06th Mar2014

Ride Along – Film

by timbaros

images-123Kevin Hart is now the new Eddie Murphy! He was last seen in Grudge Match, practically stealing the film from both Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone, and now he is starring in a new movie tailor-made for his comedic skill – it is called Ride Along.

 The diminutive Hart (at 5 feet, 4 inches tall) is a powerhouse comedian who made his name doing stand up. He’s been seen in quite a few films over the past ten years, including 2003’s Scary Movie 3 and 2010’s Little Fockers. But it was his role as boxing promoter Dante Slate Jr. in Grudge Match where he really proved his own (against heavy hitters Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone). In Ride Along, Hart’s comedic skills are put to good use as a security guard who wants to become a police officer, to prove that he is worthy of marrying the beautiful Angela (Tika Sumpter) but is thwarted at every turn by her over-protective brother James Payton (Ice Cube), who is an actual police officer.
In order to prove to Angela, and to Payton, that he can make it as a police office, Ben Barber (Hart) applies for and gets accepted to the police acamedy. He then ‘rides along’ for a day with his potential brother-in-law to see and feel what it is like to be a cop. Ben is a video-game junkie, but he wants to experience first-hand what being a cop is like, and in addition prove to James that he has what it takes to care of Angela.
But little does Ben know that James has set him up with many dangerous (and funny) situations.
Think of Ride Along as Training Day with lots of laughs. As this is what Hart provides, laughs at every turn. His first ‘assignment’ is to tell some of the rough Hell’s Angels motorcyclists to move their bikes as they are parked in a handicapped area. They stand their ground, trying to intimidate Ben, and they do, but Ben stands his ground. Of course, these Hell’s Angels were there as a setup that James arranged! In another scene, Ben has to restrain a large man who appears to be going crazy in a grocery store, having poured honey all over his body. It is up to Ben to restrain him, and literally getting stuck to him. You won’t see any other comedian doing this type of stuff in any movie, I guarantee you. But the main plot of the film is where James is investigating, and trying to capture, one of the city’s most dangerous criminals, Omar. Of course, Ben gets jist of the investigation and you can image how the film is going to end.
While Ride Along may not be intended for serious audiences, it does, fortunately, know this and creates situations for Hart to show his very funny side. And while the script may be a bit predictable, it is the jokes that are not, and it is Hart’s delivery of the jokes and the situations that he is in that makes him ready to take the crown of King of Comedy that Eddie Murphy once held many years ago. Ride Along features cameos by Laurence Fishburne (as Omar) and John Leguizamo.
06th Mar2014

Gravity – DVD

by timbaros

images-122Gravity, out now on DVD and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, literally kept me holding my breathe for the entire duration of the film. It is that intense, dramatic, and excellent.

Winner of 7 Academy Awards including one for Director Alfonso Cuaron, George Clooney is veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski and Sandra Bullock is novice astronaut Dr. Ryan Stone. They are together, along with three others, on a space mission aboard the Space Shuttle Explorer. While attempting to repair an exterior nodule on the Hubble Space Telescope, they are told to abort the repair by Houston Mission control as there is space debris heading their way from a Russian missile strike on a satellite in their area. Stone is the technical analyst attempting the repair (and who chose to be in the job due to a personal tragedy, a job to escape her sadness on Earth). Kowalski, who is on his last mission in space, is smug and comfortable in his role as the veteran astronaut, always with a joke or two up his sleeve. As the debris gets closer, they both scramble to try to get back into their shuttle. Before they are able to do so, they get pummelled by the debris, while their shuttle (and the telescope) break apart. Stone then becomes untethered to what is left of the telescope and is catapulted into the darkness of space, spinning and spinning into the darkness. Still communicating with each other by radio, but losing their connection to Houston, Kowalski successfully attempts to retrieve Stone using his jetpack and together they go back to what is left of their shuttle, only to discover that it is completely damaged, and the three astronauts that were inside are dead. They decide to head towards the International Space Station, which is about 60 miles away. As they get closer to the space station and attempt to grab it, one of Stone’s legs gets hooked to it, and, as Kowalski doesn’t want her to lose the opportunity to get into the Space Station to try to get back to earth, he detaches himself and floats away.
Without giving too much away, Bullock encounters one problem after another, and to top it off she is running out of oxygen. As the film continues, so does the drama and intensity, and you’re still holding your breathe.
In the beginning when Gravity first started I couldn’t stop thinking that it was George Clooney and Sandra Bullock on the big screen (and not their characters). They are huge Hollywood stars whose names precede them. While Clooney’s character is what we would come to expect from him, smug, joking, look at me I am very handsome, Clooney appears to be playing himself. However, Gravity is Bullock’s film. Any actress making us believe that they are an astronaut, all alone in space, in the very dark with just the curve of the earth down below, struggling to survive, overcoming one problem to another, it is Bullock. In Gravity, she proves that she is a true actress, one of the best ones today. Sure, her previous films have not required very much in the way of acting (though she did win the Best Actress Oscar for her performance in The Blind Side), in Gravity Bullock is able to display her acting chops like she has never displayed them before. Bullock spends most of her time in the film in isolation, which makes her performance all the more remarkable. She is excellent in this film.
The technical aspects of Gravity are what make this film stand out from all other. The scenes of being in space is amazing, the darkness with no sound makes it eerily spooky and very realistic. The cinematography is a sight to behold, and Director, Writer, Producer Cuaron has made a film that in 50 years from now people will be calling it our generation’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Gravity has to be seen on the big screen. It has to be seen, period.