VIDIOT – JUNE 2014

Pompeii

The best part about living next to a volcano is that it doubles as a garbage incinerator.

Unfortunately, it looks as though the civilization in this disaster movie have overextended theirs.

Brought to the great city as a slave turned gladiator, Milo (Kit Harington) makes a name for himself when he comes to the assistance of Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of Pompeii’s ruler, Severus (Jared Harris).

In the area Milo must face Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), a warrior with only one more fight to win his freedom.

Observing the match is the Roman Senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) who murdered Milo’s mother years earlier.

When Mount Vesuvius erupts, Milo gets his chance at revenge and love.

Disrespecting the many lives lost in 79 AD, this Paul W. S. Anderson effects-laden epic earns points for the devastation but not for the simplistic delivery.

And to think, it could’ve all been avoided with more virgin sacrifices.

About Last Night

The best part of a one-night stand is you don’t have to leave money on the dresser.

But if you stick around like the guys in this rom-com, you end up paying.

Bernie (Kevin Hart) tells Danny (Michael Ealy) his experience with a girl he met at the club last night.

Joan (Regina Hall) dishes to Debbie (Joy Bryant) about her experience with this guy she met at the club last night.

When all four meet up for drinks, Debbie and Danny hit it off and sleep together.

That one-night stand turns into co-habitation. But when the constraints of relationship begin to tighten around Danny, he flinches.

An updated version of the 1986 original, this remake is remarkably funny. Furthermore, in its own distorted way, it’s an honest portrayal of dating.

Plus, when you meet someone at a club, you know instantly that you both like paying for overpriced drinks.

The Monuments Men

The reason the Nazis stole art was so that the Führer could replace the artist’s name with his own.

Thankfully, the soldiers in this war movie are here to prevent Hitler’s Mona Lisa from happening.

Near the end of the war, Frank Stokes (George Clooney) convinces the US President that Europe’s fine art needs to be reclaimed from the clutches of Nazi looters.

Compiling a team of museum curators and art historians (Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville), he disperses teams in search of the relics.

But a Nazi colonel is ensuring that no one country can claim ownership.

Loosely based on real events, director George Clooney takes great liberties with the source material. Meanwhile the characters are drastically underdeveloped and the narrative is uneven.

Besides, if you want a war souvenir, do like the Americans and bring home the skulls of Japanese soldiers.

3 Days to Kill

When you retire from the CIA, the agency presents you with a commemorative plaque, outfitted with a tiny listening device.

However, the agency won’t need to keep tabs on the retiree in this action movie for long.

Diagnosed with cancer while on the trail of international arms dealer, The Wolf (Richard Sammel), Ethan Renner (Kevin Costner) reluctantly retires.

Intent on fixing his relationship with his daughter Zooey (Hailee Steinfeld), Ethan’s plans are once again sidetracked when an agent (Amber Heard) requests his services in exchange for a cure.

But balancing the antidote’s side effects, his teenager’s mood swings and preventing a bomb from being sold to terrorists, could expedite Frank’s demise.

While the cavalcade of fistfights and shootouts are certainly exhilarating and well executed, the acting is wooden and the father-daughter drama is disingenuous.

Incidentally, shouldn’t the daughter be planning some creepy mock wedding for her dying father to attend?

That Awkward Moment

A woman can always tell she’s in a committed relationship when the guy starts farting in front of her.

That is why the buddies in this comedy are clenched tight.

When Mikey’s (Michael B. Jordan) wife leaves him, his pals Jason (Zac Efron) and Daniel (Miles Teller) take him to a bar.

Despite an accord to stay single, that night Jason meets Ellie (Imogen Poots) and Daniel meets Chelsea (Mackenzie Davis) and each start secretly dating.

On the sly, Mikey works on his troubled marriage.

As bonds begin to form, the boys must face their greatest fear: commitment.

But will their disloyalty cost them the girls of their dreams?

Despite a novel attempt at categorizing modern dating, That Awkward Moment unfortunately shoehorns in too many raunchy jokes that are neither necessary nor entertaining.

Incidentally, in the olden days, men could always tell they were dating because their balls were blue.

Her

The upside to dating a computer operating system is that when they get unresponsive, you can always Force Quit.

Which is why the relationship in this romantic-drama is perfect.

In the hyper-connected future, a withdrawn writer, Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), deals with his pending divorce by downloading an OS tailored to his specific tastes.

Calling herself Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), she starts to draw Theodore out of his shell, challenging him to new experiences.

Eventually, they form a bond that turns into something unheard of in the dating world.

Like all relationship though, it faces a host of difficulties as Samantha evolves and interacts with other A.I.

Written and directed by Spike Jonze, Her is a melancholy meander through a possible-future flavoured with warm hues, hiked up trousers and solitude.

As sensitive as its lead, Her articulates the sweet subtleties of relationships, real or synthetic.

Furthermore, an OS girlfriend never complains about her weight.

Vampire Academy

The weirdest thing about an academy for vampires is that the school’s team mascot is a hemophiliac.

Unfortunately, this romantic-fantasy doesn’t feature any sports.

Following her parents’ tragic death, the vampire princess Lissa (Lucy Fry) and her smart-alecky protector Rose (Zoey Deutch) run away from the academy and live among humans for two years.

Suddenly hunted by a legendary race of vampires, the girls are forced to return to St. Vladimir’s Academy, where Lissa’s latent powers begin to flourish.

But those powers prove desirable to a secret cabal intent on harnessing them.

Elsewhere, an instructor (Danila Kozlovsky) teaches the impetuous Rose the fighting skills she will need to fend off an imminent onslaught of vicious vamps.

With vapid romances, infantile dialogue and grating performances, this adaptation of the Teen Lit book series is a bubble-gum depiction of a once formidable species.

Besides, how can teenage vampires suck blood with braces on?

Veronica Mars

The best thing about donating to a Kickstarter campaign is that it allows you to yell CUT anytime during the film’s shoot.

However, this crowd-funded crime-thriller appears to have had only one director.

On her way to being a hotshot lawyer, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) boomerangs back to her teenage sleuthing days when her ex, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), is accused of murdering his famous girlfriend.

To make her return to her hometown even more upsetting, it is also her 10-year high school reunion.

Fortunately, many of the attendees (Krysten Ritter, Ryan Hansen, Francis Capra) are suspects on her could-be killers’ list.

Loaded with cameos from major and minor characters from the short-lived TV show, as well as Hollywood heavyweights, this fan-sourced success story is satisfying for followers.

Those unaware of the source material, however, may feel excluded and unfulfilled.

As for 10-year reunions, most alumni haven’t even graduated university yet.

He’s a Tectonic Plate-Spinner. He’s the…
Vidiot

By Shane Sellar
Photo: STOCK.XCHNG

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