RED 2 (Dean Parisot, 2013)

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More husband and wife banter than non-stop action. Nobody wields a gun sexier than Helen Mirren, though.

The game cast of Red 2 (that also included John Malkovich) just couldn’t do much out of the weak material about old people being cool.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

(Originally published August 18, 2013.)

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ASSASSIN’S CREED (Justin Kurzel, 2016)

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SPOILER ALERT!!

My notes on Assassin’s Creed:

1. My least favorite part of playing video games would be the cutscenes, the animated clips usually shown between chapters to fill in the story gaps or propel the plot forward. I didn’t like them much because they defeated the purpose of playing: the full interactivity and complete control of the game. I could never relive the horror of helplessly watching Aeris getting stabbed by Sephiroth.

This movie was just as frustrating because all throughout I just wanted to grab a controller and make Michael Fassbender run as far away from this mess as possible. (Who was I kidding? I also wanted him to take off his garb and flash his Fassy.)

2. The movie started with an opening crawl that involved the Order of the Knights of the Templar, the urgent retrieval of the Apple of Eden, and an eagle that seemingly flew for thirty years and my head started to ache. Unfortunately, there was no X button that would allow me to skip to the good parts.

3. If there were an actual Animus, it could be an awesome ride in Disneyland. I mean it looked really fun when people started invading the mind of John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich and this felt like it would be the same experience. Only John Malkovich would be replaced by the 500 year-old memory of a dead person. Ooh, creepy with a touch of sinful! Count me in.

4. I liked the videogame feel especially during the Animus transition scenes. I just wished that the action scenes were more exciting because the swooping cameras alone certainly didn’t do the trick (even the rooftop scene towards the end was so incoherent and felt endless).

5. I was completely baffled by how they were able to wrangle such a talented cast that included Fassy, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Irons, and Charlotte Rampling. The sales of this game must have been really lucrative.

In one scene, Fassy even sang like a madman (I didn’t just imagine that, right?) and he probably did that for a handsome paycheck.

6. “Violence is a disease like cancer.” How timely! Seriously though, it was interesting to hear the link between heredity and crime that proved that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

And speaking of apple, what was the need for that genetic code that contained free will that could completely eradicate violence? And why the hell did Fassy keep free falling from buildings?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

 

 

ZOOLANDER 2 (Ben Stiller, 2016)

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My notes on Zoolander 2:

1. The original Zoolander was a clever comedy that tried to stretch its Blue Steel joke for an hour and succeeded. It was a brutal satire on the fashion industry that was really meant to be dumb and offensive.

This sequel was the movie equivalent of reheated leftover pizza. It was the exact same pizza with the exact same toppings, only not as good compared to when it was freshly-delivered. No amount of extra hot sauce cameos could make it any less stale.

2. Why do a lot of people still hate Justin Bieber? I always tried to separate his private life from his music so I ended up getting really addicted with his newest album Purpose (I listened to it once or twice a day, and by once or twice I meant maybe a couple of hundred times). People actually cheered when he got killed with a million bullets during the opening sequence and I didn’t find it funny. I mean seriously, that scene wasn’t even remotely funny (just like the remaining hour and thirty minutes of the movie). And where were his bodyguards anyway? Didn’t they usually end up on TMZ for treating him like a baby?

3. Sample juvenile joke:

“Jack Ryan and Jack Reacher. Tonight will be a total jack-off!”

The two horny teens in front of me laughed their asses off.

4. Aside from the Bieber cameo, there were tons of celebrities (Susan Sarandon, Billy Zane, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Sting, Susan Boyle, John Malkovich) and fashion luminaries (Alexander Wang, Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss) that also showed up, proving that Ben Stiller was still an A-list star after the disastrous Night at the Museum sequel (hey, maybe he should avoid these sequels, especially a possible The Watch 2 ugh!). I may never be able to look at Kiefer Sutherland and think Jack Bauer ever again, except with a pet goat and a sumo wrestler.

The best cameo, though, was by Benedict Cumberbatch who played the androgynous supermodel All whose mantra “All is All” was directly lifted from the original Queen of Philippine Music Anna Dizon is Anna Dizon.

5. The movie was at its best taking potshots at the fashion industry and calling Anna Wintour the White Witch of Narnia, shaming Tommy Hilfiger as White Privilege, and mocking Marc by Marc Jacobs. Was it completely mean? Yes, but still hilarious (besides, these personalities were all game).

6. In one scene, Valentina (played by the eternally gorgeous Penelope Cruz) said, “Please accept my apologies”, and Zoolander replied with, “None taken”. It was the type of senseless humor that we should have gotten more of here. Anyway, apology accepted and no offense taken, but no more Zoolander 3, please!

Rating: ★★☆☆☆