Day 332 & Day 333 & Day 334 – Skyscraper & Circle & The General

Resized_20181130_085531_8103

Movie Title: Skyscraper

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 42 min.

Rated: PG-13

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

Skyscraper is one of the latest in Dwayne Johnson’s most recent string of big budget action movies. As usual, he is great. He plays a former FBI agent that worked in hostage situations. Several years ago, he had a mission go wrong and a bomb was detonated in his face during a hostage crisis. He suffered significant burns and lost his left leg. The doctor that helped him in surgery married him and now they have two lovely children together. He has just taken a new job to look into the security surrounding a new 255 story mega skyscraper constructed in Hong Kong. His friend and former FBI agent got him the job. He went corporate after being injured on the same mission.

But, all is not as it seems. Ben (Pablo Schreiber) has other plans and is using Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) to unlock the buildings security for him. There is something inside the building that he and his associates want. Naturally, Will’s family is also inside the building and he goes to great lengths to rescue them. Once the premise is set up it is as paint by numbers as it comes. The villains are unbelievably campy. The action is fun if unoriginal. The chemistry between Will, his wife (Neve Campbell), and children is non-existent. But, who really cares when your doing crazy CGI laden stunts on a 255 story building!

Verdict:

Skyscraper is far from original and it has significant flaws. But, if you are just looking for a rollicking 80s style action movie with some cool effects there is no reason you can’t enjoy it. Take it or leave it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Circle (2015)

 

Movie Title: Circle

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 27 min.

Rated: Not Rated

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

To be completely honest, I watched this movie by accident. I mistook it for The Circle, a 2017 technological drama starring Emma Watson, Tom Hanks, Karen Gillan, and Bill Paxton. It is supposed to be terrible, but I was still interested in seeing it. I quickly realized I was not watching the right movie, but I was committed.

Circle has a very simple premise. Fifty strangers have been abducted by aliens and are placed in a circle where they get to choose who will live and who will die. They can not move. If they do they die. They can not choose not to participate or the machine will decide at random. Everyone involved can cast a vote for who they think should be the next to die, but the people in the circle can only see their own vote. The group members are given no criteria to go by, but have to decide who will live and who will die in the group. After analyzing the pattern of the voting mechanism the group realizes that whoever is the last man standing will likely walk out alive.

For awhile, this was interesting, but ultimately it became tedious. I was very interested to see who would make it to the end especially when it boiled down to the last few people. The end tells you a lot about human nature and I would tend to agree with who the writer/director picked as the survivor. The problem is that the movie misses a lot of opportunities. It had an opportunity to lend some kind of social commentary to itself very easily. It doesn’t. This would have been alright if some kind of closure was provided at the end of the movie, but the ending is damn near completely vapid. It leaves so much unresolved as to make it uninteresting without some kind of point to it all.

There is also a serious shark jumping moment at the end of the movie where all sense of suspending disbelief is basically lost.

Verdict:

Circle has an interesting premise, but has a weak conclusion that greatly harms the movie. Take it or leave it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: The General (1926)

 

Movie Title: The General

First Watch / Repeat Viewing

Running Time: 1 hr. 45 min. (IMDb lists the running time for this movie at 1 hr. and 7 min., but the cut I watched is unquestionably longer. I tried to do some research on it, but didn’t reach a conclusion.)

Rated: Passed

Who did I watch with?: Flying Solo

Where did I watch it?: Home

Review:

The General is a high spirited silent comedy that romps through a civil war train heist. Johnnie Gray (Buster Keaton) is a railroad engineer in the south at the outbreak of the Civil War. He is madly in love with Annabelle Lee (Marion Mack) who will not have him unless he enlists in the army. He tries too, but is rejected because of his post on the railroad. He is considered more valuable in that position.

This sits just fine with him until Annabelle is captured by a group of marauding Union soldiers whose mission is to cut off Confederate rail lines. In the process they steal the two things that Johnnie loves; Annabelle and his train The General. The movie has some genuinely hilarious moments, but is not roll on the ground funny. It does maintain a general lightness to the events that keeps it interesting throughout. It is also interesting from a technical standpoint. The movie has big set pieces involving armies on maneuver and very clever stunts involving the train. Some of the latter moments with the train are fantastic. The practical effects of the 1920s required them to destroy actual trains which is great to watch on film. There are also several very sweet scenes between Johnnie and Annabelle including one where she gets doused by a water tower that is both funny and adorable. The battle at the end may have inspired some of the shots from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly which is one of my all-time favorite movies.

Verdict:

The General is a masterpiece of early movie making. See it.

Tomorrow’s Movie: Your Name. (2016)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s