Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Series of Mediocre Films

It seems like Hollywood doesn't have a lot of great films lined up for the latter half of 2015. As such, it comes as no surprise that the last three Hollywood movies I have watched in the theaters have been mediocre at best. Here's why.

Ricki and The Flash

Though I won't be surprised if Meryl Streep is still nominated for an award in some category, let's just say her performance in Ricki and The Flash was not her best. In my opinion, her real life daughter, Mamie Gummer overshadowed her performance with her commendable portrayal of a distraught woman.

Streep plays the character of a rock star who abandoned her family in pursuit of her music career, leaving her kids in the care of her husband played by Kevin Kline. When her daughter, played by Gummer, is going through a tough time because her husband left her for another woman, she returns to mend her strained relationship with her kids.

I feel the writer Diablo Cody spent too much time on having Streep sing than developing the characters and fleshing out the story. Directed by Jonathon Demme, this comedy drama was not as great as Streep's films usually are much to my disappointment. 

American Ultra

Written by Max Landis and directed by Nima Nourizadeh, the main premise of the action comedy, American Ultra, revolves around Jesse Eisenberg. He plays the role of an awkward stoner, who suddenly discovers he has fighting capabilities he didn't know he possessed when people try to attack him. It turns out he is actually a trained CIA agent, who has been deemed a liability by Topher Grace's character. Grace's character has sent orders for him to be killed, whereas Connie Britton's character is trying to save him. It was a bit hard to believe the likeable Grace as an arrogant villain taking undue advantage of his position at the CIA but nonetheless, he made a good attempt in portraying one. The supporting cast included Kristen Stewart, Tony Hale, Bill Pullman and John Leguizamo.

At first, I kept thinking that the movie was a bit weird but as the story developed, I realized how interesting the concept was.  So where did the film fail? Honestly, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what went wrong. Perhaps it was the acting or maybe the casting should have been different. Except for Grace, most actors including Eisenberg, Stewart, Leguizamo and Hale didn't bring anything new to the table and their performances seemed similar to their past ones. Except for Eisenberg's cool action sequences, his performance seemed very similar to his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Hale's character reminded me a lot of the character he plays on the HBO show, Veep. Leguizamo's and Stewart's characters also seemed familiar. If their performances were what was expected of these characters, then perhaps the blame lies on the screenplay or the director for not providing them much potential to showcase a different performance.  

Fantastic Four 

Though almost everyone really hated the reboot of the Fantastic Four film franchise directed by Josh Trank, I didn't think it was too bad - perhaps because I had really low expectations. Though the story was interesting, I think the execution was poor. It was not as great as the Fantastic Four with Jessica Alba and Chris Evans.

Miles Teller plays the role of Mr. Fantastic, whereas Michael Jordan plays the role of The Human Torch. Kate Mara portrayed the role of Invisible Woman, whereas Jamie Bell and Toby Kebbell portrayed the roles of The Thing and Doctor Doom, respectively. Among all the actors, I believe Teller and Mara are extremely talented based on their performances in Whiplash and the Netflix show, House of Cards, respectively. However, they both looked bored in this film perhaps because the screenplay or the director didn't allow them much potential to showcase their incredible talent. Based on all the rumors surrounding the film, who really knows? Let's hope the next installment is way better!

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