29 Days of Romance, Review #29: Leap Year (2010)

29 Days of Romance, Review #29: Leap Year (2010)

Leap Year posterDirected by: Anand Tucker. Starring: Amy Adams, Matthew Goode, Adam Scott. Runtime: 1h 40 min. Released: January 8, 2010.

Anna (Amy Adams) has been dating Jeremy (Adam Scott) for your years and still no proposal. Her father (John Lithgow) shows up for two minutes to tell her an Irish tradition that if a woman proposes to a man on Leap Day, he must accept the proposal.

Anna follows Jeremy on his business trip and eventually ends up on a small island called Dingle, far from Dublin. There, she meets Declan (Matthew Goode), who drives her to Dublin for a price. I wish she would have gone to any other island because thus begins one of cinema’s most unbearable road trips.

The road trip is a series of annoying scenarios that prevent them from reaching their destination, and I know that’s how road trip films usually goes, but this one is just annoying. Have a working car? Not anymore, Anna accidentally pushes it down a hill. There’s a train going to Dublin in two hours? You’ll miss it because Declan wants to visit a nearby castle. Nothing annoys me more than convoluted miscommunication or writing in romantic comedies and Leap Year is chock-full of them. It’s why this film is my personalized version of Hell.

Matthew Goode is usually good but he looks completely bored. His character is also unlikable. When Anna gets to his inn, she plugs in her Blackberry charger and predictably cuts to the power to the whole village. “Women!” says Declan frustratingly and he goes upstairs to call her an idiot.

In some films, it works when the characters hate each other in the beginning and grow to love each other (When Harry Met Sally…). This is not one of those films. No matter how many love songs they play or cooking montages with a happy score over it, I didn’t believe for a moment they were falling in love.

Their dynamic is obnoxious as they assume stuff about each other, and a lot of the humour comes from Anna being shallow and wealthy, because she’s a city girl traveling the Irish countryside. As the car goes down the hill, she calls, “My purse is in there!” She’s not that likable, but Declan is one of the biggest movie jerks I’ve seen in some time and we are supposed to like him. Some of what he says to Anna borders on vitriol and they simply move past it.

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Amy Adams and Matthew Goode in Leap Year. (IMDb)

Amy Adams is passable in a film where it’s impossible to have chemistry. I love her but she only got one smile from me in 100 minutes. It manages to make her boring, and do you know how hard that is when she’s so effortlessly charming? She seems to give effort to a screenplay that is truly terrible. It’s more effort than writers Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont deserve, and Goode is a realist knowing it is utter shit and wades his way through it.

The screenplay misunderstands romance and comedy. The film is unfunny and boring, and to get to any schmaltz you have to go under layers of smut. The romance doesn’t work because the screenplay forces them into romantic situations. They’re forced to pretend to be married since they’re staying under a conservative couple’s roof at a bed and breakfast. They must sleep in the same bed, and there’s a scene that plays out like a cringe kiss cam compilation where they’re pressured into kissing. The comedy is unfunny scenario after unfunny scenario. Director Anand Tucker is also at fault here because he just let this happen.

It’s some of the most convoluted writing I’ve encountered, too. There’s a point where the owner of the bed and breakfast, Frank (Tony Rohr), could have gotten Anna to Dublin easily. It’s a Sunday and he knows she wants to go to Dublin, but there are no trains on Sundays. He doesn’t tell her that his wife Eileen (Maggie McCarthy) is going to Dublin that morning, so when she asks for a ride, Eileen’s already left. It’s baffling he doesn’t think, “Gee, maybe this nice girl would want a ride to Dublin since there are no trains.” The reason he doesn’t offer this is for story reasons because the pair aren’t in love yet. Perhaps my expectations are unrealistic to assume the characters have a brain or common courtesy, because there is no evidence of it throughout. I know it’s possible I’m being unfair, and maybe it’s the 30 romantic movies in a month talking, but I truly think this is awful.

If this is not my personal Hell, it’s at the very least a sick joke created by Jigsaw of Saw to torture me. I was expecting him to pop up and ask if I’d like to play a game. Yes, please. I would like to control the characters. Anna goes to the edge of a cliffside at the end of the film and Declan follows. I thought maybe she’d jump – take a leap at love. They do not jump. Let me at them, Jigsaw. I’ll push ‘em.

Score: 12/100

29 Days of Romance: Review #6, Blue Valentine (2010)

29 Days of Romance: Review #6, Blue Valentine (2010)
Blue Valentine poster
IMDb

Directed by: Derek Cianfrance. Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel. Runtime: 1h 52 min. Released: December 29, 2010 (US limited release)

I had tweeted before watching this film that Blue Valentine is a first-time watch and I wasn’t sure if I was emotionally ready for it. That’s because I’ve heard that it’s a “feel-bad” movie. Truly, that’s why I haven’t seen this until now, but I thought it was about time I watched it because I like Derek Cianfrance as a director and this is apparently his best film.

However, I enjoy both The Place Beyond the Pines and even The Light Between Oceans better than this. This just isn’t a film that I was invested in. I find the concept intriguing as the film tells the story of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) as we see the start of their relationship and the process of them falling in love. These scenes are shown in flashbacks six years ago, as our characters are currently in the present where their current standing is further from a happy marriage.

The writing by Cianfrance and co-writers Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne is also seamless in its transitions for its flashbacks and it’s well-written in its contrast of scenes at the start of their relationship and where they currently stand. The dialogue is also strong in its realism and when the pair argues, it feels like a dance between Gosling and Williams. The best part of the film for me were the performances from Gosling and Williams. They’re raw and their performances near the end of the film is where they are at their most heartbreaking.

Blue Valentine article
Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine. (IMDb)

I think my big problem with this is just that the pacing is slow and I found it boring throughout. I liked the scenes of them falling in love and them in the past, but I just never fully clicked with the characters. They’re real, everyday people and while that makes the film feel realistic and allows for very raw performances. And while something like Marriage Story works for me for similar reasons, I thought that drama was captivating and I liked the characters. Here, I just didn’t connect to the characters as much as I wanted to and didn’t feel any emotional reactions to the story until 20 minutes left.

I’d like to talk a bit about what worked for me there, so spoiler alert.

The contrast of Dean trying to fight for their marriage edited with their wedding is great filmmaking. This is one of the points where it worked emotionally for me. Dean walking away and his daughter Frankie (Faith Wladyka) chasing after him is also crushing. I think my favourite moment was the heat of anger for Dean when Cindy asks for a divorce and he takes his wedding ring off and throws it away. He then immediately goes through the bush looking for it. This scene worked best for me because it’s a knee-jerk reaction to losing everything, throwing it away and then realizing just what he’s done.

End of spoilers.

The arguments and negativity in the film and its sad story left me exhausted, and I’d be more exhausted if I were invested in these characters. The story here works, and the look of the film does too (with cinematography by Andrij Parekh), but there’s just something about it that underwhelmed me. It’s well-directed, well-acted and well-written but I didn’t like how I felt during this and I didn’t like the characters. It’s an anti-romance film that I appreciated more than enjoyed. However, that end credit sequence with the fireworks exploding over stills of the film is one of the most creative end credit sequences I’ve seen, so kudos for that.

Score: 50/100

29 Days of Romance: Review #5, Never Let Me Go (2010)

29 Days of Romance: Review #5, Never Let Me Go (2010)
Never Let Me Go poster
IMDb

Directed by: Mark Romanek. Starring: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield. Runtime: 1h 43 min. Released: September 15, 2010.

I think the most pleasant surprise about Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go for is when I remembered it was written by Alex Garland when I saw his name in the credits. He adapts Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel of the same name so well, and the film has such a literary feel and literary structure that it is compelling to watch.

Even though this has been out for 10 years, I quite literally knew nothing about this one other than the cast and title. I wanted to watch this for Keira Knightley but she’s far from the best part about this. The story is about three friends – Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) – as we follow them from their childhood at a posh English boarding school called Hailsham, into their adulthood where they embrace what they’ve put on this Earth for.

And really, from the point that a teacher at Hailsham, Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins), tells the children their purpose, I was hooked by the premise of this. This is a world with “donors” and “carers” where, thanks to the advancement of medicine, organ donation is a big thing and this is what these characters are chosen for. The carers are those that help the donors along.

There are a few twists and turns in this, but the “science fiction” part of this romance feels minimal and doesn’t bog down the story for those who don’t like science fiction that much. There’s some science fiction when we’re learning more about these donors. This aspect brings an extra layer to it that these characters won’t be able to live full lives.

It also says something about appreciating the time you do have on Earth. Garland’s screenplay portrays all these themes beautifully, especially the aspect of art in the film and how it relates to the character’s humanity. The characters themselves are lovely.

Never Let Me Go article
Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield in Never Let Me Go. (IMDb)

I think Carey Mulligan is phenomenal here as Kathy and her quiet nature and compassion is great. She’s the heart and soul here. Andrew Garfield also has a couple of strong moments to shine. Keira Knightley plays Ruth very well, even though I never felt as much sympathy for the character as I would have liked.

She’s the reason for the love triangle between them that’s at the core of the story, and it starts out believably enough at Hailsham. It’s also just heartbreaking because Kathy and Tommy seem perfect together, and that aspect makes it feel realistic for Ruth as a character. The jealousy portrayed is solid. It’s solid in scenes where it’s being voiced and talked about, and solid in one scene where Ruth is territorial. I don’t really like Knightley’s character here, but she plays jealous very well.

The contrast between Ruth and Kathy as characters makes this dynamic so intriguing. The actor’s chemistry as young adults as a trio works very well, as they just sell the intimacy of it all. The film works throughout as it reaches emotional points in the film (most of these reside in the third act for me) and it works very well in the beginning when they are children. The child actors (Charlie Rowe as Tommy, Izzy Meikle-Small as Kathy and Ella Purnell as Ruth) do a great job and look like the adult counterparts. I think the only way the casting would be better here in terms of looking like their adult counterparts is if Ruth were played by Alicia Vikander.

The structure of this film is just very easy to watch throughout, but never to a point where it is too simplistic. Garland’s adaptation of this is just excellent. Rachel Portman’s score also complements the story so well and it really made me feel the humanity of the characters in this heartbreaking story.

Score: 80/100

29 Days of Romance: Review #4, Dear John (2010)

Dear John poster
IMDb

Directed by: Lasse Hallström. Starring: Channing Tatum, Amanda Seyfried, Richard Jenkins. Runtime: 1h 48 min. Released: February 5, 2010.

I don’t consider myself a fan of Nicholas Sparks adaptations, but there have been 11 big-screen adaptations of his novels and I’ve seen eight of them. That number includes today’s review, Dear John, as it wouldn’t be a “29 Days of Romance” marathon without a review of a Nicholas Sparks movie.

The film is set in 2001 where John Tyree (Channing Tatum) is on leave from the Army in Charleston, North Carolina, where he meets the kind-hearted college student Savannah Curtis (Amanda Seyfried) and sparks (Nicholas Sparks?) fly.

The part of the film that works best for me is Richard Jenkins as John’s father, simply called Mr. Tyree, and it would be nice if he had a real character name. He has Asperger’s Syndrome and the character doesn’t have much depth, but his hobby of coin collecting is charming. He specifically collects “mules,” imperfect coins that were minted improperly. The writing uses it to say something about the film’s imperfect characters, too, and the best scene of the film for me is the story of Mr. Tyree’s favourite coin.

It tells how he and his son John shared a love for coins, but John’s passion for it went away. This aspect is sort-of heartbreaking because it’s such a big passion for his father and then they had nothing to talk about. It’s not explained why John stopped liking coins, but perhaps it’s because it was all they talked about.

Savannah’s developed as a compassionate girl who wants to work with autistic children. A conflict in the film is that John’s offended when Savannah notices that his father is on the spectrum, and he seems offended because Mr. Tyree was never diagnosed. The film’s use of the R-word to describe the situation also didn’t sit right with me because it feels like such an outdated word and someone who wants to work with autistic people wouldn’t use that word, even if the film is set in 2001.

It doesn’t take away so much from the character, but the Savannah’s compassion seems to be the extent of her as a person, and the compassion’s limited in that word. Anyway, I think Seyfried plays her well for the most part. Rounding out the “core” cast is Henry Thomas as Savannah’s next-door neighbor Tim. Tim has a kid named Alan, who has autism, so that’s another reason Savannah wants to work with autistic children. Tim’s used as a way to develop John as a character, as well. At one point, John advises Tim to tell Alan that his mom isn’t ever coming back, since John’s mom left and he spent too much time waiting for her to come back.

Other than that and John’s relationship with his father, that’s the bulk of his development. There’s little to him other than also simply wanting to fight for his country. John seems like a brick wall with an anger problem. I legitimately like Channing Tatum but the character is just so boring to me.

Dear John, ARTICLE
Amanda Seyfried in Dear John. (IMDb)

The couple’s chemistry is never amazing but it’s passable. Their initial two-week love affair is boring, but I liked the letter exchange portion of the film, and there’s a period of about 20 minutes during this where I thought the film was charming. Though, the passage of time during this letter correspondence is handled poorly.

I think these scenes are well-directed by Lasse Hallström as sort-of montage scenes showing their everyday life. Obviously, John’s at war and the only interesting thing Savannah does is visit Mr. Tyree. I think that’s when that’s when the film is at its most charming, when John, Mr. Tyree and Savannah are together. Jenkins is the glue that held this film together for me and the character is perhaps the glue for their relationship, as well.

The story is run-of-the-mill so there’s little holding it together in that respect, as all Nicholas Sparks films feel the same. The writing by Jamie Linden for this film is dull but if the source material isn’t that strong in the first place, it’s hard to make a strong film. Still, there’s one key emotional moment in this film where the order of the scenes and vagueness makes it lose emotional impact.

As for Hallström’s direction, there are many awkward directorial choices here. This is most notable at an airport where John and Savannah reunite. John lifts her up and they’re making out and we see a pervy-looking guy in the background taking off his belt, staring at them. It’s off-putting until I remembered they’re in an airport and he’s taking his belt off to go through security, not for other reasons… And that seemed to be the implication for a second there. I can’t tell if that’s on bad directing or bad editing that it made it to the final cut.

The film also falls apart in the third act, from story to direction. I don’t think the conflict in the film is ever strong but the third act has a story direction that I don’t think is completely necessary. It made me lose interest in the characters, even though I was never particularly invested in the first place. The chemistry just becomes worse, as does the drama, acting and direction.

This is the point of Dear John where it truly does not feel “directed” as there’s a scene here where Hallstrom would have gotten another take if he still cared about the project. In the scene, Amanda Seyfried does a “surprise face” that is some of the weakest acting I’ve seen from her. Tatum isn’t much better in this scene and it’s like no one wanted to actually act on this day of shooting. It didn’t seem like anyone cared and they just wanted to finish the film. As an audience member, I didn’t care, either.

Score: 40/100

Anniversary Review: Legion (2010)

Anniversary Review: Legion (2010)
Legion
IMDb

Legion. Directed by: Scott Stewart. Starring: Paul Bettany, Dennis Quaid, Lucas Black. Runtime: 1h 40 min. Released: January 22, 2010.

Since this is a 10th Anniversary Review, I’ll be discussing some spoilers, but I’ll still include a spoiler warning when I really spoil the plot.  

Frustrated that humans are just generally terrible people, God sends his angels to Earth to bring on the apocalypse. We see the apocalypse start at a roadside dinner in the middle of nowhere. The archangel Michael (Paul Bettany) eventually helps this group of people because the waitress, Charlie (Adrianne Palicki), is pregnant with humanity’s last hope.

Legion is just a missed opportunity that doesn’t feel like it has its own identity. At times it’s a serious actioner toeing the horror line, and other times it’s tongue-in-cheek, silly and hilarious all in one. The film’s highlight is a possessed granny, Gladys Foster (Jeanette Miller), who cusses everyone out, goes totally bonkers and starts crawling on the ceiling. I feel like on the film’s 10th Anniversary (well, it was released January 22, 2010, so close enough), this crazy granny is the only thing people remember about this film.

It’s a genuinely freaky moment that is also just hilarious. The whole scene is decent and when Gladys gets killed, the film’s peak dies with her. The cast is an impressive little ensemble even if not everyone has great performances. Dennis Quaid phones it in as the owner of the diner, Bob Hanson, and Lucas Black (of The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift fame) is a weak spot here as his son, Jeep Hanson.

Tyrese Gibson is fine, too, but honestly I watched this a week ago and completely forgot he was in this. That’s because the characters just aren’t that memorable, and the only characterization I remember is Jeep wanting to take care of Charlie, even before the apocalypse hits.  The other character work isn’t notable, as the only others of note are a family passing through including Sandra (Kate Walsh), her husband Howard (Jon Tenney) and their daughter Audrey (Willa Holland).

Audrey’s the only one who has anything to do, and Sandra’s just there to be a terrible, terrible character and a nuisance to the story as she blames her daughter for the situation because they stop at this diner because Audrey’s promiscuous and they were moving here (Nevada, I think) because of her. Newsflash, lady, the apocalypse is going on everywhere in the world. But to be fair this apocalypse is so concentrated here because of the baby inside of Charlie. I like Kate Walsh but her character is terribly written and she just brings so many unnecessary moments.

Paul Bettany makes a fine Michael, by the way, but it’s awkward that he never explicitly tells the group that he’s the famous archangel Michael. He’s just a Terminator type sent to help them and everyone takes that at face value because they don’t have a choice. Some of the action scenes of them warding off demons are fine, but they’re often unintentionally hilarious, especially when we meet small child with the deepest voice you’ll ever hear. There are some funny delights – like Doug Jones as the Ice Cream Man whose limbs extend and jaw widens and he starts charging the group. It’s one of the creepier visual moments.

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Doug Jones as the Ice Cream Man in Legion. (IMDb)

The film tries to say a lot about fate and explores a lot of its religious themes in dull ways, largely in conversations between Michael and his brother Gabriel (Kevin Durand). The brotherly rivalry is made boring and is the most disappointing thing about this film. If you haven’t seen this and want to, I’ll pretty much only be talking spoilers from now on as I discuss most of the end of the film.

It’s disappointing to me when you have the potential of a big fight and a fight between two archangels is so pedestrian. Gabriel’s weapon is cool but it’s a boring fight scene. The third act feels like a weak re-shoot. The part that makes me think that is after Michael and Gabriel’s fight when Bob blurts out an action movie one-liner (I can’t remember the line but this film is so cheesy there’s a decent chance it’s “your wings are cooked”) before he blows the diner. Gabriel starts to fly away like he’s about to be blown to smithereens. The concentration on his face is the look of a man that is trying to escape imminent death.

Instead, he catches up with the fleeing Charlie, Jeep and Audrey a minute later completely unscathed. That makes me think they tacked on the escape scene after test screenings because no way Gabriel’s trying to get out of that explosion so quickly if he knew he’d be totally fine.

Eventually, Michael comes back from Heaven, an archangel again with his wings and everything, and then I think “Oh wow, now we’re going to get the memorable archangel fight!” I thought maybe it was trying to make up for the mediocrity of the first fight, but I gave Legion too much credit in that moment. Gabriel just gets angry at Michael – his inferiority complex has been building up too long – and charges at Michael and Michael just slices right through Gabriel.

Gabriel plops on the ground and that’s the end of the fight. It’s kind-of an uneventful smack in the face and the editing here (by Steven Kemper) is just ugly when Michael slices through Gabriel. You barely see it and it’s literally like five quick edits in one second. The non-fight just has the sense of an editor trying to put the finishing touches on a weak film and says, “Sure, that looks fine, I want to go home.” Truthfully, that’s what a lot of Legion feels like.

Score: 30/100

Kick-Ass (2010)

Kick-AssReleased: April 16, 2010. Directed by: Matthew Vaughn. Starring: Aaron Johnson, Nicolas Cage, Chloë Grace Moretz. Runtime: 117 min.

The superhero niche genre is a prominent one in Hollywood these days. Whether it follows a big name hero like Batman or Superman, or if it’s a critical disaster like something akin to “Green Lantern,” they usually make awesome money. It’s always refreshing to see a superhero movie made with a low budget.

The story follows Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) who wonders one day, why has no one ever decided to become a super hero? He’s an unnoticed student and comic book fan who buys a suit and becomes a super hero, even though he is powerless, has no preliminary training or any true reason to do so.

“Kick-Ass” makes me happy for the future of R-rated super hero movies. This has a satirical edge and meta way about it. I love all the homages to super hero movies and the general universe comic books create. I think people who read comic books can respect it a bit more, but this is such an entertaining piece of cinema. The action sequences are tons of fun, and the comedy is just as impressive. The characters are colourful and this is probably my favourite movie based on a comic book. It gives audiences an interesting look into the world of super heroes without any powers. It does raise the question: Why hasn’t anyone put on the cape before and fought crime?

Probably because they’d get their asses kicked. And when they begin to be threatened by the mafia, things don’t get better – they get worse, obviously. That is thanks to Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) who are planning a revenge plot on mob boss Frank D’Amico (Mark Strong), after D’Amico framed Big Daddy, former police officer, and put him in jail for a very long time. (Hit Girl is going along with it because those are the values she was taught. This might disturb some audience members.)

The action is deriously entertaining. Director Matthew Vaughn balances the satirical humour with dark violence, that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Quentin Tarantino picture. One particular scene is hard on the eyes – but so well-done, and it’s a testament to the movie’s visual style and charm. This is a memorable experience, with a great cast.

Nicolas Cage was practically born to play the role of Big Daddy, a darker version of Batman. Some might question a little girl playing the role of a vulgar killing machine, but she (Moretz as Hit Girl) gets some of the biggest laughs and is included in some of the coolest sequences. Moretz has a great career ahead of her. Lyndsey Fonseca is there to up the sexiness of the movie. The film’s finale is astounding and the entertainment rarely dies down throughout. Blood and gore hardly looked so nice in a super hero flick. Vaughn expertly balances the action and the comedy, and I can’t decide which is better.

You care about the characters. The universe created here is magnificent. Aaron Tayl0r-Johnson fits the character of Dave well because, initially, he’s a huge geek. We get to see his process of becoming a character that can really kick ass without the help of spider bites or fancy gadgets. With no power comes no responsibility.

Action, crime, comedy, great characterization, blood, superheroes. This movie’s got it all.

Score95/100

A discussion of Red (2010)

RedReleased: October 15, 2010. Director: Robert Schwentke. Stars: Bruce Willis, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman. Runtime: 111 min. 

I’m joined by Dave over at Dave Examines Movies for a fairly short discussion of the 2010 actioner “Red,” starring Bruce Willis, Mary Louise Parker, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich and Morgan Freeman, to name a few members of the core cast. It seems that, as an effort to appeal to older audiences, many studios have making movies that appeal to the older audience; like “Hope Springs” or “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” But “Red” is no heartwarming dramedy – it’s an exciting action comedy, that came a few months after the release of Sylvester Stallone’s attempt to launch “The Expendables” franchise. Like “The Expendables,” it isn’t great in the story department – but it’s a truly fun experience.

The story follows Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), a former black-ops agent, who, after his life was threatened, has to regroup his old team in a last effort to survive and uncover his assailants.

Now, for the discussion I had with Dave… (Enjoy!)

Daniel: So Dave, how’d you like the movie?

Dave: I thought it was good, funny, and handled rather well for an ensemble comedy. I had some issues with how memorable it was though, how about you?

Daniel: I liked it, as well. Great fun, at least it’s more memorable than the other Willis geriatric actioner, “The Expendables” – so that has to count for something. What was your main issue with it?

Dave: I basically realized that the story in general was rather forgettable. I have seen “Red” once before when it first came out, and for a film that isn’t even five years old, I couldn’t remember what the premise was even about past a bunch of old guys in humorous action sequences, and yes, a lot of fun. To me, that seems to suggest little focus was actually spent on the story. For what it was, it’s exciting and hilarious to watch in the moment, but there are some things that escape your memory as time passes.

Daniel: Now that I think about that, and even though I only watched for the first time about a month ago, I’m only remembering the premise as Willis is a dangerous retiree who has to survive against a bunch of people who are trying to kill him. And I can’t remember what their motivations really were, to kill him. But do comic book adaptations usually have generic stories? It seems so, but like you say, I find it a blast – it certainly has a rewatchability factor.

Dave: It does, I agree. You can rewatch this for the sheer enjoyability of the thing. This is one of the only instances where I say screw the story, it was presented in such a fashion that you can have a blast watching. In some respect, it reminds me of a humorous version of “The Expendables”, but that’s fine, given the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of “The Expendables.” For Red, you have a great display of chemistry between the characters and a good amount of individual humor shared between them. You might not care about *why* they are doing the things they are doing, but you do care about the characters themselves, and love watching them in action.

Daniel: Definitely! For a movie that doesn’t truly care about the story, I at least don’t have the trouble I do trying to explain the plot of something like that “The Expendables” or, even though they aren’t alike, “Grown Ups“. The characters and the action are what matter, here. The chemistry is on-point. I think the relationship between Willis and Parker is charming. I think Marvin is the best character. Malkovich is so hilarious as that eccentric.

Dave: I just love Malkovich in anything he is a part of. That man is all over the place, and I love it. As for how the movie looks: It set a tone, and it stuck to it. There is never a moment in the film where you feel like something was done out of place. You understand the world the film takes place in, and it remains consistent throughout. Is there anything negative you have to say about it?

Daniel: Agreed, director Robert Schwentke knows what he wants to do with it. Not majorly, no. For an ensemble piece, everyone gets a chance to shine, even if I felt Morgan Freeman wasn’t utilized as well as he could have been. And I was underwhelmed by the antagonists. And, like we discussed, the lack of greatness in the story department. I find when the film doesn’t have the greatest story, it’s more difficult to discuss. Do you feel the need to mention anything about it?

Dave: I would just have to say the lack of a memorable storyline dragged this film to a place it didn’t want to be in. Having that downfall basically made Red a tad forgettable in an area that will hurt them in the end. Years after people watch it, and when it pops up in a conversation, they’ll be saying, “Remember that one funny movie…with the old people…and all the violence?” Well, that could be a number of films. This film is unique in a way, it just doesn’t have the long-term click that makes it fully memorable… Do you have a rating for it?

Daniel: Hahah exactly. I’d give it a 78, because it’s not quite at an 80, lol. And even though I’m not a fan of giving random-ish scores like that any more, I think I have to bend the rules for this one.  What would you give it?

Dave: Close to yours, actually, I gave it a 76, because I see it as better than 75. Thanks for discussing Red with me, and I hope we can do it again sometime soon!

Daniel: Nice! Thanks for the discussion, Dave. I hope so, too! Would you want to discuss the sequel once we both see it?

Dave: I was going to suggest the same thing. Sounds like a plan!