The Change-Up – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: David Dobkin

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Bateman, Leslie Mann, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin

Synopsis: Dave is a lawyer running for partner in a law firm while raising three children and struggling to find time for his wife.   Mitch is an actor whom struggles to find work and lives the true bachelor’s life with a schedule for seeing women on each day of the week.   They are both friends from childhood, and while wishing for each others life while urinating in a magical fountain, their wish comes true as they experience a body-swap.

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Green Lantern – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Martin Campbell

Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Tim Robbins, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Temuera Morrison, Geoffrey Rush, Michael Clarke Duncan

Synopsis: Test pilot Hal Jordan has a close encounter with a crashed alien, whom gives him a green ring of power, and a lantern by which to charge it.   He becomes a Green Lantern, part of an intergalactic peace keeping force known as the Green Lantern Corps.   Their oath; ” In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight.   Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power… Green Lantern’s light”.

This film comes relatively late to Australian shores, it having been released in the US over a month ago.   Box office overseas has not been overly kind, and many have considered Green Lantern a flop.   Despite being a comic book fanatic myself, I have never really followed any specific Green Lantern titles, so perhaps my lesser degree of familiarity may make me forgive any divergence from the source text this film takes.   Overall, my impression was one of entertainment, and if I had to provide a reason for the film’s lack of success, it would perhaps be that audiences may be starting to fatigue of superhero films.

In addition, this is also not just another superhero movie, it is another superhero origin movie.   Director Martin Campbell though has previously proven himself to be an able hand at reviving well-worn genres.   He has done so twice already with the James Bond franchise, having helmed both GoldenEye and Casino Royale.   Though he does not do much to reinvent the superhero origin story film he does at least put a very well structured and enjoyable film with high entertainment value.   Jordan’s inner conflict in feeling he has been chosen incorrectly as he does not possess the Lantern quality of lacking fear is a very real prospect for anyone thrown into that situation.   A reasonable history is provided for this fear, but in the end it does come across as a natural human response.   Reynolds successfully balances the cocky self-assured test pilot persona with a man battling within himself to find his true courage.

It is largely Reynolds show here, but there are other strong performances on hand.   Peter Sarsgaard is always a very reliable presence on film, and he portrays the villain of the piece, Hector Hammond.   Unlike Jordan getting the green power of will, Hammond receives by accident the yellow power of fear.   His make up threatens to rule his performance, so it is to his credit that he can rise above this limitation.   Lively is the love interest, and the plot does not serve her character very well, often feeling like she is there because every hero must have a romantic, humanising interest.   Lively does rise to the challenge though, and she makes both a sympathetic and even a courageous counterpoint to Jordan himself.   Special note must be made of Robbins as Senator Hammond, Hector’s father, in a smaller but certainly memorable role.

The effects are of course brilliant, given the tools available to film makers these days.   One of the loudest complaints about the film in online circles has been that the fully CGI costume looks unrealistic.   The accusation is not entirely without merit, but there is also a degree of logic in the decision.   Though originally jarred by the appearance of the costume, as I got accustomed to seeing it, I considered that if that was my most significant complaint, it is a relatively minor one.

This is a film that does not break boundaries, nor does it need to.   It ticks all the right boxes for an entertaining two hours in which one can leave the real world outside the cinema and just sit to enjoy popcorn while simultaneously having candy for the eyes and the ears.   By that definition, the film is a success.

3.5 stars out of 5


Green Lantern on IMDB

Green Lantern on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=]

Upcoming Genre Films for 2011 Part Deux – A Preview by Film Nerd

First of all thanks to Urban Fantasist for that awesome post.   Consider my appetite whetted.   As you referred to yourself though, there are certain tastes of mine that were not catered to, so here is a preview of 2011 from the perspective of someone who collected comics in high school.

I will be using the same list as Urban Fantasist from io9, but I will extend from there a little bit from a post by blastr featuring the top 55 trailers for films coming out in 2011.   I will of course avoid overlap between these lists.

The Green Hornet (io9, blastr)     January 14

A remake of the series that first captured hearts on radio serials then on television, featuring a rich guy turned vigilante.   The character was created by the guy who brought us The Lone Ranger, and at one point in the radio series it was indicated that the Hornet is descendant of the Ranger.   Directed by Michael Gondry of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind fame, it could prove interesting.

I Am Number Four (io9, blastr)     February 18

A group of nine aliens hiding out as teenagers on Earth are hunted down for extermination by the government.   With three down, this film follows the story of the fourth to be targeted.    Based on a novel of the same name.

The Adjustment Bureau (io9, blastr)     March 4

Matt Damon plays a congressman destined for big things, before he meets and falls for Emily Blunt’s ballerina.   He was supposed to never meet her again, but somehow does, and falls in love with her.   The mysterious agency of the title steps in to prevent the relationship, and put our heroes life back on the set path.   Escaping, running, and hiding ensues….

Battle: Los Angeles (io9, blastr)     March 11

Gritty war film with hand-held camera work with visceral closeups, etc.   Oh yeah, and humans are fighting aliens.   Sounds like a great big B-movie, but with a cast headlined by Aaron Eckhart, may prove a hidden gem.

Red Riding Hood (io9, blastr)     March 11

Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman star in this retelling of the classic tale, with the wolf recast as a werewolf connected the past of she with the hood.   Don’t know how Urban Fantasist missed that one, sounds like her cup of tea!!

Paul (io9, blastr)     March 18

Comedy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, as two mates on an American road trip that meet foul mouth alien Paul, voiced by Seth Rogen.   Some of the gags on the trailer are foul, but delightfully so!!

Sucker Punch (io9, blastr)     March 25

A film by Zack Snyder, who previously brought us 300 and Watchmen.   He does have a talent for absolute visual splendour on-screen, and the trailers indicate this will be no different.   It is hard to get a grasp on what it is about, but seems to be the story of five girls attempting to escape the clutches of evil authority in a mental asylum…or is it a war zone???   Or a bordello??

Super (io9, blastr)     April 1

Okay, so the concept of this sounds very similar to Kick-Ass… average bloke dons a costume to fight crime.   So lacking in originality on that count perhaps.   Just watch the clip posted on blastr though and I dare you not to show some interest!!

Hanna (blastr only) April 8

Eric Bana’s ex-CIA agent trains daughter Saoirse Ronin to be the perfect assassin, with the goal to target Cate Blanchett.    A lot of talent there in that sentence, and a pretty cool concept to boot.    The trailer also kicks butt!!

Your Highness (io9, blastr) April 8

Danny McBride and James Franco reteam with the director of Pineapple Express to star as royal brothers on a rescue mission… a comedy that drags Natalie Portman and my favourite Zooey Deschanel along for the ride.   I am still giggling at the trailer… “What a coincidence, I was just about to finish thinking of you!!”   Hehe.

Thor (io9, blastr)     May 6

The Norse god is exiled to Earth, as reimagined by Marvel Comics.   Mjolnir was spotted after the credits to Iron Man 2, resulting in my second Nerdgasm for that film.   Those that don’t know that this is part of building towards Joss Whedon’s The Avengers should be stripped of their geek badge immediately!!

X-Men: First Class (io9 only)     June 3

The second Marvel movie for 2011.   With James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and January Jones on board, and Kick-Ass’ Michael Vaughn directing, can we put the travesty of X-Men: The Last Stand behind us???

Green Lantern (io9, bkastr)     June 17

A film based on a DC universe second tier hero.   Ryan Reynolds is good casting, but the CGI costume is still a little off-putting for me.   However, has the potential to be the next Iron Man, whom was one of Marvel’s second tier heroes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part Two (io9, blastr)     July 15

You really want a synopsis for this one?

Captain America: The First Avenger (io9 only)     July 22

The source of my first Nerdgasm in Iron Man 2 was spotting Captain America’s shield partially constructed in Tony Stark’s work room.   Like Thor, this is building to Whedon’s The Avengers, and has Chris Evans donning the tights in what can only be called great casting!

Cowboys and Aliens (io9, blastr)     July 29

James Bond and Indiana Jones!!   The old west!!   Aliens!!    Daniel Craig waits from unconsciousness with a strange device on his arm.   Harrison Ford plays the villain of the piece, that teams with Craig when the bigger threat arrives.   Why didn’t they think of this earlier???

The Thing (io9 only)     October 14

Prequel to John Carpenter’s iconic original.   Stars Joel Edgerton, and personal favourite Mary Elizabeth Winstead, last seen in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Sherlock Holmes 2 (io9, blastr)     December 16

Downey Jr. and Law return to 221B Baker Street, this time to face the infamous Professor Moriarty.   Be warned, blastr screwed up, the trailer from the first film, not the first trailer for the second!!

The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn (io9 only) December 23

Steven Spielberg directs his first fully motion capture film.   Peter Jackson produces.   They will be swapping roles for the sequel!!   Stars Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.   Some writing was even done by Doctor Who‘s Steven Moffatt!! Add that element of retro charm and I am sold!

Man, that is a lot of movies…. I hope Bride of Film Nerd doesn’t kill me when we need a second mortgage!!