of today’s action stars’ endeavors pale in comparison.  Credit Greg Powell for the sequences which are so over the top, they are funny, despite the destruction.

Reynolds is Michael Bryce, a professional bodyguard with a AAA rating, until one of his assignments goes terribly wrong.  The embarrassment causes him his AAA rating, and destroys his relationship with Amelia Roussel, played by Elodie Yung.  Now providing protection for second-rate drug dealers, Michael is shocked when Amelia calls him, seeking his help in transporting an assassin to a key trial in Amsterdam. 

Reluctantly, Michael takes the job, only to find he is transporting his arch nemesis Darius Kincaid (Jackson), who has previously attempted to kill Michael 28 times previously. Darius can provide damaging evidence in the international trial of Vladislav Dukhovich, played by Gary Oldman, who is charged with genocide.  Dukhovich can be ousted, if Darius and Michael don’t kill each other first attempting to get him to court.

Salma Hayek, who holds a special place in my heart, though I doubt she knows it, has a cameo appearance as Darius’ wife, Sonia, which is so out of character, it’s actually one of the funnier roles.

1.1        KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:

1.      THE MEETING
2.      THE CAR RIDE


THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD would play a bit better if it were a tad shorter, but Editor Jake Roberts would be hard pressed to cut much of the film in its current context.  It moves well, and the comedy is enough to fight off restlessness.

Let’s take a look at the report card for THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD:

1.2   ACTING = B

1.3   CINEMATOGRAPHY = B

1.4   SOUND/MUSIC = B

1.5   EDITING = B

1.6   LIGHTING = B

1.7   SCRIPT = B

1.8   SFX = B

1.9   ACTION = A


Excellent chemistry between Jackson and Reynolds, impossible stunts and unrealistic action make THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD a lot of fun.  The film is rated R, and for good reason.  Exercise good parenting, and leave the kiddies at home.  This is a great, adult night out.


REWATCHABLE INDEX:  EXCELLENT

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

THE MONSTER PROJECT



INDIE HORROR FLICK

Film Review by Fiore 



Anyone who is a regular reader of my reviews, and you are legion, knows I am not a fan of the ‘found footage’ genre.  As a general rule, I try to avoid these films at all costs.  They are just too difficult to watch.  That said, you should know I made it all the way through THE MONSTER PROJECT, even though it is a found footage film, and I’m glad I did; it offered a decent horror tale with a nifty twist at the end.

The story revolves around Devon, played by Justin Bruenig.  He creates cheesy, staged monster videos on YouTube and makes decent money from the number of hits they receive.  With the help of his friends Jamal, played by Jamal Quezaire, Murielle played by Murielle Zuker and Bryan, played by Tobey Hemingway, Devon decides to take his videos to the next level, and create a YouTube movie.  His idea is to make a documentary on people who think they are real monsters.  Though he knows the precept is all a scam, he rations that with a few schlock SFX, he can go viral.  The project is a go, until the wannabe movie crew stumbles upon a real skinwalker, Steven played by Steven Flores, a real vampire Shayla played by Yvonne Zima and a girl possessed by a demon Shiori played by Shiori Ideta.  Now the troupe’s video lark turns into a fight for survival against supernatural forces.

1.1        KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:

1.      THE CONCLUDING RITUAL
2.      THE DEMON EMERGES
3.      THE FIGHT WITH THE VAMPIRE


The found footage effect provides a few jumpy moments, so some credit must go to Phillip Sebal and his camerawork.  Although, once again, I must point out there are segments when the camera is so shaky as to make the movie unwatchable.  It’s worse than having to sit through Uncle Charlie’s home videos.  Sebal also serves as the film’s editor, and keeps THE MONSTER PROJECT to a respectable 95 minutes.

A special tip of the hat goes to Jim Beinke, who created and designed the monster make-up.  Shiori’s demon is especially noteworthy.  Beinke is not a Hollywood main-stay, but his work here will certainly bring him notoriety, just like THE INCREDIBLE MELTING MAN did for Rick Baker. 

Let’s take a look at the report card for THE MONSTER PROJECT:

1.2   ACTING = C

1.3   CINEMATOGRAPHY = D

1.4   SOUND/MUSIC = C

1.5   EDITING = B

1.6   LIGHTING = B

1.7   SCRIPT = B

1.8   SFX = A

1.9   ACTION = B



THE MONSTER PROJECT, like so many Indie films these days, was funded primarily through Kickstarter.  While the internet money garnering tool provides capital for too many projects which should never see the light of day, or a projection screen, THE MONSTER PROJECT is not one of them.  For those of you who love the old Hammer horror films, Director Victor Mathieu has pieced together an enjoyable movie, especially for a date night, or with a group of friends and lots of popcorn.



The movie is not opening in Pittsburgh, but it will release this weekend on VOD and PPV for those in the ‘burgh who are interested in checking it out.

REWATCH INDEX:  AVERAGE