The Valero Verdict: Cold Pursuit

Welcome to the first edition of the “The Valero Verdict” movie review. In this I will give you a quick movie review with a couple of bullet points of which I either liked or disliked. I will end the review with rating of the movie and a short overall thoughts.

On the docket today, Cold Pursuit, the action packed movie starring Liam Neeson.

  • The score of this movie had a very “western” feel to it, but the movie set in the Colorado Blizzard, it was kind of weird.
  • Tom Bateman was a fantastic bad guy in the movie, they did a fantastic job of making him a big time douche bag and making you buy it with every moment he was on the screen.
  • I was a big fan of the “ruthless” side of Liam Neeson that we really hadn’t seen. He really just kicked some ass without asking a whole lot of questions.
  • One the flip side of that, my one big bone to pick was that you really didn’t have a background story on how Neeson’s character was such a “bad ass”. He turned Citizen of the Year to Cold Blooded Killer in a span of 10 minutes. I know his son got murdered but still, a little background goes a long way.  
  • I was a massive fan of the “RIP” of the characters after they died, it was a nice little touch.

The Verdict:

** ½ out of ***** star

The variety of plot holes aside, it wasn’t a bad movie. The revenge plot is beaten to the grave at this point in Hollywood, especially in Liam Neeson movies but this was a little different which made it a tad enjoyable.

Should you see it?: I wouldn’t rush out to the theaters to catch this movie but I do say it is certainly RedBox worthy.

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The Purge: Anarchy Review

I had the chance to check out an advance screener of The Purge: Anarchy and have filmed a little video given my thoughts on the film.

Follow me over on Twitter @rickygangster

Gravity Review

After hearing all the hoopla surrounding the movie Gravity, I decided to go out to the movies and see it for myself. It is the #1 movie two weeks in a row and breaking box office records. I also decided if I was going to see it, I was going to see it in 3D/IMAX. So after seeing the movie, I give you my 7 things I did and didn’t like about the movie.

Plot: A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leave them adrift in space.

Gravity Review

1. The Acting: You don’t get bigger than Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, so I wasn’t surprised that the acting would be good in this. It takes a lot of talent to basically film the movie in a few shots in one spot. Bullock brought her A game to the role and the role of the “upset, lost and hurt person” is perfect for her. Though I couldn’t really “care” about her character (I’ll get into that more later) but I don’t blame her for that. She was good and it showed every time she was on the screen. Clooney was also casted perfect for this role, fun-loving guy on his last go around. He brought much-needed laughs to the movie. It was an effortless role for Clooney, nothing overly impressive but was good in the role.

2. Visually Perfect: The film was beautiful. From shot to shot in space was put together well and made up for a lack of a good story. The way he was able to make the movie seem so realistic with certain movements was really cool to see on-screen.

3. The story was good but not great: Some of the stuff that Alfonso Cuaron brought onto the screen was great but it lacked and felt “over the top”. The first half of the movie he really brought an interesting story with a nice build, but the second half just fell apart and lacked a great finish.

4. The movie was just boring: It was boring. The movie came in at 1 h 31 min, surprisingly not overdone and thankfully it wasn’t. But at times you just could wonder off in space (pun not intended). It was just tough to care or pay attention to the movie.

5. Director Alfonso Cuaron couldn’t make me care for the characters: As I stated earlier the movie had some great acting by Bullock but even with the sob story that they give you for her character, I just couldn’t find myself caring whether she lived or died.

6. 3D/IMAX: So I took the time to see the movie in 3D/IMAX because there was a lot of solid feedback on that’s how I should see it. It was my 1st experience with such format, I have seen an IMAX movie before as well as a 3D but never together at once.

1st I didn’t like that the IMAX was only part of the screen. 2nd the 3D was just terrible, outside the remastered version of Jurassic Park I have yet to see movie that made the 3D worthwhile. I want things popping out at me, for the extra 5-10$ they are making you pay at least make the movie worth it.  The movie was only around 10 minutes worth of any 3D worthy parts.

7. Final Verdict:

Vegetables out of a Full Dinner

While Cuaron brought us a visually spectacular movie, it really lacked a good story and he failed to make me care about the characters in the movie. I was bored at times and it was a wasted movie that had a great performance by Bullock. Even though it’s the #1 movie in the world, I wouldn’t recommend this movie to anyone.

My Movie Ratings Scale

Vegetable – the movie was about as boring as eating vegetable with no meat.
Vegetable and Starch – wasn’t a bad movie but it really lacked the meat.
Meat Vegetable & Starch – Enjoyable and fun but missing something
Meat Vegetable Starch & Roll – So good I came back for seconds.
Full Dinner w/Desert – The Perfect movie, where I had my cake and ate it too.

Prisoners Movie Review

Over the weekend I decided to pop into the movies again, this time I went to see Prisoners. The moment I saw this trailer I knew it had potential to be a great movie. The cast is star-studded with Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terrence Howard and Maria Bello. Well with all that being said lets dive right into the 9 things I liked and didn’t like about Prisoners.

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Plot: When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue leads and the pressures mounts. Just how far will this desperate father go to protect his family?

Prisoners Movie Review

1. Denis Villeneuve was the director of this film and I had previously never even heard of the guy, which was kind of scary because this movie looked good but the thought of a director whose never really done a big style film was concerning.

But Villeneuve nailed it; from start to finish he kept you on the edge of your seat and kept you guessing throughout the movie. The pain and anguish you felt for this family was heartbreaking, you couldn’t help but want to see this family get his retribution.

2. This movie had a great story (Aaron Guzikowski penned this). They made you care about the characters, they didn’t make you feel dumb by any means and they even got you to feel for Alex Jones (Paul Dano) which that in itself was amazing. Guzikowski has a sick mind for sure to write this movie but the writing on this was just brilliant and the fact that Villeneuve was able to translate that to the big screen so well was great.

3. Hugh Jackman: It doesn’t get bigger than Jackman. He is a star and he showed why in this movie. He played an intense, caring and fight to the death father that just wanted his daughter back. You slowly watch Keller Dover (Jackman) transform from a concerned father into a guy that was willing to do anything to find his daughter. A lot of people said “Oscar talk” before this and I was like that is a big statement to make but as of right now Jackman has to be a front-runner for Best Actor.

4. Jake Gyllenhaal: Jake is easily one of my favorite actors, he has played in some really god movies over the past few years (End of Watch, Source Code & Brothers). He rivaled Jackman with his performance in this. He played Detective Loki, who was in charge of finding these little girls and knocked it out of the park.

5. Paul Dano: Dano was on the big screen with some big stars in this and held his own just fine. The way he portrayed Alex Jones, a timid scared and very creepy adult that wasn’t all there, he nailed it. His character was written so well that you couldn’t help but feel for him towards the end of the film.

6. The rest of the cast: Terrence Howard, Maria Bello, Viola Davis & others. Perfect casting for this film, Howard was great for this role and was interesting to see his character (Franklin Birch) turn into the guy that Kellen Dover wanted him to be and not who he thought he should be. Viola Davis didn’t have too much screen time but one scene in particular she was amazing. I won’t spoil it, you will just know whenever you see it. I think the Grace Dover character was made for Maria Bello and nobody else. A movie is only as good as its cast and this showed it.

7. The emotion: I am a huge movie guy and will give just about any movie at least one shot. But the bad thing is seeing so many movies you find it hard to care about characters. Only really good movies get me to care and this was one of them. I was emotionally invested into each role; though it was a tad long they still kept the movie going at a steady pace. Whether it was Dover (Jackman) just beating Jones (Dano) into a bloody pulp or Grace (Bello) just crawled into a ball on a bed crying missing her kid, you felt what they felt. That is what makes a great movie and boy was this a damn good movie.

8. Kept you guessing: I love a movie where you sit through the movie and just keep trying to guess who is the killer or who is this or that. This was that movie; I was sitting there next to my brother and just trying to figure out where they were going with the movie. I would think it was going to go right and they hooked a left 4 streets before that right. They led you to believe many different things and none of which really came to fruition.

9. The payoff: I refuse to spoil any of the ending for you guys but what a freaking ending. (That is all I will say about that) If you have seen this movie, please leave a comment below on your thoughts on the ending. Would love to hear what people thought of it.

The Verdict:

5 out of 5 stars

Villeneuve & Guzikowski teamed up to bring what I think is a top 5 movie of the year so far, actually might be the best movie I’ve seen this year. Just a fun thrilling ride start to finish that keeps you guessing at every turn. Two Oscar worthy performances by Jackman and Gyllenhaal, a supporting cast and an amazing movie that will keep you talking about it for days.