Jeremy’s One Paragraph Movie Review: Red Dawn (2012)

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Oh god damn this was worse than I expected. Look; the original Red Dawn is just ok. It is looked back on with nostalgic eye with love but it isn’t all that good. The 2013 version of Red Dawn directed by Dan Bradley, tries to be different while having a foot firmly planted in the original. What the makers of this version of Red Dawn clearly didn’t understand about the original was that while it had action it was a film about family. The Wolverines were a group forced to come together as a family and protect to only each other but to defend their land. What you get with the remake is your typical current day PG-13 action movie full of loud explosions, bloodless violence and zero character development. Scenes roll from one to the next with no logic and absolutely no purpose. Yeah The Wolverines attack and defy those pesky North Koreans (Yes North Korea replaces Russia as the threat) and the war progresses. There are convenient excuses built in to keep explain North Korea as a legitimate invader but come on. Nothing matters in this film because nothing makes sense. Anything logical is explained away in simplest of terms or not at all. There is puppy dog love worked in to a war movie that rings hollow and none of the characters change one bit. Sure the two brother final get along at the end but then the movie ends of out the blue Nothing is resolved. Nothing matters at all. It is a total waste of time. -Jeremy

Stunt Granny Movie Reviews: The Purge and Now You See Me

yeah there are two movies but one has Isla Fisher on the poster. No debate.

Yeah there are two movies but one has Isla Fisher on the poster. No debate.

Story, Setting & Stars – the 3S theory I use to determine if I can enjoy a movie.  If you can get me with at least of one of those factors, then I’m down.  This weekend, 2 disparate movies – “The Purge” & “Now You See Me” – passed the test, in wildly different ways.

Imagine the United States with no crime and a 1% unemployment rate.  Apparently, our “new founding fathers” devised a solution to curb our barbaric and self-destructive tendencies – one night a year, all crime is legal.  Any individual can play grand theft auto on their fellow man for 12 hours with no repercussions (as long as they aren’t Class 10 individuals – there are always advantages for being deemed important, even in the future).  The theory is that this barbaric, cathartic release allows us to remain in a calm nirvana the rest of the year.   Detractors deride the purge as a tool to cleanse society of the poor, uneducated, unwashed undesirable wastrels from society.  Others accept & even embrace the event as a necessary evil to allow the United States to become a utopia.  Ethan Hawke decides to become rich by selling home security systems to protect his wife (Lena Headey) and two children (names unimportant).  Of course something happens to test the family, and mayhem ensues.

Full disclaimer – as a typical suspense/horror movie, “The Purge” is mediocre at best. Besides Ethan Hawke & Lena Headey, nearly every other character serves as a stereotype, place holder or plot device.  One of the main villains (Rhys Wakefield – the blonde, possibly inbred, definitely insufferable jackass in the trailers) is named “Polite Stranger” in the end credits. Do seemingly smart individuals act stupidly in the worst possible moments?  Yep.  Are there eye-rolling twists that suspend disbelief? Yep.  Are there events portrayed in the movie that make no sense?  Of course there is. Did I hear fellow movie goers literally curse due to the hare-brained activity of the majority of the cast? Damn right. Was the movie enjoyable? Surprisingly yes – strictly because of the setting and story.

Maybe it’s because I was blessed to live in DC for nearly 8 years, but this movie reminded me of a funhouse mirror version of Georgetown.  In the movie’s universe, it made sense for the Ethan Hawke to get rich off of the fears of his neighbors by just selling “foolproof” home defense systems.  Of course Lena Headey would have to deal with passive-aggressive jealousy and hatred from her Stepford neighbors who feel exploited by basically funding their lifestyle.  And of course in a society like this, they’d have precocious annoying snot-nosed kids that would eventually place them in harm’s way due to their tolerance and love of their fellow man.  I won’t delve too much into the antagonists of the movies, to avoid spoilers – I will say that they represented the most diabolical, vile individuals known to man….hipsters.  Douchebag Abercrombie & Fitch types with half-assed nihilistic tendencies and quarter-assed Heath Ledger impersonations, they served their two-dimensional role perfectly.  And by role, I mean portraying targets for Ethan Hawke to go Training Day mode on them.   So if you embrace the conceit of the movie, and look through the eyes of the characters, then you will find enjoyment in the Purge.  Just don’t go in expecting a masterpiece in suspense filmmaking, and you’ll be ok.

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