Review: Jurassic World

Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jake Johnson

Review: Entourage

Starring Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Dillon

Review: San Andreas

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Alexandra Daddario, Carla Gugino

Review: Ex Machina

Starring Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, and Domhnall Gleeson

Review: Pitch Perfect 2

The Pitch is Back!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Tower Heist

When I first saw the trailer for Tower Heist, I thought it looked like a B-Level Ocean’s 11.  Then I saw that Brett Ratner had directed it and revised my expectations to D-Level.  But truth be told, what makes it onto screen for the first hour of the movie is a passable attempt at a caper flick.  Trump Tower in Columbus Circle makes for a very solid backdrop against which the Madoff-esque plot can unfold.  Don’t get me wrong, Ratner, Stiller, and Murphy aren’t exactly channeling Soderbergh, Clooney, and Pitt here, but this film is definitely a step up from X-Men: Last Stand, Little Fockers, and Norbit respectively.  The problem then with Tower Heist is the last thirty minutes, but more on that later.

So what worked?

- Alan Alda.  As Arthur Shaw, the veteran thespian proves once again just how accomplished he is – seamlessly slipping into a role that calls for the kind of duplicity one would expect from a swindler of Madoff proportions.

- The pacing.  Most of the movie moves at a brisk pace.  This is however partially due to the fact that Ratner rarely lets his films get bogged down in character development.  So while you will never get depth from one of his movies, at least you know that the man keeps the proverbial assembly line moving.

- Stephen Henderson.  As Lester the kind-hearted doorman, Henderson adds some much needed likability to the proceedings.  His presence alone makes you hope that in the end, Alda’s Shaw get his just deserts.

So what didn't work?

- Ben Stiller.  Stiller is miscast as the straight man in this film, which is ironic because he has made a nice career for himself playing the ultimate misfit.  Everything you like about a Ben stiller performance – oddball behavior, physical comedy, and painfully awkward les faux pas - is absent from this film.  As the lead, he is drab, one dimensional, and predictable.

- Eddie Murphy.  Nothing Murphy does in this film works.  He has no chemistry with Stiller and adds no comedic relief to the proceedings.  If delivering lines loud and over-the-top were an Olympic event, Murphy would have walked away with the gold for his performance.

- The third act.  It's dangerous when a flimsy script gets cerebral with its plot twists, because when that happens, things tend to come to a screeching halt.  I guess this derailment of Tower Heist was inevitable.  Just like any other team or individual who tries to defy the odds to accomplish the impossible, Brett Ratner’s attempt to make a decent movie was destined to run out of steam during crunch time.

- Underutilized Cast.  Tea Leoni, Judd Hirsch, Casey Affleck, and Matthew Broderick are given nothing to work with in this film - a total waste of comedic talent.

So…should you see it?

Should you ever see a movie that lists the director and the two lead actors as things that do not work in the film?  Of course not, but there is just enough in this film to make it tolerable under precise circumstances…in other words: for free, because honestly, the biggest heist about this movie is that it made $153 million worldwide at the box office.  So wait for it to show up on TBS or something.  At the very least, lower investment and expectations for this movie will decrease your disappointment.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Predictions: 2012 Academy Awards

With the award season winding down and the Academy Awards show upon us, it is time for me to offer up my Oscar picks.  In the interest of healthy competition, I have included the picks of my favorite fitness guru @JennieBFit.

- The Artist, Thomas Langmann, Producer
- The Descendants, Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor Producers
- Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Scott Rudin, Producer
- The Help, Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, and Michael Barnathan, Producers
- Hugo, Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
- Midnight Paris, Letty Aronson and Steven Tenebaum, Producers
- Moneyball, Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, and Brad Pitt, Producers
- The Tree of Life, Sarah Green, Bill Pohlad, and Dede Gardner, Producers
- War Horse, Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

(Me)                           And the winner is…The Artist
(@JennieBFit)             And the winner is…The Help

- Demian Bichir, A Better Life
- George Clooney, The Descendants
- Jean Dujardin, The Artist
- Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Brad Pitt, Moneyball

(Me)                           And the winner is… Jean Dujardin
(@JennieBFit)             And the winner is… Jean Dujardin

- Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
- Viola Davis, The Help
- Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
- Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn

(Me)                           And the winner is… Viola Davis
(@JennieBFit)             And the winner is… Meryl Streep

- Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
- Jonah Hill, Moneyball
- Nick Nolte, Warrior
- Christopher Plummer, Beginners
- Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

(Me)                           And the winner is… Christopher Plummer
(@JennieBFit)             And the winner is… Max von Sydow

- Berenice Bejo, The Artist
- Jessica Chastain, The Help
- Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
- Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
- Octavia Spencer, The Help

(Me)                           And the winner is… Octavia Spencer
(@JennieBFit)             And the winner is… Octavia Spencer

- Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
- Alexander Payne, The Descendants
- Martin Scorsese, Hugo
- Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
- Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life

(Me)                           And the winner is… Michel Hazanavicius
(@JennieBFit)             And the winner is… Michel Hazanavicius

- A Cat in Paris, Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
- Chico & Rita, Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
- Kung Fu Panda 2, Jennifer Yuh Nelson
- Puss in Boots, Chris Miller
- Rango, Gore Verbinski

(Me)                           And the winner is… Rango
(@JennieBFit)             And the winner is… Rango

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review: The Debt

The Debt is the ultimate exercise in misdirection.  Not so much because it is a film full of plot-twists (because it’s not), but because it has you thinking that you are watching one thing when you’re really watching something else entirely.  You see, the movie possesses the three key Hollywood elements that make you think you are viewing movie greatness:

1. An esteemed cast featuring players known for dramatic roles (i.e. Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain)

2. Heavy hitting subject matter set against the backdrop of a major historical event – Mossad secret agents capturing a Nazi War criminal in East Berlin post World War 2.

3. People with European accents.

The misdirection then resides in the fact that you are not really watching a good movie at all.  In fact, the movie – like a lot of the accents in the film – is just plain bad. 

For me, that epiphany came during the third act when the misdirection faded and I realized that I was being lulled into apathy.  It didn’t matter that writer Matthew Vaughn and director John Madden (not that John Madden) had thrown everything but the kitchen sink at me.  Troubled pasts, a festering love triangle, hand-to-hand combat, covert operations, a scandalous cover up – not one of these element made me care a lick about how things would play out.

Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkinson, and Ciaran Hinds are pedestrian as the three Mossad agents.  Jessica Chastain, Marton Csokas, and Sam Worthington – as the flashback younger versions of the aforementioned trio do not fare much better.  If for nothing else, at least that makes for consistency.  The issue at hand here is that the premise, the material, the composition of the cast all seem to aspire to achieve some great level of film-making, but no one is seemingly up to the task of stepping up.

When done well, drab lighting and slow pacing can be considered art.  When done poorly it is lazy directing and cinematography.  And while walking around a film with one persistent scowl may work for Christian Bale, for the rest of Hollywood it comes off as a half-hearted attempt at exuding gravitas.  And so the peril the protagonists face and the claustrophobia of their situation never really manifest onscreen.  In fact, I found myself wishing that someone would put Jesper Christensen’s Doktor Bernhardt down for the count - not so much for his crimes against humanity but more so that the end credits would roll.

Unfortunately, it takes a good two hours for that to happen.  Had I not paid for the digital rental, I would have pulled the ripcord long before things faded to black.  I cannot recommend this movie – neither as a rental nor for cable TV.  I never thought I would utter these words in regards to a Helen Mirren movie, but I preferred her performance in Arthur

Standout Performance: If I had to pick one person, I would say Jessica Chastain.  But since I don’t, I will say none.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review: This Means War

This Means War is an action movie masquerading as a buddy film masquerading as a romantic comedy.  Before you get too excited about that prospect, you have to remember that it is a McG movie.  So without seeing a single frame of the film, you should already know that you're about to see a flick with a shortage of character development and a glut of rapid scene cuts.  He is after all the man who directed the A.D.D. inducing Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.  I have to admit though, in his latest directorial effort, the finished product comes off as a bit more balanced and a lot more entertaining than his last film (Terminator Salvation).

The movie is about two CIA operatives – one a lady’s man and the other a divorcee with a soft heart – who fall in love with the same career-driven woman and use their CIA training and resources to duke it out for her love.  All the while, a German arms dealer makes his way to L.A. to exact revenge on the aforementioned smitten secret agents.  If this plot works for you, then you should absolutely see this movie.  If this synopsis leaves you with some reservations, fear not.  There are some really good elements that make this film entertaining – albeit flawed.

Reese Witherspoon is billed as the star, but really that is in name only.  Her character is the most vanilla of the principles and could easily have been played by a plethora of actresses without affecting the final product in a favorable or adverse manner.  Witherspoon’s Lauren is a means to an end – a catalyst to spark the battle of machismo mojo between Chris Pine’s FDR and Tom Hardy’s Tuck.  And this is where the film works.  Pine and Hardy are better known for their action prowess and this serves them well during the physical comedy bits, but they also show solid comedic sense and timing to match.  There’s natural chemistry between the two that emerges in their banter as they slip seamlessly between camaraderie and antagonism.  

As for the rest of the cast, they do their best to keep up with McG’s breakneck pacing.  Chelsea Handler’s sarcastic quips are as fast and biting as machine gun fire.  While at times it feels like she is delivering her stand-up routine, she ultimately steals most of the scenes shared with Witherspoon.  Daren HerbertKevin O’GradyJesse Reid, and Viv Leacock do a nice job as Tuck’s and FDR’s respective CIA teams and add value to the comedic hijinks while Til Schweiger, as Heinrich is little more than a mean scowl dressed in a dark suit.

I would half-heartedly recommend this movie with the understanding that you’re going to be treated to a brisk but shallow narrative with unrealistic action mixed in with some genuinely funny moments.  If you’re looking for a romantic comedy or an all out action film, then there are better choices.  If you are looking for a fair compromise that has something for fans of either genre, then this is a fair choice.

Standout Performance:  Chelsea Handler delivers some great ad-libs.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Larry Crowne

Here is a one-line synopsis about the movie Larry Crowne.  The film is about a really nice guy who is recently divorced, recently laid off, and short on money.  All one hundred minutes of the movie play out in a fashion as bland and ordinary as that synopsis.  Beyond that, I don’t know that I feel compelled to expound much further.  The film runs about one hundred minutes and as those minutes melt away, you get the impression that Tom Hanks – as the director- intends it to be precisely so, as if such an approach gives the proceedings the feeling of authenticity.  Ultimately, it just feels like lazy filmmaking.

Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts are the two draws to this movie but their cache is not enough to keep this film from plunging into the depths of apathy.  In fact, their presence detracts from what few merits there are about this film, as clearly their respective star powers have diminished.  What makes it onto screen are two performances completely void of the vitality and charisma that planted Hanks and Roberts firmly onto the A-list – this seemingly the result of years of complacency combined with Nia Vardalos’ and Tom Hanks’ milquetoast script.  It is not quite to the level of watching the 1972-version of Willie Mays stumbling around the outfield as a New York Met, but their respective drop offs are palpable. 

Hanks is at his tolerable best when he is acting opposite Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Talia, who shines as Crowne’s youthful newfound life coach.  She is funny and her free spirit brings energy to the middling proceedings.  The strength of their dynamic though is problematic to the film, because the chemistry between Hanks and Roberts – which is supposed to be the driving force in the film – pales in comparison.  In fact, the best scenes in the movie are those that involve the supporting cast.  Rami Malek, Malcom Barret, George Takei, and Wilmer Valderama inject a little bit of life and some light-hearted humor to offset the real world issues plaguing the protagonists.

You really do not need to see this movie.  You probably know someone who is living Larry Crowne’s life and probably doing so in a much more interesting fashion.  If this movie is to be viewed, then in my mind it is best watched on cable on a night when you find yourself in front of the television with some other work to do.  If you are a Julie Roberts fan, then you’re better off avoiding this one and waiting for the much-anticipated Mirror, Mirror.  As for Hanks, he can be seen in the Oscar nominated Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.

Standout Performance: Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Talia turns in a refreshing performance.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

The best thing about Harold and Kumar is that despite all the over-the-top chicanery, things were always grounded in reality by one simple fact – everyone knows a Korean dude that rolls with an Indian dude and that when those two get together, hilarity ensues.  Not only do I know this, but I lived it.  And because of that, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle has always held a special place in my DVD collection - all despite the fact that the closest I’ve ever been to a White Castle is the mediocre frozen sliders that can be found in your local Ralph’s. 

I have to admit that the second installment ALMOST tarnished my memory of the first with its misguided political undertones and excessive male nudity, and diminished chemistry between John Cho, Kal Penn, and Nei Patrick Harris.  Well, I can sadly report that said fete has finally been accomplished, because director Todd Strauss-Schulson's installment in the series has sufficiently put all that was good about the original movie far enough away in the rearview mirror.  The stink of A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas is indeed that pungent. 

The problem with this film is that not only is it horribly unentertaining, but also it is completely irrelevant.  It suffers from the same problem that Ocean’s 12 does in that the film tries to be overly clever with winks and nods to itself, the cast, and crew with pseudo insider jokes – such as such NPH’s sexual orientation, Kal Penn’s hiatus from acting to work at the White House, and the current 3D technology fad - that are neither clever nor funny.  These mechanisms buried in the subtext of a film can be subtle value-adds to humor, but when they are propped up as punch lines in a comedic script that suffers from a paucity of funny jokes, it just feels plane douchey. 

John Cho and Kal Penn sleepwalk throughout this film.  It feels like Cho is killing time waiting to start work on J.J. Abrams' next installment of Star Trek and Kal Penn spends most of his energy trying to come up with his next clever tweet.  I hesitate to say much more of their respective acting performances because there was very little acting that actually made it onto the screen.  As for the rest of the cast, no one else in the film does anything of merit.  Neil Patrick Harris’ act wears dangerously thin and a few other familiar faces appear for nostalgia’s sake as nostalgia is a great way to distract audiences from the actual quality of the film.

Under no circumstances, do I recommend this film unless you like waiting ninety minutes for nothing to happen.  I know there is great temptation to see it despite everything written here that screams to the contrary.  Closure is a powerful lure since this will no doubt be the last film in the series ($35M gross).  So if possible, resist the temptation.  There are plenty other bad comedies out there that you can waste your time on that won’t ruin a near classic.  Watch something else, anything else, and preserve the memory of two guys and their epic journey for really bad sliders.

Standout Performance: WaffleBot.  I kind of want one.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Review: The Thing (2011)

Let me start by answering the question that I know is weighing heavily on your mind: The Thing (2011) is not a remake of The Thing (1982).  It’s actually a prequel.  Good, now that we have cleared up that pressing question, I can tell you this: the best thing about The Thing (2011) is that it transitions seamlessly into the events that kick off John Carpenter’s classic.  When I ask myself why exactly I watched this movie, I can really point to two things: insomnia and the presence of Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whose work I adored in the thoroughly underrated Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

The issue with this movie is that for the most part, films of this archetype are a dime a dozen.  Alien being from outer space is sent to earth for some reason (or no reason at all) and poses a threat to humankind.  Bloodshed ensues.  One thing that aids the film in drumming up suspense is that it is set in Antarctica, which creates a sense of isolationism that dials up the intensity a couple of notches.  An interesting choice on the part of director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. was to feature the alien extensively rather than slow play the big reveal.  At the risk of sounding like a D.O.S. (disciple of Spielberg), I think the slow reveal would have been the better choice and probably would have helped to mask the overall mediocrity that pervades this film.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead is credible as the lead because she is adept at putting forth a rugged exterior that translates well into the role of a survivor.  The issue here is that the survivor is only a good as the threat and ultimately it is the alien antagonist that fails Winstead’s performance.  As for the rest of the cast, Eric Christian Olsen is bland and uninspired and has already seen his best days in Not Another Teen Movie, Beerfest, and the The Comebacks (gasp).  Joel Edgerton continues to look like a masculine Conan O’Brien, but does little to add any value to this film.  The rest of the cast – that includes Ulrich Thomsen, Paul Braunstein, and Jorgen Langhelle – spend the bulk of the film hiding under beards and hoods waiting for a violent death.

This movie is not a total miss, but only if you like films of the horror/suspense genre.  There are a few nail biting moments and a couple of stomach churning scenes that for some might be worth the price of the rental.  If you like Carpenter’s original, you may want to stay away from this one for fear that it might cheapen its predecessor.  I can’t recommend this film, but my guess is that there is a place for it somewhere at the very bottom of your Netflix queue in case you see every other movie that might be of any kind of interest to you.

Standout Performance: Jorgen Langhelle as Lars has very few spoken lines - a classic case of less is more.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Review: 50/50

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is currently my favorite actor.  He has great range and makes solid choices when choosing projects.  He was great in 500 Days of Summer and Inception; he has had some highly underrated performances such as in Brick and in The Lookout; and he is the subject of much Internet speculation as to his exact role in the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises.  Big budget, indie, comedy, drama, or action, he has done it all and done it very well.  One of his most recent projects though, 50/50, presents a unique challenge.  How do you bring humor to a film chronicling an illness in cancer that has touched so many lives in an adverse way?  Having watched the film, I can definitively say that director Jonathan Levine and writer Will Reiser provide the answer: by telling a story that has the look and feel of authenticity.

Gordon-Levitt’s Adam is a twenty-something guy treading water in a mundane relationship; he has a dysfunctional family; and he hangs out with one really good goofball friend.  He could be anyone.  He could be your next door neighbor.  He could be you.  When Adam is diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he is forced to take a hard look at his own mortality and assess the way he manages his relationships.  There are moments of laughter and tears, of hope and resignation, of joy and pain, but through it all he finds that the more he feels isolated, the more he realizes that alone is precisely what he is not.  Through his eyes, the viewer is reminded that life is many things and demands a broad spectrum of emotions.  The brilliance of the narrative is that it reminds us of this at every turn.

Gordon-Levitt’s performance is authentic and dynamic.  He is the anchor that allows Seth Rogen to bring his brand of brash humor to the film in a way that adds value.  Anna Kendrick continues to impress as Adam’s therapist.  She is vulnerable and endearing in a way that sets her off from Bryce Dallas Howard who masterfully plays Adam’s shallow and callow girlfriend.  As for the rest of the cast, Anjelica Houston, Serge Houde, and Phillip Baker Hall bring their seasoned veteran presence and experience to the proceedings and establish a nice contrast to the relative youth of the principle characters.

I would highly recommend this film.  It will pull you in many different directions and deliver both bitter and sweet like the one-two punch of a great pugilist.  You won’t have to suspend disbelief or use your imagination to embrace this narrative.  To appreciate this film, you’ll only need to press play, sit back, and watch great writing, great directing, and great acting all come together. 

Standout Performance:  Anna Kendrick of Up in the Air and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World especially stands out amidst many strong performances.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: In Time

Pretend that Robin Hood is transferred to a future where time is the standard currency and in this place he sees inequity and classism run completely amuck to the extremes.  But instead of finding his own Maid Marion to join him on a crusade to assist the huddled masses, he meets a Bonnie to play opposite his Clyde.  If you can envision this in your mind then you can save yourself two hours, because -and let me not mince words here - In Time is a really bad movie.

Coming into this film Justin Timberlake – as an actor - was on a bit of a roll.  Friends with Benefits, Bad Teacher, and multiple appearances on Saturday Night Live had shown that JT possesses decent comedic timing and sense.  Poking fun at oneself and the ability to sing a ditty are valuable assets in sketch comedy, but selling action and drama is an entirely different beast. In Time proves that Timberlake is not quite ready for prime time as a dramatic lead.

But the failure of the film does not rest on his shoulders alone.  Time as a currency and the inherent problems associated with such a system appear promising as a premise, but prove difficult to flesh out in execution.  Time is a great dramatic mechanism for manufacturing a sense of urgency, but when established as the primary unit of measurement in a value system, it ironically serves to dampen dramatic turns.  The root of this issue stems from the fact that we are not naturally inclined to assign value to a day versus a week versus a month, and so on and so forth.  Time spent pondering this unnatural value system during the film is time spent not caring about the protagonists.  Furthermore, writer/director Andrew Niccol clearly attempts to use the film as a vehicle to preach about societal morals, values, and norms but the movie lacks the voice to intelligently articulate such commentary.

Timberlake is mediocre at best, but Amanda Seyfried is an utter disaster.  She has been completely unremarkable in her other cinematic endeavors (Red Riding Hood, Mamma Mia) and yet she continues to land major roles. She has one kind of performance in her repertoire and it's that of an apathetic, cold, and sterile person.  Cillian Murphy as the time police is completely neutered in this role, coming off as detached, aloof, and uninterested.  As for the rest of the cast, Olivia Wilde, Johnny Galecki, and Matthew Bomer are not onscreen long enough to rescue the film from itself.

I could go on and on about the issues with this film, but then I would be wasting time (irony abounds), so I will simply advise one and all to avoid this movie at all costs.  And if you are a huge Justin Timberlake fan, then that goes double for you unless you want to be less of one by time the credits roll.

Standout Performance:  Matthew Bomer stands out as one member of the cast who decides to give it a decent go.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Warrior

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Tom Hardy is putting together an impressive body of work.  He is most associated with his role as Eames in Inception and his upcoming appearance as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, but Hardy has also appeared in films such as Black Hawk Down, Layer Cake, and RocknRolla.  Knowing this, I was curious to see his performance in Warrior.  I have to admit, that I didn’t have huge expectations for the movie.  I knew there was a lot of positive buzz for the film during its theatrical release, but as someone who is not really a fan of MMA, I was not sure if the plot would appeal to me.

The film that director Gavin O’Connor has put together is gritty and raw from its casting, to its cinematography, to its execution.  Three men – a father and two sons – estranged from one another and broken in their respective lives are brought back together against the backdrop of an epic Mixed Martial Arts tournament.  The physical violence inflicted in the ring runs a distant second to the emotional torment and resentment that festers between these three men and the tournament serves as the catalyst to draw these issues to the forefront. 

Joel Edgerton (who looks like a more menacing Conan O’Brien) plays the classic underdog, Tom Hardy – the raging inferno, and Nick Nolte – the alcoholic father.  Each character could easily have become a bag of clich├ęs, but the three actors do a great job of brining real depth to their respective roles.  Edgerton is believable as a journeyman fighter – turn teacher – turn fighter again and is incredibly easy to root for.  Tom Hardy brings an intense physicality to his role as Tommy Conlon – a man with a singular focus and a gift for inflicting pain.  And Nick Nolte owns the role of Paddy Conlon and masterfully conveys a sense of pain and loss in the throaty way he delivers his lines.  As for the rest of the cast, Jennifer Morrison, Frank Grillo, and Kevin Dunn are solid if not remarkable in balancing out the film. 

It’s not Shakespeare, but Warrior is very good for what it is – a film that has just the right mix of action and drama.  Not since Best of the Best, have I seen a film tests a man’s ability to remain dry eyed throughout.  It will probably never make anyone’s top ten list, but the movie will definitely entertain.  What more could anyone ask for?

Standout Performance:  Tom Hardy disappears into the role.  Look for him next in This Means War opposite Chris Pine.