VIDIOT: JANUARY 2014

vidiot_stockphotoPrisoners

It’s surprising a fat, unshaven old man would crawl down a chimney to give children toys and to not kidnap them while they slept.

Mind you, it wasn’t Santa who stole the two girls in this thriller.

When Keller’s (Hugh Jackman) daughter is abducted with the neighbour’s girl, he is so distraught he confines the police’s first suspect (Paul Dano) in a dilapidated building, and proceeds to beat the whereabouts of the girls out of him.

Meanwhile, Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) continues following leads involving local pedophiles.

Knowing the man’s innocence, Keller continues his torture of the suspect with help from his neighbours (Terrence Howard, Viola Davis).

A well-acted, white-knuckled thriller that deals with kidnapping in a compassionate manner, Prisoners seamlessly slides a seedy mystery in-between the emotional layers of the narrative.

However, in some cases, when your child goes missing, all you have to do is look up from your phone.

Fast & Furious 6

The best way to curb street racing in your community is to generate constant gridlock.

Mind you, the racers in this action movie are inclined to go off-road.

Dominic (Vin Diesel) comes out of hiding to help DSS agent Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) stop a rogue soldier (Luke Evans) from selling an EMP on the black market.

In exchange, he and his crew (Paul Walker, Gal Gadot, Jordana Brewster, Sung Kang, Tyrese Gibson, Chris Bridges) want amnesty for their US crimes and the freedom to return home.

The fifth sequel in the series, Fast 6 doesn’t dazzle like its predecessor Fast 5 but it does maintain the franchise’s new espionage angle.

And while street racing takes a back seat in this one, there are enough overblown car chases, unexpected cameos and sudsy melodrama to propel the series onward.

But, as always, this series ignores the real victims of street racing: ran-over flag girls.

The Family

The hardest part of being under witness protection with your family is not telling the killer where your brother is all of the time.

Thankfully, the brother and sister in this action/comedy are amicable.

Relocated to Normandy, France after another incident involving their father’s (Robert De Niro) mob boss tendencies, Belle (Dianna Agron) and her brother Warren (John D’Leo) promptly establish their dominance at school.

Meanwhile, their mother (Michelle Pfeiffer) sets fires around town, and their dad details his life in an unsanctioned memoir.

However, their quaint community turns war zone when an old family friend locates their whereabouts.

Jerking from light-hearted comedy to scenes of attempted rape and violence with unemotional ease, The Family’s frenetic storytelling instills a sense of dissatisfaction and general unease.

Incidentally, the only disguises for an Italian mafia boss in the witness protection program are a pizza pie maker, magical plumber and mob boss impersonator.

Despicable Me 2

The reason super villains don’t date is because they’re obligated to dine and dash.

Thankfully, the scoundrel in this animated movie has abandoned the bad life.

Rearing his daughters (Miranda Cosgrove, Elsie Fisher, Dana Gaier) in suburbia, former baddie Gru (Steve Carell) is enlisted by The Anti-Villain League to apprehend a thief who stole a transformative formula.

Partnered with an AVL agent (Kristen Wiig), Gru targets the local mall.

Zoning in on super villain turned restaurateur El Macho (Benjamin Bratt) as the culprit, Gru is stunned when the heist is blamed on a wig shop owner (Ken Jeong) instead.

Meanwhile, his loveable minions have been malformed into macabre menaces.

The obvious sequel to the original success, number two delivers the same juvenile laughs while also exploring single parenting further.

In fact, nine times out of 10, the children of super villains grow up to lead very meaningful lives via identity theft.

The Wolverine

When you’re a superhero with claws you tend to fight villains like the Knife-Sharpener, the Human Scratch Post or Emo Kid.

However, the mutant in this action movie is battling the worst enemy ever – himself.

Plagued by Jean Grey’s (Famke Janssen) death, Logan (Hugh Jackman) flies to Japan on the behest of an aide (Rila Fukushima) to a Japanese soldier (Hiroyuki Sanada) he saved during WWII.

Now the head of a medical tech company, the ailing doctor presents Logan with the opportunity to relinquish his healing factor.

Meanwhile, the venomous scientist Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) preps a suit of Adamantium for an unknown host.

A brilliant interpretation of the Frank Miller mini-series on which it’s based, this pathos-packed, ninja-loaded sequel is the most authentic portrayal of the lovesick Canuck we’ve seen yet.

Surprising still is the fact that the Japanese love interest is not a used panty vending machine.

Red 2

The worst thing about retiring from espionage is no one wants to hear your secretly recorded conversations anymore.

Luckily, the girlfriend of the ex-spy in this action movie is interested in his transcriptions.

While former CIA Black-ops specialist Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) is content with domestic life, his sadistic squeeze Sarah (Mary-Louise Parker) isn’t.

Fortunately for her, all that changes when Frank and his friend Marvin (John Malkovich) are classified as terrorists.

Hunted by MI6 Victoria (Helen Mirren), Russian secret service (Catherine Zeta-Jones) and an assassin (Lee Byung-hun), the triad tries to attain a scientist (Anthony Hopkins) with knowledge of a lost WMD before corrupt CIA agents do.

A phantasmagoria of reality defying gunfights, this obligatory sequel to the original retains its clever cast as well, but negates to thaw-out its contrived Cold War plot.

Incidentally, the best way to defeat a Russian army is with gay Olympic figure skaters.

Jobs

Due to the millions who’ve been rundown by motorists on their iPhones, Steve Jobs is comparable to Stalin.

Mind you, his colleagues in this biography would liken him more to Hitler.

Gaining admiration for calligraphy, college dropout Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher) applies his knowledge to the burgeoning computer market.

Turning his friend Steve Wozniak’s (Josh Gad) pet project into the Apple 1, they, and some friends (Lukas Haas, Ron Eldard, Eddie Hassell, Victor Rasuk), then assemble its successor, the Apple II.

However, Jobs can’t handle the success and he soon alienates his partners, his shareholders, and his daughter from his life.

The Cliff’s Notes version of the iPod creator’s life, Jobs barely skims the surface of the egomaniacal genius.

And while the supporting cast contributes greatly, they are undercut by Kutcher’s clumsy imitation.

Furthermore, its deceptive title humiliated all those who showed up at the theatre looking for employment opportunities.

Elysium

The upside to living in a dystopian future is that Hollywood will have plenty of great filming locations to choose from.

However, the affluent in this sci-fi movie don’t even live on Earth.

Orbiting over the planet in a colossal space station, the privileged lord over-populated L.A. with armed robots.

Manufacturing those sentries is a small-time hood Max (Matt Damon), who is accidentally exposed to radiation on the job.

With only days to live, Max must make it to Elysium in order to be healed. But a sadistic agent (Sharlto Copley) of the Secretary of Defense (Jodie Foster) stands in his way.

A blatant commentary on health care in America, Elysium uses class struggle, slick exoskeleton suits and eye-popping effects to deliver its socialist message.

But if Elysium does have one weakness, it is the villain’s annoying voice.

Besides, with the rich in space, we can loot their mansions.

2 Guns

The best way to smuggle drugs out of Mexico is aboard the Corona beer blimp.

Unfortunately, the mules in this action movie went with a car.

Apprehended at the boarder after meeting with a Mexican kingpin Papi (Edward James Olmos), Trench (Denzel Washington) and Stigman (Mark Wahlberg) are taken into custody.

Later it’s revealed Trench is undercover for the DEA, while Stigman is a disgraced Naval officer intent on taking Papi’s money to his commanding officer (James Marsden).

Since the drug deal tanked, Trench backs Stigman’s plan to rob Papi’s bank, and bring him up on laundering charges.

But Trench and Stigman aren’t the only ones keeping secrets.

While the boilerplate plot is predictable, the action is explosive and the curious chemistry between Washington and Wahlberg is classic buddy cop fare.

Furthermore, a dead giveaway that someone is an undercover Navy officer is a severe case of land legs.

Paranoia

The key to being a titan in the tech industry is to create an app that creates apps.

Contritely, the creators in this cyber-thriller concocted a less remarkable product.

Unable to impress his boss, Nicholas Wyatt (Gary Oldman), with a program that allows users to sync their cell phones to nearby television screens, Adam (Liam Hemsworth) is fired.

But after a night out with friends on the company’s credit card, Wyatt blackmails him into infiltrating a competing company, run by Wyatt’s former partner, Goddard (Harrison Ford).

To bypass Goddard’s firewalls, Adam needs to seduce an employee (Amber Heard) to give him the Intel he needs.

A failed study of wireless communications, Paranoia is instead padded with cardboard performances, pointless car chases and a hackneyed hacker subplot.

Furthermore, when you send a 20-something-year-old to go work for your competitor and spy for you, they usually show up late and hung-over.

He’s a Red Tape Dispenser. He’s the…

Vidiot

By Shane Sellar
Photo: STOCK.XCHNG

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