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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Jeremy’s Monthly Movies for May 2013

movie_nightIron Man 3- May 3, 2013

Look Iron Man 2 isn’t nearly as bad as people made it out to be. Yeah it had its flaws but then it also led us right to The Avengers so all is forgiven. The previews have been coming fast and in abundance an each one looks more badass then the next. This is the official kickoff movie for the summer season and looks like it will be well worth the money. I have the tickets already.

The Great Gatsby- May 10, 2013

I have no idea what The Great Gatsby is about and I know I should but whatever. The previews look to be the usual mess of visual and music from Baz Lurhman and that is a good thing. This is clearly geared toward gay men and women as those re the only people I have heard mention this flick as a must see. No shame in that as it will drag in a larger audience this way. It will also benefit from make good ticket sales for men dragging their women to see Iron Man 3 the week before. Possible theatre movie but not set in stone.

Peeples-  May 10, 2013

First off I am not black that I know of; so I understand this movie is clearly not marketed for me. I do liek funny movies and this, well, this doens;t seem to cut it. I remember seeing this preview before GI.Joe and immediately called out that Tyler Perry had his hands in this in some capacity and I was spot on. So, after all of that this movie doesn’t look terrible but it doesn’t look very interesting as well. It is the same basic formula as every other fish out of water movie. The only curious development is that David Alan Grier appears to have abandoned his normal shtick and plays the straight man. So yeah save the cash and wait for TBS.

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