Entries in Channing Tatum (11)

Friday
Dec222017

Logan Lucky- review

 

“Logan Lucky” (2017)

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Daniel Craig

Running Time 158 Minutes, Rated PG-13

3 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

 

Director Steven Soderbergh is back.  After his short self imposed early retirement, which I didn’t believe in much anyways the Oscar winning director is back and that’s a good thing.  Soderbergh puts a rural spin on his most commercially successful films; Ocean’s 11, 12, and 13 with “Logan Lucky”.  Channing Tatum and Adam Driver are the ‘unlucky’ Logan brothers who decide to take back something for themselves with a heist during the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

 

Breezy is a good way to describe this film, but I would say it’s even better described as cool glass of lemonade on a very hot day.  It won’t do more than quench your thirst for that moment, but for its nearly two hour running time, I was quenched.  Shout out to Daniel Craig playing bigger comedically than I’ve seen him do before. Also, was it just me, or did Tatum put on a few pounds for this role?  That’s commendable commitment in what turned out to be on deaf ears as this film did nothing at the box office.  

Consider yourself lucky and watch this film.

Matthew 5:6

 

Tuesday
Feb162016

Hail, Ceasar!- review

 

“Hail Caesar” (2016)

Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen

Running Time 105 Minutes, Rated PG-13

Starring George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

 

I was a bit worried, I have to admit.  The weird February release and the late screening for critics nationwide had me thinking that The Coen Bros, who are probably the most consistently good filmmakers today, may have released a rare clunker.  Hail, Coens! because their latest, “Hail, Caesar! is right up there with the best of the brothers’ zanier dumb screwball comedies, that are, of course, smarter than I’ll ever be able to dissect.  But that’s what makes Coen Brothers so damn rewatchable, that you can continue to peel the layers with every view as you realize that each line of their dialogue has been combed through over and over, or you can just simply enjoy it for dumb enjoyable sake.  

 

“Hail, Caesar!” is a love letter to the old Hollywood system right before it was dying out.  With the H-bomb coming into existence, Communists endangering the American way, and even worse- television on the rise, the way of Hollywood might be in for some changes, but that won’t stop studio head Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), from ‘fixing’ anything and everything that needs his attention.  Eddie, a devout Catholic who goes to confession daily, is a good guy and loves his very hard job even if it takes up 25 hours a day.  The Coen brothers make heavy illusion that Mannix is almost a Christ figure himself, atoning for all the thespian sheep on his lot, and in one of their many inside jokes (which I’m sure I only got a few), you never see the actual Studio owner just like you never see the actual Godhead, only Jesus.

Eddie’s big dilemma on this day is that one of the studio’s biggest stars, Baird Whitlock (the Coen Brothers’ go to slick talking dumb guy) is kidnapped by a secretive group called “The Future”.  Whitlock is starring in a Ben-Hur would-be grand religious production, and they only have his pivotal grandiose climatic speech to shoot which makes the studio a hostage as well.  In Eddie’s quest to to rescue Whitlock, the Coen Brothers whisk us from most every type of old timey film genre.  

Scarlett Johansson is a raspy starlette whose pristine public image needs creative problem solving as she is pregnant without a husband.  Channing Tatum is amazing doing a Fred Astaire musical dance number highlighted in a song called “No Dames” that made we want to watch the rest of that fictitious movie inside this kooky movie.  When Tatum does get his big musical movie, watch out because you will be impressed.  I was wonderfully introduced to the young Alden Ehrenreich, who is hilarious yet soulful as  Western singing cowboy star Herbie Doyle who is made to transition into more dramatic period fare all to the chagrin of a British director played by Ralph Fiennes.

Just like “Burn After Reading” and “Inside Llewyn Davis”, “Hail, Caesar!” is destined to be in the woefully misunderstood that doesn’t get its due props category.  But listen to my props now, and watch “Hail, Caesar!” tomorrow.

But listen to my props now and watch “This!” tomorrow.

 

Monday
Feb092015

Jupiter Ascending- review

 

“Jupiter Ascending” (2015)

Directed by Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

Starring Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, Eddie Redmayne

Running Time 127 Minutes, Rated PG-13

2 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

 

You’ve heard of those famous acting roles in movies that were offered to other actors first but were turned down.  With “Matrix” Sean Connery was first offered to play Morpheus but turned it down, and it eventually went to Lawrence Fishburne. Will Smith turned down the role of Neo and that part eventually went to Keanu Reeves.  That’s enough to make you go “whoa”.  It’s hard for us, the viewer, to understand how someone could say no to something that is so universally considered one of the more influential films of all time, but just as John Candy told Aykroyd and Ramis that he didn’t see “Ghostbusters” working out as he turned down Rick Moranis’ role, Will Smith admitted that he simply didn’t get what the Wachowski’s were going for after he read the script so he turned it down.  

I gotta believe that the agents of Channing Tatum, Mila Kunis, and Eddie Redmayne told the same story to their clients warning them not to miss out on the next “Matrix” simply because they couldn’t understand a lick of this bat crap crazy script.  And bat crap crazy “Jupiter Ascending” is.  The Wachowski’s can’t help piling on more and more toppings to their gigantic party sub of a story making for a bloated bonkersfest of grand proportions.  I appreciate their habit of trying to shoot for the stars and beyond, but the way they cram up the screen with superfluous backstory and unneeded additional characters is like how a loved one packs the rented U Haul truck to the gill for a day trip to the beach.

 

Jupiter Jones (played by Mila Kunis with a tranquilizer dart stuck in her neck) is the daughter of Russian parents whose father was murdered trying to protect his telescope.  Now living in Chicago, cleaning toilets, and going to bed every night whispering to her pillow that she hates her life, Jupiter will so and is a major player in the universe’s real estate game.  Turns out, she’s the reincarnation of the dead mother of the wealthy planet royal family Abrasax.  Jupiter’s rise to the throne is very much not wanted by the trio of lecherous Abrasax siblings led by the eldest Balem Abrasax (Eddie Redmayne) who has among other things- some serious mother issues. To keep Balem and fam’ able to live for millennials, they have to ‘harvest’ the unsuspecting populations of worlds who have outsourced their means, and Earth is next on the list.  It’s up to a mercenary albino-werewolf named Caine Wise (Channing Tatum doing his best not to look embarrassed by his pointy ears) to save Jupiter and the rest of us

Much like Oscar favorite Julianne Moore who is also slumming it in this weeks other fiasco “The Seventh Son”, Eddie Redmayne is doing everything he can to blow his shot at the little gold statue as he his raspy diaphragm-less performance is Razzie bound.  Tatum and Kunis do their best to roll with the punches with little success, and there’s no denying that the Wachowski’s have put plenty into the special effects and the world around it, but there’s also no denying that “Jupiter Ascending” is yet another example of the once powerful directing duo’s descending career path.    

there’s also no denying that “This” is yet another example of the once powerful directing duo’s descending career path.

Esther 1:11

 

Saturday
Dec202014

Foxcatcher- review

 

“Foxcatcher”

Directed by Bennett Miller

Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo

Running Time 134 Minutes, Rated R.

4 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

 

Check with me tomorrow, and I might give Foxcatcher a score of 4.5.  At first my rudimentary intellect was battling trying to figure out if this was just fartsy artsy rubbage or a rubix cube worth attempting to solve.  There comes a point where you can either trust the filmmaker to know better than you (because they infinitely do), or come away from a project unmoved the way said artist intended you to be moved.  Did you connect with the storyteller?  When you were peeling away for the truth did you feel unattached (“Interstellar)? Even worse, did you feel manipulated/tricked to conform to their intentions (“Big Hero 6”).  Besides that slew of pretentious mumjo reviewer speak jumbo I just gave, my point is this: I trust in Bennett Miller.

The most poignant slash powerful scene for me is in the very beginning.  Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave (Mark Ruffalo) Schultz, who are both gold medal winners for wrestling, warm up and eventually spar on the mat together.  You get so much information about the two in these moments.  The brooding angry little brother Mark trying to ever prove his worth while just letting out the steam of being in the shadows of his enigmatic and put together older brother Dave.  There’s a back and forth dance and even a secret language spoken with their wrestling physicality that the two actors pull off as convincing and probing as possible.  

A lumbering solo existence in which we we view Mark eating ramen noodles in his drab apartment is interrupted when John du Pont (Steve Carell), who is a part of one of the wealthiest families in the country flies Mark in via helicopter and sells him quickly on making Mark the integral part of establishing a wrestling olympic complex that will bring glory back to his majestic U.S.A., and defeat the Soviets.  John becomes the father figure Mark has so desperately craved for, and for a moment, the two are bringing happiness to each other.  

 

Bennett Miller’s direction doesn’t let that happiness last for long.  du Pont goes by “coach” and Mark and his fellow wrestlers go along with it because he is the money, but its clear from the start he can add nothing to their training but money.  du Pont can’t motivate Mark the way his brother could, and his training to win the gold again starts to go off the rails.  If you’re familiar with the true life results, you await for the ending that can only end tragically.  

Miller’s direction is always in control and molds incredible performances out of his trio.  Carell is getting the most attention for his dark dramatic turn as the socially awkward du Pont who is all but lost in his prosthetic nose and sunken eyes looking like the younger brother of Danny Devito’s Penguin from “Batman Returns”.  Haunted by the shadow of his mother, he immerses himself as a man that at one point admits to never having a real friend that wasn’t paid for.  Channing Tatum is even more impressive to me.  As the film’s true lead, Tatum is heartbreaking showing off loneliness and the brute frustration that bears from it.  Equally as powerful to watch is Mark Ruffalo’s David, who tries to balance being both Mark’s brother and father figure.  A family man, David knows his brother is a tortured soul and doesn’t know how to free him from it.  

“Foxcatcher” doesn’t feel like a tight gel of fluid scenes, and I prefer to trust Miller did that on purpose.         

“This” doesn’t feel like a tight gel of fluid scenes, and I prefer to trust Miller did that on purpose.

 

Saturday
Jun212014

22 Jump Street- review

 

“22 Jump Street” (2014)

Directed by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller

Starring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube

Running Time 112 Minutes, Rated R.

3 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

 

More of the same.  I’ll take it.

Mid 2014 is still a time when you could state that directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have done no wrong. “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”, this year’s mega smash hit “The Lego Movie” where everything was awesome, and their Jump Street saga included.  Saga might me a strong word, but the two savvy auteurs have totally nailed resurrecting an old forgotten tv show just to make fun of the fact that so many tv shows get movie treatments.  Besides the meta, “21 Jump Street” combined the perfect deadpan delivery of Jonah Hill with the burgeoning comedic talents of Channing Tatum with a film that actually delivered on it’s action genre as the climax came to a close.

“22 Jump Street” is almost exactly the same as the first; riffing on how sequels just try to build on the same old same old that worked in the original, but getting laughs on the fact that we know that’s what they’re doing.  The meta comedy plays hard, but at the same time you do realize that can only take you so far.  Jokes about budget constraints referring to sequels get their laughs, but it was hard for my laughs to get past the meta layer at times.    

 

As promised at the finale of the first film Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) film do go to college. There, they are assigned to achieve the same success as the first; bust a new crazed drug ring while keeping their bromances alive through the ups and downs.  This time Jenko finds more popularity as a football jock than Schmidt does in the art house circle, although Schmidt does find companionship with someone near and dear to their very angry police boss, Captain Dickson (very angry Ice Cube).  

You know what happens; after reminiscing and getting lost in their covers, the two police their way out of a paper bag and choose after hardships to keep their very heartfelt and well acted hetero adoration together.  

I came. I saw.  I repeated what I came and saw and still very much appreciated it.

I repeated what “this” came and saw and still very much appreciated it.

Hebrews 13:1

 

Friday
Jul052013

White House Down- review

 

“White House Down” (2013)

Directed by Roland Emmerich 

Starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Foxx, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Running Time 131 Minutes, Rated PG-13

2 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

For my money’s worth (which I did spend), there’s clearly only one winner in the White House under terrorist attack film of 2013 contest, and it ain’t White House Down.  The better blow the sh*& out of the First Family’s house film is the guilty pleasure treat of the year: Olympus Has Fallen.  

Olympus Has Fallen director Antoine Fuqua has out Emmerich-ed White House Down and mega disaster film director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, 2012).  Olympus provides better snarky comic one liners, Gerard Butler’s Mike Banning is more Die Hard than Channing Tatum’s John Cale, and more importantly the R. rated Olympus Has Fallen’s action is highly more entertaining than the PG-13 rated White House Down.

What White House Down does do more of is lead the way of wasting some excellent opportunities.  With Channing Tatum bringing his comic tough but not so smart guy routine from 21 Jump Street as the wannabe Presidential Secret Service detailed John Cale and Jamie Foxx as the wanting real change President of the United States we could’ve had a delightfully odd and funny buddy cop action flick.  Instead the two’s chemistry is wasted on watered down antics, and Foxx feel’s especially neutered with his all too blandly presidential President.

Good news for America that John Cale had tickets to a White House tour for him and his White House Encyclopedia Brown spewing young daughter Emily (Joey King).  Because when a team of American extremists storm the castle that is the White House, causing unspeakable mass human and property damage that we’ve become so accustomed to lately (Man of Steel, The Avengers) its up to Cale to rescue Foxx’s President Sawyer and even more important the ‘American Way’.  

White House Down definitely squeaks out a few laughs and a few moments of big summer action, but Emmerich can’t help but tack on at least 30 minutes definitely better suited for the editing floor.  More than that, Emmerich’s usual plastered corniness is here in full force- President Sawyers low flying helicopter stroll of the D.C. monuments comes to mind.  There’s a twist and turn too many and unintelligible blasé action scenes a plenty- a way too long high speed car chase with the Prez and Cale in one car being pursued by 2 baddie cars around a circular fountain on the White House lawn is ridiculous enough, but when you count the fact that the 2 foes chase the good guys’ car in the same circle for 5 minutes instead of using their kindergarten smarts and just having one baddie car going one way around the fountain and the other baddie going the other way would have fixed that problem in a 5 seconds.  Smart enough to break into the White House but not splitting up in a Looney Tunes style car chase is mind numbing.  

Oh well, time to flush White House Down the drain.  

Oh well, time to flush “this” Down the drain.     

 

Monday
Apr012013

G.I. Joe: Retaliation- review

 

"G.I. Joe: Retaliation"  (2013)

Directed by Jon M. Chu

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum

Running Time 110 Minutes, Rated PG-13

1.5 Mitch’s out of 5

Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

Not for one second did I care about anything or any character in this film.  

You like stuff that blows up and people shooting bullets and throwing punches?  This G.I. Joe sequel/reboot has plenty of that to spare, but be warned- what it also has to spare is the incomprehensible dizziness told through the voice of an 8 year old boy.  I’m sorry, an 8 year old boy could have put together a more credible storyline and filled it with characters and dialogue that aren’t nearly as generic and cheesy as Step Up 3D and the Justin Bieber documentary director Jon M. Chu constructed with writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.  

I expected just as much.  Last summer, Paramount pulled G.I. Joe Retaliation from the theatres just a month before it’s June ‘12 release.  Paramount cited that the film was to go through a 3-D conversion and a Channing Tatum expansion.  Now that screamed product weakness to me, but business wise it was probably brilliant getting that overseas 3-D money that they eat up, and this film likely would have been crushed in last year’s summer blockbuster fare.  This Joe is just as dreadful as the original but it’s still gonna make that money.

So from what I could put together when the Pakistani president is assassinated, America’s fighting elite G.I. Joe’s are called on to retrieve their country’s missing nukes.  Channing Tatum must have filled some contractual obligation to come back as Joe leader Duke and second in command is Roadblock played by the lovable, but poor script choosing, Dwayne Johnson.  The two of them and the rest of Joe’s are double crossed and set up for treason when the evil Zartan- masquerading as the President of the United States (played by Jonathan Pryce) unleashes the even more evil organization known as Cobra’s on their patriotic butts.  Almost all dead, the remaining Joe’s must save the world and they’re names at the same time- and if they have time maybe save all the other overused action plots that are recycled over and over and over.   

For some reason Chu and screenwriters expect you to have an encyclopedic knowledge of everyone and everything that went down in the original.  Characters are splashed on the screen and we’re expected to be able to pick up on their so-called drama from the first boondoggle.  The side plot of the Cobra member and martial arts guru Storm Shadow (Lee Byung-hun) who frees his Cobra Commander from Hans Solo chamber, gets hurt in the process, takes time in the Himalayas to heal, and then decides to join the Joe’s is just as confusing to watch as this sentence is to read.

     

There are so many “what the what?!?!” moments whizzing at us like the automatic rifled bullets that I couldn’t help but give up on the film with the first 20 minutes.  When our hero's are trying to figure out why and how they were betrayed by their government one of the surviving Joe’s Lady Jaye (Adrianne Palicki) notices within minutes of research that the president has been been making slight changes to his body language.  So of all the countless possible explanations that there could have been to be deceived, her first guess was that the leader of the free world had a nefarious doppelganger- that’s one hell of a first guess.      

There are too many of these mind numbing moments to count- Bruce Willis showing up halfway through to pick up a paycheck being one of them.  I enjoyed Jonathan Pryce’s spirited performance and the ninja zip-line action sequence through the Himalayas was fun, but for the other 90% of the film I was planning my retaliation to the filmmakers for yet, another G.I. Joe debacle.  

I was planning my retaliation to the filmmakers for yet, another “this” debacle.  

1 Peter 3:9

 

Thursday
Feb072013

Side Effects- review

“Side Effects” (2013)
Directed by  Steven Soderbergh
Starring Rooney Mara, Channing Tatum, Jude Law
Running Time 106 Minutes, Rated R.
4 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/movieswithmitch.com

“Side Effects” is the first must-see film of 2013.  Watch it, take two pills, and then read this in the morning.

Steven Soderbergh has been killing it of late.  He rocked 2012 with Magic Mike and Haywire but out does both of those by nailing a top-notch psychological thriller that knocked me off my seat with “Side Effects”.  Accompanied by a chess master script from Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Informant!), Soderbergh gives us one of those “this crazy crap could actually happen” tales that expertly sets you up and knocks you down over, and over again.  

Soderbergh’s visuals and shot selections float like butterflies and his twists and turns sting like a bees.  The famed director duped this viewer; framing figures in the shadows while leading me one way and gleefully bringing me somewhere Hitchcockian else.  In what could of played out sillier than a very special episode of Scrubs meets Law & Order SVU, Soderbergh brings a playfully devilish war, skimping on morals that scared the hell out of me and made me love it.

I’m not going to go too much into the plot as to keep this treasure spoil free.  Side Effects tackles many topics and isn’t afraid to do it in Soderbergh’s 3 outta 10 minority voice.  From a look at our pill popping culture, to what are the consequences and responsibilities of the doctors who prescribe them, to revenge, financial needs, paranoia, and much more.  All of this done to the fine tuned mastery of Soderbergh.

You can take my word for it and enjoy, or you can read on and I’ll give you a little to nosh on.  

“Side Effects” starts out with 20-something Emily (Rooney Mara) welcoming her husband Martin (Channing Tatum) from prison who did time for insider trading.  Even with her husband back and life getting on track, she falls prey to extreme anxiety and serious depression resulting in a suicide attempt.  Assigned to the care of psychiatrist Dr. Banks (Jude Law), Emily is allowed to not be put in a mental hospital if she’ll visit him regularly. Dr. Banks put her on a new drug, Ablixa, which results in her feeling better, being able to function properly, and even gives her a higher sex drive, even if she does develop a nasty sleepwalking habit as a side effect.  

From there a very unfortunate incident happens resulting in the question being asked: “If the patient is responsible for their actions when put on strong pharmaceutical drugs?” ---basically putting the system on trial.  

From there, all hell breaks loose and its a wonderful ride worth taking.
 
Besides Rooney Mara who uses her talents to, once again, show a cold and distant character, Soderbergh has his usuals in his leads.  He’s right to have a mancrush on Channing Tatum, and Tatum is beyond blessed getting to have a director that is stretching him dramatically leaps and bounds.  You might not think it from the trailers, but this is Jude Law’s film and his semi-sleazy exterior does all the more to have us every which way but loose.  

But it was Catherine Zeta-Jones who made me do a double take.  As Emily’s old psychiatrist, Dr. Victoria Siebert, Zeta-Jones looks like one of Robert Palmer’s addicted to love femmes with a bachelors in psychology.  It took about five seconds, but “Side Effects” became by far her most intriguing and best work.   

Steven Soderbergh says “Side Effects” will be his last directed film for quite some time to which I say boo, but if it is, then job well done sir.

Steven Soderbergh says “this” will be his last directed film for quite some time to which I say boo, but if it is, then job well done sir.

Proverbs 17:22

Monday
Jul022012

Magic Mike- review

“Magic Mike” (2012)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer
Running Time 110 Minutes, Rated R.
3.5 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com

More six packs than an out of control frat party, more grind than my annoyed gears, more assless chaps than a group of flat-bottomed Brits... Magic Mike and the rest of the exotic dances in the Xquisite Male Dance Revue in Tampa, Florida are the closest thing to superheroes for a lot of hot and bothered females.  

Lets get it straight that I’ve been on the Channing Tatum band wagon for quite some time now.  As the films titled Magic Mike, a 30-year old male stripper who may be longing for more than just working the proverbial pole, Tatum delivers a performance that’s stronger than his abs (pretty strong).  

Pick-a-genre-and-he’s-done-it-Steven Soderbergh calmly directs the world of Chippendale’s with his trademark color saturated self-cinematography and characters starting dialogue with their heads out of frame.  

The many a time told tale of manboy trying not to become his job is something we’ve obviously seen before. Tatum, who most of us know used to be apart of this line of work in his earlier years, plays the realest, and his loads of charm doesn’t hurt much either.  

Mike brings in or one might say “pimps” in, the 19-year old dirt poor Adam, played with a doe-eyed likability by Alex Pettyfer, into the enticing world of sexy dude dancing.  Adams couches on sister Brooke’s couch.  Cody Horn is also actor fantastic as the disapproving but level headed Brooke who Mike is drawn to.  The time taken for Mike and Brooke to get to know each other is refreshing and a huge payoff.  

The onstage antics themselves are captured as a good time from Soderbergh in the beginning.  I know what team I play for, but I respected the showmanship of the men showing the ladies a good time.  Soderbergh makes it super sleek and super sexy showing a world that the young Adam would no doubt get addicted to and the living void that that lifestyle employs.  On the other spectrum of Mike is the 40-year old ringleader Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), who is not only a lifer but also a true believer.  McConaughey is cast to perfection as the greased up, sleazed up, and shirtless Dallas, who if you listen to very carefully, you’ll hear a few classic “Alright, alright, alright’s” from the legendary naked-bongo-playing-actor.  

Reid Carolin‘s dialogue rings true.  From Mike’s pick up lines to when he explains to Brooke his stripper wisdom of why her younger brother is in the business, “women, money, and a good time”, sounds realistic enough to me for a 19-year old to get hooked on the high.  In fact “Magic Mike” rings as true as their sweaty g-strings.  Now, while I very much do not approve of exoctic clubs I do very much approve of this film.

I do very much approve of “this”.

 

1 Kings 14:24

Monday
Mar192012

21 Jump Street- review

“21 Jump Street” (2012)
Directed by Phil Lord, Chris Miller
Starring Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum
Running Time 109 Minutes, Rated R.
3.5 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com

“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”  We need a street, 21 Jump Street to be precise.

The timeless story of reliving past time has been a frequent purveyor of film and reliving one’s high school days is the street most commonly traveled upon.  From one of the greatest films ever in “Back to the Future” told through time travel to some of the worst movies ever, like “Dream a Little Dream” told through body swapping, high school gives a reflection back to such a unique time in one’s life.  Like those two 80’s films, actor and producer Jonah Hill has found his travel back to high school vehicle using the same straight laced 80’s cop show for his latest R rated comedy.  I won’t give it “Back to the Future” praise but wonderfully enough, “21 Jump Street” provides good buddy cop action, an actual sensitiveness to their fish out of water characters, and not to mention delivers big, big laughs.  

It’s been seven years since high school for Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum).  Back then the nerdy “not-so-slim-shady” Schmidt was tormented by the popular dumb jock Jenko.  When the two meet up in police academy, they become besties with smarts iron sharpening physically fit iron.  Underachieving as boring bike cops, they finally get their chance to prove themselves when they get transferred to go undercover posing as high school students.  

Their mission is to track down a new deadly drug called H.F.S (crude but hilarious explanation) by infiltrating the dealers and finding the suppliers.  These orders are given by Captain Dickson played by Ice Cube, who explains why he’s an angry black police captain.  This is another excellent example of how Michael Bacall‘s (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) spot on script has it’s characters get their genres laughs but also be people too.  

Jenko and Schmidt’s ideas of the high school hierarchy have totally changed.  Jenko’s ‘not caring’ attitude is no longer cool, and “granola kids with causes” are where it’s at now.  Making funny funnier, Jenko screws up and takes the wrong identity, enrolling him in science classes while Schmidt has track and drama.  Crippled with the stings of high school rejection, Schmidt ends up being the cool one for the first time in his life and earns the affections of fellow drama mate Molly (played by the adorable Brie Larson).

From the directors of the imaginative Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Phil Lord and Chris Miller reign in the improvisational masters for a balanced fun flick.  Jump Street is no “Superbad”, as that film never missed an opportunity.  I wish more was made of Schmidt and Jenko being both denied of their high school prom, and even though a trailer shows off Tatum’s dancing abilities, those sweet “Step Up” moves were nowhere to be seen.  Dancing bummer.  

Jonah Hill will have a long career (duh!).  Hill takes some of the biggest chances of his Apatow crew.  Indie acting vehicles like “Cyrus” to Oscar nominated performances in “Moneyball” to taking chances on adapting old silly TV shows genuinely into sincere action comedies.  “21 Jump Street” is in good hands, and it’s up to you to go to the theaters and get your butts into some good seats.

Get you butts into some good “this”.  

 

Monday
Feb132012

The Vow- review

Directed by Michael Sucsy
Starring  Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum
Running Time 104 Minutes, Rated PG-13
3 Mitch’s out of 5
Mitch Hansch/ movieswithmitch.com
Maybe it’s because it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, maybe it’s my wife’s big heart rubbing off on me, or maybe (probably) it’s the expired milk I consumed the night before, but by the end of my viewing experience of “The Vow”, I was able to say, "Sure, I can recommend this, I guess.”  Not an overwhelming recommendation, I know, with it’s tired memory loss romantic plot thread and shallow screenwriting.  In the end, the actors shine (especially the growing talent Channing Tatum), and there is rare wholesome film treatment to the sanctity of marriage that’s nice to see once in a while.

Married life has it’s own challenges, but it’s another thing if your other half gets amnesia forgetting all your time together.  When Chicagoan hipsters Paige (Rachel McAdams) and Leo (Channing Tatum) get rear-ended, Paige comes to with no memory of her last five years (the time in which the two met and got married). Instead Paige last recalls an earlier self by dressing like a suburban sorority girl, eating meat, and being engaged to Jeremy (Scott Speedman).  Not remembering why she left Jeremy, she falls openly for and flirts with him in front of poor Leo and looks to her estranged parents, played by Jessica Lange and Sam Neill for support.  

In an impossible situation, Leo is as patient and understanding as one can be.  Tatum’s Leo has all the film's sympathy as he works to get back something that was taken from him in a way that’s no one’s fault.  It’s been impressive to watch Tatum grow as an actor and in “The Vow” he has an indelible sweet side that is able to stand alone from his brutish figure action type roles.

Michael Sucsay’s direction gives no lump in the throat moments.  There’s a silly fairyland picture of marriage before the accident happens.  Not once do we see them fight or have the slightest bit of a non agreement.  The little of what we see of Paige's married life is that she’s perfect, so when she gets blasted to the past, (not to the fault of McAdams) she’s written to not get our support.  We want them to both find love again, not just have Leo be the good guy till she realizes it, too much of the romantic burden is on Leo’s (muscular) shoulders.  

Things get too sappy, to the point where they unfortunately give Tatum’s Leo a guitar.  As he not so gently made that guitar weep, I’m just glad they didn’t make him sing.  The big lug didn’t make me weep, but at least he made me care enough to see that they found happily ever after again for the second time.
Found “this” again for the second time.