Film Briefs: “Homefront”, “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “Nebraska”

Homefront-James-FrancoFilm Briefs is our way of giving our opinion on films we might not necessarily have the time to review in full.  This is a column where we sum up our feelings about movies currently playing in theatres and throw ‘em up just to give you an idea of what’s out there. Follow the jump to see briefs for Homefront, Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Nebraska

Homefront

ows_138549506731658one-star2I’m trying really hard to dumb down my intelligence so as to fully comprehend what it is I just watched. This isn’t even a good middle-of-the-road movie, which at the very least, is what I was expecting to see.

This fails as an action movie, fails as a thriller, fails at being smart, and most of all, fails at being mindless popcorn fodder.

Where it succeeds however is in James Franco‘s facial hair performance and its ability to remind me of what a great movie Spring Breakers was. Going over scenes from another movie while watching this one I’m sure was not the filmmakers’ intentions. At least the film I was daydreaming about was a good one. And that’s the only enjoyment I got out of Homefront.

Hunger Games: Catching Fire

catching-fire001f-730x365two-stars1Say it with me slowly, people. O—–ver—–ray—–ted!

Much of the reasons as to what it is that made the first Hunger Games so appealing are once again present in this sequel, only now, Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Jeffrey Wright have joined the cast, which as far as I can tell, must be the reason for its popularity among so many critics.

Just like the first one, the actual combat portion of the movie suffers from being tacked on to the last third of the film. Though it’s a tad more interesting than the previous movie, it still feels rushed, thus diminishing any of its desired impact. It’s too bad because the combat portion comes as a welcome relief from the hour or so of having to sit through character building by means of unnatural corny one-liners, dull CGI backdrops, ridiculous Dr. Seuss styled costumes, and textbook uninspired musical cues eliciting far more eye rolls than their intended purpose of extracting sympathetic tears. As a television miniseries, I would have no qualms with these aspects. In fact, this is one of the few cases where I could see this working far better on the smaller screen where proper time could be taken to prod into this world without it ever feeling rushed.

I don’t have to say anything positive about this movie, but, what the hell, I’ll give it a try anyway. The story itself, regardless of its execution, is intriguing enough to have me hooked, which means I of course will be coming back for part 3. However, let the subjective star rating show that just because I like the story it doesn’t mean its great cinema. Adequate, sure. But as great as the current ratings from Rottentomatoes (89%) and IMDB (8.2) would suggest? Not even close. One more positive thing; their fighting costumes were very easy on the eyes.

Nebraska

10DERN_SPAN-videoSixteenByNine1050-v2two-stars1I’ve already seen this movie. It was 14 years ago, directed by David Lynch, and called The Straight Story. It was also much better this, Alexander Payne‘s newest low key Americana comedy about a man’s journey to find purpose. Okay, there’s a strong father-son theme going on here, and it captures their relationship quite well, plus there were a few laugh out loud moments, mostly the couch potato scenes, but other than that, for the most part I found it quite boring.

If you have thought any of Payne’s other films (Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants) were anything extraordinary, then by all means run to the theatre right now and see this. However, with so many other great films now playing and with many more set to be released from now until year’s end I’d recommend waiting for DVD for this one.



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