This is one of the most random weekends of the Summer. Going head to head in a battle for your money is a sequel to the surprise hit about retired spies, a blatant Men in Black ripoff and a scary movie about demonologists. Oh yeah, and there’s a kids movie about a racing snail…
Remember how fun Men In Black was in 1998? Then remember how much less fresh it felt in 2002? And then the whole act was pretty much played in 2012 with MIB 3? Well, now we have a comic book adaptation called R.I.P.D. This stands for the Rest In Peace Department. Cute, huh? And this ghost hunting movie follows the decline of MIB.
Ryan Reynolds is a dishonest cop trying to make things right. But early on in the movie, he is killed (by someone obvious) in a raid. Instead of suffering Judgment for his sins, he is given the chance to work for the supernatural division of Heaven’s police force, RIPD, for 100 years. He joins his partner, Rooster Cogburn, and they do their best to track down any “Dead-O’s” still remaining on Earth.
If you’re questioning what a Dead-O is, just think of Mike Myer’s Fat Bastard character would look like if he were designed with special effects from 1992. (I’m pretty sure Lawnmower Man looked more realistic than anything in this movie)
Ryan Reynolds still continues to make bad choices in his roles. The guy could be a star if he stopped playing a smug know-it-all. Or if he finally played Deadpool. Jeff Bridges apparently walked off the True Grit set and didn’t feel like changing his voice for his role here. I’ll admit, he had several great lines, but I couldn’t help feeling like I was watching “True Grit in Hell.”
This movie is watchable. It’s hardly terrible. It’s just so forgettable and it misses the mark on any sort of tone. It feels like it’s one step behind on humor and excitement. Almost there, but it never achieves anything great.
I almost leaned towards recommending this movie as a rental, but to be honest, I would never tell any of my friends to watch this movie.
It’s also the least original movie I’ve seen lately. It’s like one of those knock-off cologne bottles with a label that says, “If you love MIB, Ghostbusters, Ghost and Hellboy. You’ll love R.I.P.D.”
RIPD is DOA. Skip it.
As any haunted house movie starts off, a family (the Perrons’) moves into their dream home in an isolated part of town. While exploring their new house, they discover a boarded-off stairway leading to the basement of your nightmares. As the family is terrorized nightly, they request the help of nationally-recognized demonologists, Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens have had a history with real and false claims of hauntings, so they explore the house to disprove the Perrons’. But upon their initial investigation, it’s clear that the Perron family won’t be able to escape their haunting simply by moving away.
I must say that director James Wan is improving with every horror film he does. He’s come a long way from the first Saw movie, then to Insidious and now The Conjuring. He has found a way to craft suspense and horror and find the right tone. Sadly, his next movie will be Fast & Furious 7, so that’s a shame.
Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga play Ed and Lorraine Warren, respectively. Patrick Wilson is the same as he is in every movie. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. His forgettable appearance and demeanor make him the “everyman,” so people can relate to his character. Farmiga, on the other hand, is the star of the show. Her role of Lorraine, as a clairvoyant who has seen true darkness and can’t shake it, is the best part of the movie, other than the actual scares.
The Conjuring is scary. It succeeds in its goal. And even in the slower segments when we follow the Perrons’ or Warrens’ in daily life, you get invested in the characters and aren’t bored. A few recent horror movies (Insidious, Sinister) have managed to become recent great scary flicks with arguably weak climaxes. The Conjuring does not have that issue. It’s refreshing to see a horror movie that doesn’t fall apart in the last 20 minutes. In fact, the movie builds up to an ending that will have you on the edge of your seat or curled up next to your significant other (I prefer to be the little spoon, personally).
The “feel” of this movie is perfect. It feels like a retro slow-burn of 1970’s horror films. I haven’t seen camera work this great in a long time. It really does call attention to the art of cinematography, in comparison to found-footage movies that are filmed on the cheap and rely on poor camera work.
There’s not much else to say other than to tell you to see this movie. It’s rare to find a new horror classic, but The Conjuring definitely applies. For those worried about blood and guts, there are none. Instead it’s rated R for children in peril. I’d say the MPAA missed the mark though.
RED, or Retired Extremely Dangerous, followed Frank (Bruce Willis) as he fought to clear his name and escape death as he traveled with fellow military retirees (John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren) and found love with Sarah (Mary Louise Parker).
RED 2 follows suit as Marvin and Frank find out that they’ve been named as terrorists that were part of a plot involving a imprisoned scientist and a missing nuclear portable device. Both the U.S. Govt and MI-6 send out agents to kill them, but as we learned before, it’s not so easy to take these older specialists out of the picture. Frank, Marvin and Sarah travel Europe to find clues about the bomb and they eventually rescue the device’s original creator, Bailey (Anthony Hopkins). There are some double-crossings, but Frank always seems to find a way to come out on top.
If you liked the first movie, I have a good feeling you’ll like RED 2. It’s very similar in tone, dialogue and ridiculous plot that you could throw a shark into (sorry, I recently watched Sharknado). But Mary Louise Parker and John Malkovich get some great moments that carry the movie from one action set piece to the next. Catherine Zeta Jones also turns in a decent, though limited role.
RED 2 is a solid rental. There’s nothing here that you need to see in the theater, but you also won’t be wasting your time if you rent this movie in 3 months. Though Bruce Willis has tried to ruin his career with GI Joe 2 and Die Hard 5 earlier this year, his character of Frank is dynamic and likable. I’m sure we’ll be seeing RED 3 in about 3 years.
Does anyone else feel like RED is the classy version of The Expendables?