While I was watching Escape Plan, I couldn’t help but think DAMN! THE VEINS! THE VEINS! Sylvester Stallone has veins popping out of his arm so hard I’m surprised a slight brush burn doesn’t burst them open, and Arnold Scwarzenegger’s veins ain’t no slouch either. Do those things hurt? Do they make the steroid usage easier? I had so many questions, I almost forgot that movie was on.
But in the scope of action films, there are few names who will ever provide as much oomph as Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Scwarzenegger, and even though I’ll be the first to admit they are fairly past their prime (Stallone’s plastic surgery is looking messy), watching them is still amusing, just in a slightly different way. A bit less badass, a little bit more funny.
Speaking of “a bit funny,” although let’s replace “a bit” with “aplenty,” can we just acknowledge the awesomeness that is Woody Harrelson? The folks watching True Detective are most likely taking advantage of the quality acting they’re getting out of this man, and as it usually goes, McConaughey will probably take the bigger share of the acclaim. This isn’t a knock on Harrelson, but McConaughey’s character is bred for Emmy domination. Watching Harrelson’s character is a real magic act, and when he loses its temper, its always partially deep and effective, but a bit of a laugh riot at the same time.
To wrap up my savvy little intro, I’ll state that I am officially joining Team Cumberbatch. You watch Sherlock and try to fight the addiction, odds are you’ll fail as well.
Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Scwarzenegger team up to punch bad guys and talk tough and hope they make a big enough payday to afford a few more surgeries.
Ok, just kidding.
But seriously, I couldn’t decide what the most entertaining part of this film was. I had a few options, although by the end of this you’re going to be wondering about that previous sentence and why it suggested this movie was so good. But anyway, we have:
1. Jim Caviezel completely camping it up
2. Arnold going full accent (the scene where he just screams is hilarious)
3. Sylvester playing a character who we must assume has a borderline-genius IQ
4. 50 Cent playing a character who we must assume has a borderline-genius IQ
Jus’t. Can’t. Decide. But anyway, Sylvester Stallone plays this guy who can break out of any prison, and the CIA contacts him about this ultra-prison, but OOPS! It’s an inside job and now Stallone must survive and escape the prison by his own wits and the powers of Arnold Scwarzenegger. Jim Caviezel plays the surprise warden of the prison, and hams it up in the finest B-movie action fashion. Kudos that he can stand with the heavyweights and steal a few scenes in his own right.
It’s too long, it’s cheesy, and it’s the kind of movie that wants to make you think it’s really smart while staying as vague as it possibly can. Nevertheless, it’s not all bad, Stallone might have been in on the joke because there seem to be some potshot intentional laughs, and this is probably the only movie you can see 50 Cent play a character who we must assume has a borderline-genius IQ.
6 out of 10
Out of the Furnace
This is one of those movies that was built for the big-time. Featuring quality-acting extraordinaire with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe and the list goes on, it’s backed by Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio, and had a wide theatrical release on December 6th, 2014? You know that sounds like Oscars, don’t you be ignorant with me. Big names, December release, it reeks of Oscar hopefulness. Out of the Furnace sets out a bit more than what it is able to achieve, and that’s a shame, because it’s a generally decent flick.
Russell (Christian Bale) and Rodney (Casey Affleck) are brothers on a different path. Russell works at the mill all day and has a good woman to come home to, while Rodney is a troubled veteran leaning into the world of betting (and debts). Russell helps pay those bets until an accident one night sends him to jail. Rodney resorts to a street fighting ring to pay take over payments of the debts, brother gets out, Rodney ruffles the wrong feathers, in steps our revenge tale.
Yes, Out of the Furnace is just that. It’s a revenge tale. It’s not an entirely special one, and not as backwoods mysticism as it attempts to be. The first half is engaging, but the second half plays out pretty much scene-for-scene as you would expect it would after that first half. It just ends…a bit average. Thankfully, it has a wonderful cast who all do a shining job in this flick. Woody Harrelson is an evil marvel, Christian Bale is 3:10 to Yuma good again, and I loved them all. Even Zoe Seldana got me in her breakdown scene in front of her former lover.
It ain’t Oscar-worthy, but it does deliver entertainment.
7 out of 10
Sherlock Seasons 1 & 2
I finally grew ashamed. I had watched two whole seasons of an American Sherlock Holmes, one that lasts TWENTY-TWO episodes and is…well, not all British, and yet I’d not watched any of the neatly-packed, 3-episode format, 90 minutes each episode, of a, well, all British Sherlock Holmes. So I scrolled through on my Netflix List, found Sherlock, and gave it a go. I made it through the first two seasons, and I have to say I’m totally getting the hype on Benedict Cumberbatch. I mean, I thought he had been the best part of Star Trek: Into Darkness as well, but I had been wondering what else there was to this guy.
I’m totally seeing it. I love how freakin’ Sherlock-ish Cumberbatch is. I can’t even begin to describe how much fun it was watching Holmes go up against Moriarity. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to read a Moriarity story again and not see and hear Andrew Scott in my head. He’s so enterprising and charismatic, and the dialogue flows so well it’s damn poetic. I can’t wait to move onto Season 3, because, you know, the show ends with Sherlock and Moriarity both being dead, so that should be interesting.
9 out of 10
But seriously, if we’re going to team Stallone and Scwarzenegger up, can there always be a 50 Cent in the background?