Every Sunday, Gill delves into his archive of over 800 movie reviews and randomly selects three for your enjoyment! Here are this week’s…
A Good Day to Die Hard
Even though it has the title and the star, A Good Day to Die Hard really bears very little resemblance to the other films in the Die Hard franchise. There is far too little action, and the narrative seems much more concerned with the character of John McClane’s son than with the series’ protagonist, unlike star Bruce Willis who is phoning in this performance to the point where he must have had quite the long distance bill by the time filming was over. Nothing about A Good Day to Die Hard makes it a compelling movie, and I wound up feeling like it had been cobbled together from Jason Bourne, Mission: Impossible, and Michael Bay movie leftovers. It certainly isn’t offensively bad, but it’s a boring, underwhelming film that probably seals the demise of the Die Hard franchise until someone decides to try and reboot it with a new actor in the leading role.
2 out of 5
Star Trek Into Darkness
As with Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness‘ Damon Lindelof script is full of plot holes and logic problems and doesn’t address a single one. The motivations of Benedict Cumberbatch’s villain and Peter Weller’s secondary baddie are completely muddled, and the more you question their plans the more they unravel. Star Trek Into Darkness also shrinks the entire, vast universe down to two planets, one of which is earth. Is there anyone out there who really wanted Star Trek to take place almost entirely on earth? Wasn’t the point that they were explorers? These are the kinds of quandaries that kept me from enjoy the film to the fullest. I like J.J. Abrams’ vision of the Star Trek universe, lens flares and all, and the cast is terrific, but without a good, solid script backing all of that up, you get a hollow experience that feels like far too much fan pandering and makes no sense the more you think about it. All of it leads up to a final act that felt completely unearned, and I left the theatre scratching my head at how big of a misstep this movie was. Abrams and co. had successfully rebooted the Star Trek timeline and could do whatever they wanted. Why would they then choose to try and remake the preexisting second Star Trek movie? Overall, Star Trek Into Darkness is a film full of great special effects and features the same characters we all liked from the film that preceded it, but failed to deliver the originality and satisfaction I was hoping for.
2.5 out of 5
The Great Gatsby
Either you have or you haven’t seen a Baz Luhrmann movie, and if you have, you basically know what you’re going to get. An odd mix of modern sensibilities and old-timey stories. Anachronisms, hyperactive editing, brilliant colours and energetic pacing. Some of Luhrmann’s films work better than others, but they’re all constructed using the same bag of tricks. I’ve been a Luhrmann fan for a while now, and I quite enjoyed The Great Gatsby, but that’s probably no surprise given that I also liked Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge. Of all of Luhrmann’s movies, The Great Gatsby most resembles Moulin Rouge, minus the musical numbers, and using F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel as its source material. The performances are quite good, even Toby Maguire’s portrayal of Nick Carraway is a bit of a blank slate, and the trio of Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton all turn in excellent performances. Edgerton in particular shines, and this is probably my favourite of his performances that I’ve seen so far. The glitterdunked Baz Luhrmann flare is turned up to maximum, and with the addition of the 3D gimmick, Gatsby features some impressive visuals and a unique vision of a New York City that, to quote Fitzgerald’s text, shines like a kaleidoscopic carnival. There are a few points where the film drags, and Luhrmann tends towards a certain high school drama student mentality, but in the end, that’s what I like about his movies: they aren’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they do appeal to the high school drama student side of me.
3.25 out of 5
See you next Sunday for three more thrilling short reviews!