two good movies this weekend

This weekend I saw two new movies that opened this weekend… that’s an awkward sentence…

The Expendables.

I saw a test screening of this earlier this year and was blown away (pun intended).  But it was so entertaining that I wanted to watch it again and see the final finished/polished version of the movie.

The short of it, a mercenary team is sent to hostile territories to kill who ever the government wants, because the government doesn’t want their hands dirty.   This veritable dream team comprises of Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Mickey Rourke (kinda).  The bad guys who are sort of a dictatorship in a South American location are; Eric Roberts, David Zayas, Gary Daniels and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

The cast alone guarantees my seat in the theatre.  So the bad guys are running a dictatorship in South America, Stallone gets the call to put a stop to this in a scene with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Willis.  They fly there to discover that it’s out of their league, but then are convinced to come back because of the General’s Daughter.  From then on… the movie it pretty much a set up for non-stop action, things blow up, and they blow up well.

The good; Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Sylvester Stallone are finally in one scene, in one movie, TOGETHER.  The scene is filled with one liners from these action star staples.  The cast is awesome.  The opening really sets the tone, from the first shot fired you know what you’re going to get.  Stallone manages to assemble a dream team of action stars and at the same time craft a not to terrible story.  It’s all about the gratuitous violence and action in this movie.

The bad; there are some action scene that were covered in the all too familiar hand held shakey-ness that reeks of Michael Bay.  Examples of this are the car chase sequence and some of the action scene.  Once in particular is the scene where Jet Li and Jason Statham take on Gary Daniels, you get confused when Steve Austin and Randy Couture are fighting, like who’s who?  is Couture with Daniels and Li with Austin? It could be because of the spec ops uniform, but whatever.

If you see this movie and don’t like it, they this movie is not for you.  Watching this movie you have to know what you’re going to get, and when you get it you cheer.  The audience erupted in all the same places when I saw it earlier this year.  There’s definitely an added bonus watching The Expendables in a large group.  The Expendables manages to take comic book cut out characters, a simple plot, almost cartoon violence, and create a decent flick.  The 80s are back!

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World.

The short of it, Michael Cera dreams about this girl, he then meets her, but he’s got a girlfriend already.  So he pursues this ‘dream girl’ but discovers that she has seven ex’s who have banded together in a sinister ‘League of Ex’s.’  In order to keep dating her he must battle the ex’s.

Scott Pilgrim is an adaptation of a manga style comic book, those of you who have watched Kick-Ass will notice it mentioned in the comic book shop.  Anyway, this movie is directed by Edgar Wright, previously known for Shaun of the Dead and then Hot Fuzz.  But Scott Pilgrim he manages to venture away from Pegg and Frost and create the same fun and humor he did in the afore mentioned movies.  Right after Hot Fuzz, we all wondered, “what’s their next movie going to be?”  But the question we should’ve asked is, “what’s Edgar’s new movie going to be?”

The good; the movie is again a simple story about relationships and about personal growth, but it’s encompassed in a world that is over the top, outlandish, comical and above all entertaining.  That’s what really works in this movie.  The situation Pilgrim deals with is something we’ve all known to some degree.  But it’s masked behind a world that cleverly weaves in and out of genres.  From you’re standard battle of the bands movie, to a video game, to anime, to a rom-com.  The movie is littered with references and jokes from all of pop culture.  Perhaps that’s a bad thing?  Because it’s catering to today’s short attention span?  But it’s done well.

The bad; it’s catering to today’s short attention span.  If there’s anything bad about this movie, it’s probably the marketing, a great movie is almost not marketed.  It rakes in $10.5 million at number five at the box office opening weekend, compared to The Expandables which brings in $35 million.

Scott Pilgrim will reference video games, Seinfeld, manga, and much more.  The antagonist of the movie is a passive aggressive villain!  When have we seen that before? WOW, if you’re a child of the 80s do yourself a favor and see Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World

… and The Expendables.  Did I mention the 80s are back??

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