Tag Archives: Karl Urban

Bent

Bobby Moresco is trying to make “bent” happen. “Bent” is the new word for crooked cops, apparently, and writer-director Morsesco cannot bear the thought that any of you don’t know about this super cool slang, so he half-assed a whole movie around the concept and put it on Netflix so that you can ultra hip and not embarrass yourself in front of potentially crooked cops.

Anyway, Danny (Karl Urban) is a cop who watches his buddy cop get shot during a deal gone wrong. Or something like that. The first 10 minutes of this film are needlessly confusing. But that’s still preferable to the last 86 minutes, which are just bad. And that covers the entire 96 minutes!

Danny, disgraced and off the force, decides to lead his own private investigation into MV5BM2NlMjdjMmYtNDYzMi00NDU0LWI3NGItZTlhMTg1ZTQ0NzFmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzEzMjg5NjA@._V1_what went wrong. So he does that thing where he circles the date on the calendar and his heart is filled with revenge lust and he has a beard so you know he’s morose and broody. His mentor (Andy Garcia) is more concerned for his love life and maybe his personal safety, and both of those might be threatened by a mysterious government agent (Sofia Vergara).

Karl Urban is a good actor and Sofia Vergara is a bad actor (she doesn’t even fall convincingly!) but none of that matters because the script is so terrible it forms an opaque force field over the movie that feels pretty darn impenetrable.

The thing is, it does honestly at times feel like the whole script is built around just saying the word ‘bent’ a lot. A lot. Some stuff does happen but it’s pretty worthless. Can you hear my disappointment oozing through the screen? It’s so generic it offends me. It’s immediately indistinguashable among the offal of its genre. The twists and turns are painful.The love interest is painfuller. The dialogue is painfullest.

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Pete’s Dragon

Petes-Dragon-Featured-061320161I am old enough to feel like I should remember the original Pete’s Dragon (which was released in 1977). I know that I saw it as a kid but it definitely did not stick with me. Because of that, I would have had no expectations going into the 2016 version of Pete’s Dragon but for the very positive reviews it has been getting. The new Pete’s Dragon did not resonate with me to quite that degree, but it is a good family movie that I think kids will love. It also may make you wish you had a pet dragon.

Elliot the dragon is probably the best part of this movie and the reason I think kids will go head over heels for Pete’s Dragon. More dog than wild beast, he seems like the perfect companion if you’re stranded in the Pacific Northwest. Even if you’re only stranded metaphorically. Elliot can fly, he can turn invisible, and builds the best tree forts ever! What more could a kid ask for in a mythological friend?bigdragon.0

The human characters in Pete’s Dragon are far less compelling. All of them are one dimensional, existing only to contribute whatever is needed to move the story along.  Bryce Dallas Howard likes nature so she protects the dragon. BDH’s stepdaughter likes Pete so she helps. Karl Urban is BDH’s greedy and bored soon-to-be brother in law, who we know will learn a lesson by the end. Robert Redford is BDH’s father, the old guy who tells stories about the dragon and who fortunately can also drive an 18 wheeler. Wes Bentley is just kind of there because someone decided that BDH needed a fiance and the stepdaughter needed a father and Urban needed a brother.

I wanted more depth from these characters and maybe older kids will too. But ten-year-old me would not have cared one bit about character development when there’s a flying green dragon on display! A fantastic-looking, furry, CG dragon. The visuals in Pete’s Dragon are awesome, both when it comes to Elliot and when it comes to displaying the gorgeous forest/mountain vistas of the northern west coast. The combination of Elliot and the beautiful backdrops is more than enough to keep adults entertained, even with paper-thin characters at every turn.

petes-dragon-4Just don’t expect there to be a clear message. Lately, Disney (/Pixar) has been doing well at including big coherent themes in kids’s movies, from Inside Out to Zootopia to Finding Dory. There is no clear message here to be found.  There are environmental and family threads sewn but no coherent payoff is ever delivered.

Still, that’s not so much a complaint against Pete’s Dragon as a reminder that Disney (/Pixar) has given us some classics in the last year. Pete’s Dragon does not quite measure up to that high standard but it is still a good family movie and moreover, a movie that this childless adult greatly preferred to its polar opposite counterprogramming, the joyless Sausage Party.

Pete’s Dragon gets a score of seven fuzzy dragons out of ten.

 

Star Trek Beyond

vag96xveob5rjf34m2mqWe were treated tonight to a marathon of the new trilogy of Star Trek movies, including a screening of Star Trek Beyond. Seeing the first two reminded me how good Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness are, and seeing them all in a row made me all the more sure that Star Trek Beyond is my favourite of the three.

The most difficult part about the movie is how it reminds us that we’ve lost both Leonard Nimoy and Anton Yelchin from the Star Trek family. Nimoy was a larger part of the first two than I remembered, and his presence served as a nice reminder that there’s a whole alternate universe of adventures waiting to be rediscovered. He receives a nice tribute in this movie, which I was glad to see.

8_-_nurovgqYelchin, having died so tragically after filming was complete, is a key cast member in all three and is excellent in Star Trek Beyond (as always). But it’s bittersweet to watch, as his posthumous presence is harder to take than his absence would have been. Every one of his scenes serves as a reminder that there will be no more Chekov in the instalments to come.  He will be sincerely missed but it feels right that his role will not be recast. May he rest in peace.

A lesser movie would have been overshadowed by those real-life lossses. Star Trek Beyond is instead comforting and uplifting in their face, providing a classic trip to a strange new world, plenty of humanoid aliens (some good, some bad, almost all English-speaking), and some fantastic interplay between the series’ seven main characters. This time, Bones and Spock are the standouts, getting a ton of one-on-one time and delivering banter that is consistently hilarious and completely fitting for this odd couple. Writers Simon Pegg and Doug Jung do a Star-Trek-Beyond-photo-11wonderful job of capturing the sarcastic Bones and the quiet pleasure Spock takes in driving Bones crazy, while letting us see that underneath it all there is nothing but love and respect between them.

That is the way all these beloved characters get treated – with love and respect. I just wish Sulu’s coming-out moment had not been such a source of controversy leading up to the movie’s release, because in the movie it comes off as another nice nod to the original cast that also fits with the diversity that is the series’ staple.

I cannot say enough good things about Star Trek Beyond. It provides a massive amount of fan service while remaining accessible and enjoyable to all. Star Trek Beyond is a welcome and worthy addition to this classic franchise and a fitting sendoff to two absent friends.

 

Sean & Jay enjoyed the Starfleet Academy Experience – hear about it in our podcast: