Focus (2015): In the midst of veteran con man Nicky's latest scheme, a woman from his past - now an accomplished femme fatale - shows up and throws his plans for a loop.
Ahhhhh the first big third act implosion of 2015. You know it's a real shame too, because this film set up such an awesome premise. The first two acts of this film are awesome. And then it just totally and completely falls apart in the third act. Here's the problem with this film. It's a con film, yes, but by the end there are so many subplots setup that when you get the final AHA moment(s) you'll just be sitting there saying no.....no....stop it. There's no tension at then end. None. Because they are throwing in twist after twist after twist so you just come to know that hey there's gonna be another twist! Thus removing all the tension. Sigh....
And, you know, there's a lot of good in this film. Will Smith and Margot Robbie are great. Their own chemistry is not the best, but individually they were great. This is definitely the best performance Will Smith has had in years. And, if The Wolf of Wall Street didn't make Margot Robbie a superstar....this sure will. And the music! The music was phenomenal. Music supervisor Jason Ruder did an incredible job layering in the best soundtrack I've heard in a film since Guardians of the Galaxy. The entire New Orleans segment of this film was EASILY the best part of it, to the point that I really wish the film had just ended when everyone left N'awlins. 45 minutes in. Those scenes were fun to watch, and then they suddenly became super tense, and I was loving every second of it. But they just had to leave the city and have the whole second half of the film that was quite the drag....
My number: 5.5/10 Slightly Above Average
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015): A spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid into the agency's ultra-competitive training program, just as a global threat emerges from a twisted tech genius.
Man. This one is a doozie. I'm not going to just come out and say I love this film. Because I don't. However, I will say I had a blast watching it.There's just a lot of flaws and flat-out uncomfortable (and very insensitive) scenes involved with it. So. Where to begin? How about with what I loved. The action was fun to watch. It was choreographed nicely, and Matthew Vaughn did a nice job filming the scenes so you know where everything is and don't become super discombobulated while watching them. Colin Firth is amazing and easily worth the price of admission alone, and Taron Egerton certainly holds his own as the lead. He's very charming and very charismatic for sure, and likely has a bright future ahead of him in this industry. It's refreshing to see Mark Hamill and Jack Davenport on screen again as well. Mark Hamill is championing one of his amazing voices here, so if you miss him I wouldn't blame you. But then there's everyone else. For starters, Mark Strong and Michael Caine should've been playing each other's characters. Why they weren't is beyond me. Both women in this film are little more than eye candy, as they are offered very little to do, and then there's Samuel L. Jackson. Dear Samuel L. Jackson: I went into this expecting to get the charismatic, hilarious, yet insanely evil Samuel L. Jackson that we've gotten in so many films. Instead, we got an incredibly restrained Samuel L. Jackson featuring a very awkward lisp that was more distracting than anything else with one joke that you played over and over. Why? WHY? WHY YOU DO THIS MAN? I had such high hopes for you to be awesome! And instead, you were just meh. I'm crying myself to sleep because of you tonight, Samuel L. Jackson.
And then there's the insensitive stuff. You know what? I can't do this without spoiling anything, so SPOILER ALERT. THIS PARAGRAPH HAS SPOILERS IN IT. So couple things with this film that really upset me. So Jackson has this device that makes everyone really evil and want to kill each other. He first activates it in a church, and what we then get is a well choreographed but incredibly uncomfortable scene of mass murder in a church in Kentucky. While this made me uncomfortable, I recovered quickly. However, then there's the whole third act of the film. Look. I get that this is a big stupid action movie at the end of the day, but if you're going to be ridiculous, you have to be smart about it. You cannot kill almost every world leader, and have the bad guy briefly succeed in his plan enough so that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people around the world kill each other before the good guys win, and then have the good guys be like YAY! We saved the world! NO. No you did not! 90% of the world leaders are dead, and now there are millions more dead across the world. I was very upset that the film did not acknowledge these facts, and then have the next shot after leaving the bad guy's base be back in London where everything's fine! Nothing to see here! I get that you were basically at 2 hours and needed to end the film, but to me this was done in incredibly poor taste.
So there you have it. While Kingsman was a fun ride, it was also a very insensitive one. The final act really upset me, and as a result I'm probably not seeing this film again anytime soon.
My Number: 5/10 Average
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