Kamis, 30 Januari 2014

RIDE ALONG Movie Review

http://www.dvdsreleasedates.com/covers/ride-along-blu-ray-cover-32.jpgRIDE ALONG (2014)
Starring: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Tika Sumpter, John Leguizamo, Bryan Callen, Bruce McGill, Laurence Fishburne

We are only thirty days into the new year, so how is it that I have already seen two Kevin Hart movies? If you read my review of Grudge Match, you may remember my feelings toward his brand of comedy. Some may consider Ben Barber (Hart) a bit of a loser. He plays an interactive "shoot 'em up" type of  video game complete with headset and works as a high school security guard. He finds out he has been accepted into the police academy and could not be happier. For someone that is typically loud and obnoxious, I bet you can just imagine how excited he gets. His life could not be any better as he is planning to propose to his girlfriend Angela (Sumpter). Her brother James (Ice Cube) has other plans for Ben. He is an Atlanta police officer who is not so fond of the idea of not only him becoming a cop, but also that he may be his new brother-in-law.
http://springsadvertiser.co.za/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2014/02/20131220_ridealong_trailer3.jpghttp://www.ridealong.com/splash/images/gallery/img5.jpgJames decides to put Ben to the test to see if he is worthy of marrying his sister. He decides to take Ben along on all of the annoying and petty calls that the other cops do not want to handle. Ben's high energy and fast talking nature are a bit of a defense mechanism as he is quick to act all tough and mighty but cowers when actual danger and intimidation sets in. It should come as no surprise that there is a side subplot regarding James and his crew (Leguizamo and Callen) against a gang of weapons dealers led by "Omar" whose identity remains a mystery. The first few times I saw this trailer, I actually found it funny. I was just shocked that I was laughing at a Kevin Hart movie that I would normally not give two thoughts about. I typically do not find him funny in the slightest bit. I was up for seeing Ride Along as I thought this may break my disdain for the comedian. Could I be proven wrong about him? Was he finding his niche? Was I finally embracing the fact that he actually could be funny and that I have been completely wrong about him? His brand/style of comedy is loud, wise-ass, high pitched, high energy and typically jokes around about his short stature. He definitely plays his style in every role. Many stand-up comics do this as they transition into film. People that go to a Kevin Hart film know what kind of humor to expect, which is why I went in with slight hesitation while hoping for the best. At first, I found myself tolerating him. I enjoyed his character and felt a little bad for the guy for the continual slams against him. His style was a bit more reserved in his scenes with Tika Sumpter. I lost focus and found the annoying Hart coming out to play once the ride alongs started happening. That being said, I still had about three good laughs especially during the scene at the shooting range.

http://i.ytimg.com/vi/UKPULWWK-Xk/maxresdefault.jpgThe majority of the story is pretty recycled from other comedic buddy cop type of movies. I had the same issue with last summer's The Heat, another movie with a very similar idea behind it. The whole side plot revolving the Omar character has been done numerous times. There is even the not-so-surprising twist that comes into play, which you can pick up on very early on in the movie. I really thought Ice Cube might have been a better actor as well. I am not trying to compare him to Denzel Washington, but he has been in the business long enough where this feels like an amateur performance from a newbie. His tough guy demeanor falls a bit flat. I will say it was great seeing John Leguizamo again. I feel like I have not seen him in anything outside of those Ice Age movies. Do not be surprised if we see another Ride Along in theaters within the next few years. This one seems to be doing well at the box office as Kevin Hart is a hot commodity right now. I am sure a sequel would be cheap and easy to make and the studio can probably make some extra money out of it.
Director: Tim Story

Senin, 20 Januari 2014


Starring: Ushio Shinohara, Noriko Shinohara, Alex Shinohara

The Academy Award nominations have been announced and four of the five nominees for Best Documentary are currently streaming on Netflix. As an artist married to an artist, I was drawn to the story of Cutie and the Boxer. Ushio Shinohara is celebrating his 80th birthday. He came to New York as a young artist from Japan and received acclaim for his sculpture work and paintings. At the age of 41, he met Noriko who was only 19 at the time. She was instantly impressed by his work as she had never seen anything like it. Six months later she was pregnant with their son, Alex. He continued his artwork while living life on the wild side, eventually becoming an alcoholic. Noriko felt forced to put her career on the back burner in order to raise their son and take care of their family due to his lack of responsibility and maturity.
In the present day, they are facing huge money troubles and cannot pay the rent that is due. Ushio opens a new exhibit featuring his boxing glove paintings with a representative from the Guggenheim interested in his work. Noriko has spent her life feeling inferior to him as if he has treated her like his assistant. She believes Alex struggles with a drinking problem and blames Ushio and knows they did not give him a proper environment to grow up in. She decides to let her creative nature come alive again with new illustrations about a girl named "Cutie" and her husband "Bullie". The illustrations begin outlining their relationship to which Ushio dismisses them despite the positive feedback she receives after showing it in their joint exhibition.
As the film begins, you think you may be watching this story about an elderly artist still working hard at what he loves and will not let age, health, or money stop him from continuing his passion. I am sure Ushio wants you to believe this is his story and that he is the artist of the family. The truth and heart of the story belongs with Noriko as we watch her finally come into her own after a long marriage of feeling like she and her art took the back burner compared to Ushio's lifestyle. There is a sadness and heartbreak to her story as you wish he had been more supportive and that she didn't have these feelings throughout their marriage. At the same time, I do not believe they have a terrible marriage as Noriko still loves Ushio and their love is evident.

http://www.roads.co/uploads/what_we_like/Cutie-And-The-Boxer.jpgCutie and the Boxer is another prime example of a film I probably would not have paid too much attention to as I strolled through the Netflix Streaming options, but I am so glad I gave it a watch. If the title throws you off, do not worry as they are merely nicknames for Ushio (Boxer) and Noriko (Cutie). As an artist, it is easy to understand the trials and tribulations of putting yourself and your work out there to get judged and critiqued by others. When it is your passion, you do not let anyone or anything get in your way. The power art has over us is undeniable. Ushio and Noriko have never given up on their passion no matter how small and cramped their apartment is, no matter how little money they have, and no matter how the public or critics respond to it. Their love for each other and their art grows and molds around each other. They may have disagreements and bicker. There is jealousy and frustrations along the way, but it is inspiring and moving to know their deep internal love prevails and makes them each better people.
Director: Zachary Heinzerling