Monday, February 4, 2013

Bullet to the Head (2013) **1/2

Director: Walter Hill
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Jason Mamoa, Christian Slater, Sarah Shahi
MPAA Rating: R Running Time: 91 mins.

Jimmy Bonomo is a hitman. When someone makes the mistake of betraying him there will be hell to pay and he will take down anyone who gets in his way.

Stallone's first solo effort since "Rambo," aka Rambo 4, is a mixed bag. It is a much better film than Schwarzenegger's "The Last Stand" which opened less than a month ago. Despite being in his 60s Stallone still holds his own in a fight scene. Unfortunately you have to wait until the end to get to the highlight of the film. This has more in common with "Cobra" or "The Specialist." I found it rather interesting that this film feels more like something Steven Seagal might have done earlier in his career. Walter Hill really keeps this film from failing. He keeps it moving along a good pace despite the countless cliches that populate the film. Many of Stallone's one-liners fall flat but he still exudes a presence that this is not some guy you wanna mess with. You get on board and what to see him dispense his brand of justice. There are some humorous moments here and there and a some what effective turn by Mamoa as the villain. Overall it's nothing special but is still mildly entertaining no-brainer entertainment.

Across the Universe (2007) **

Director: Julie Taymor
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachael Wood, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs
MPAA Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 133 mins

In the midst of the Vietnam War, a lad from Liverpool arrives in the states and falls for an upper-class American girl. Their romance grows during a tumultuous period in American history.

I don't know exactly what it was. Usually I can really get into a movie like this. "Moulin Rouge" excellent. "Rock of Ages" wasn't bad. However for some reason this one didn't resonate with me. Kind of odd since I am a Beatles fan. Like the two films I mentioned the music of the Beatles is used to either propel the story or underscore what is going on at the time. I suppose it really came down to I just didn't connect with anyone in the movie. Now that I think of it, I felt the same way after seeing "Rent" the movie but that wasn't populated by covers.

There were times where the songs were used effectively but others where it just got a little too cute or telegraphed. Taymor is usually a striking visionary but here she is just average. Look at films like "Titus" or "The Tempest", the look of this film can't compare. I really don't know what can be done to improve the experience. Afterwards I found myself really wanting to watch "A Hard Days Night." It's rather unfair to compare that musical masterpiece with this failed experiment. Oh, well. I guess I'll just have to let it be...sorry had to go there.