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This week's Film Reviews (Apr 26, 2013

26 Apr 2013

Big films opening this week are, THE COLONY, THE BIG WEDDING and PAIN AND GAIN






Directed by Justin Zackman


            Having written the hit comedy THE BUCKET LIST, Zackman gains the opportunity to write and direct THE BIG WEDDING, actually a remake of  the 2006 French comedy MON FRERE SE MARIE.

  Sexual innuendo in the dialogue abound though nothing comes off as genuinely funny.  A friend of mine who saw the poster of the film claims that this is the type of film he has no desire to see.  Another of mine says that this is the kind of film only his mother would see.  So true, in short give this unfunny and original film a complete miss.  But it has been shown in the past that mist films with the word wedding in it turns out to be a hit at the box-office.  With an all-star cast, THE BIG WEDDING should prove no exception.


THE COLONY (USA 2012) ***

Directed by Jeff Renfro


            THE COLONY refers to one of many colonies that survive under the ice surface after the world has been diminished from its food supplies.  Colony 5 is out to investigate another that radioed to help.

            Director Renfro moves his film short and sharply.  It is all quickly explained that global warming has destroyed the food crops and it started to snow.  It never stopped.  Those who lived under the ice and snow in colonies survived while those above the surface perished.  The one in the film is under the charge of ex-army sgt. Briggs (Laurence Fishburne) though the protagonist in the film is Sam (Kevin Zegers).

            Survivors fighting  (each other and against predators) when the world is ending is not a novel idea for a horror film.  But Renfro’s film is distinguished in that it is shot in the decommissioned N.O.R.A.D in Canada’s cold North Bay area.  The expected dangers are there as in previous horror films - excessive violence, danger lurking at every corner, monsters attacking human beings etc.  But Renfro’s film, besides its above average atmosphere and setting, also contains a very exciting action set piece in the middle of the film, where Briggs and Sam escape their predators on a torn bridge.

  The one here takes the form of an unsympathetic Mason (Bill Paxton) who believes that he is right all the time and that Briggs is too lenient – so much so that he almost kills Sam and his girl, Cai (Charlotte Sullivan) in the process.  Cai and Sam’ romance is kept neatly at a minimum.

            THE COLONY succeeds though it contains nothing new that audiences have not seen before.  Renfro knows what works and keeps the same formula working for his horror film.  Performances and work in all other departments fare quite well resulting in THE COLONY emerging as quite the unforgettable horror experience.


PAIN AND GAIN (USA 2013) ****

Direcetd by Michael Bay



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PAIN AND GAIN is hot shot action director Michael Bay’s (ARMEGEDDON, TRANSFORMERS) supposedly personal film that Paramount allowed him to make at a budget of $25 million.  This is Bay’s smallest film, aided in part that he, stars Johnson and Wahlberg took no salaries but backend profit agreements.  But be not mistaken – this is no art drama piece, this is a film with the Michael Bay mark stamped all over it!  Loud, loud, loud! But surprisingly, PAIN AND GAIN is so unbelievably entertaining with Bay taking his audience on quite the ride.  And based on a true story.

            The film centres on Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg), a bodybuilder and personal trainer at Sun Gym in L.A.  With buddy Adrien Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-con just released born again Christian Paul Doyle (Dwayne Johnson), the not so bright three kidnap and rob businessman Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalboub) torturing him to sign over all his business assets.  They attempt to kill Kershaw by various means including running him over by a car several times.  They fail.  The film takes an odd route here by the introduction of a new character into the picture – retired cop Ed Du Bois (Ed Harris).  The film shifts its focus, abruptly from the crooks to Du Bois.  But the tactic works with the audience’s attention kept from waning.

            Walberg is on a winning comedy streak with this movie after TED.  He balances craziness, drama and comedy playing Daniel, a person not too bright in business trying to out talk businessmen into investing.  Surprisingly Anthony Mackie brings the most laughs, especially at the start of the film.  Johnson is also hilarious as the God-fearing ex-con distracted by his coke snorting habit.  The three misfits argue to the death in the film but he three actors play perfectly with their character interaction.

            The film is classic Michael Bay.  The signature stride in slow motion of the heroes in single file walking facing the audience, the rap soundtrack, the overdone action scenes, the comedy (TRANSFORMERS 1 and 2 were also extremely funny) will have the bay action fans cheering. 

            Bay appears to have taken the concept of the film to heart.  Like the bodybuilders in his film, who work it to extreme pain in order to build mass, his film goes overboard with everything he has done in his previous films (i.e. the film is as loud as can be) that he only believes that only then can his audience be entertained.  From the pet pup chewing on a dismembered toe, to weights from a dumbbell crushing the head of a victim to wild sex scenes, Bay’s film PAIN AND GAIN is the most appropriate title for the film.  Judging from Johnson and Wahlberg’s box-office track record, the film should be a hit despite audience’s current waning taste for action movies.

            PAIN AND GAIN could have been a classic satire on stupidity and the system but turns out to be a classic Michael Bay movie.  This is actually one of his better and funniest films.  And not many will complain! 



Best Film Opening: PAIN AND GAIN

Best Film Playing: TRANCE


Best Foreign: NO


Best Comedy: ADMISSION


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