By Shane Sellar
The first thing you should do after learning that you’re going to prison is purchase every soap-on-a-rope you can find.
The fresh fish in this comedy, however, has hired a mentor.
When well-to-do James (Will Ferrell) is convicted of embezzlement, he employs his car washer, Darnell (Kevin Hart), to edify him on the ins and outs of the penal system.
Going along with James’ assumption that he has served time, Darnell agrees to mentor him in exchange for $30,000.
Over the next 30 days, Darnell exposes James to prison-life situations that he gleaned from pop culture. James laps these lessons up until he learns Darnell lacks credentials.
With every joke revolving around jailhouse sex or racial stereotypes, Get Hard has a hard time getting beyond its puerile mindset, making the laughs sporadic at best.
Incidentally, white-collar penitentiaries are worse because all rich, old, white dudes are on Viagra.
Occupations involving guns can be very dangerous if the workers ever go on strike.
Fortunately, the armed employee in this thriller isn’t likely to picket any time soon.
Returning to the Congo years after he assassinated a high-ranking official and went into hiding, former mercenary sniper Terrier (Sean Penn) now finds himself in the crosshairs of similar soldiers of fortune.
To find out who leaked his identity, Terrier must contact everyone involved in the original hit, including his girlfriend at the time (Jasmine Trinca).
Also plaguing Terrier is news that his job has left him with numerous health issues.
Treading familiar territory with heavy footsteps, this middle-aged merc tale has loads of action but little story line beyond its boilerplate plot points.
Even the star-crossed romance feels passionless and pointless amid the barrage of endless bullets and fisticuffs.
Statistically, most hit men don’t make it out of their retirement parties alive.
The hardest part of living in The Old West must’ve been all of those film crews shooting Westerns.
Luckily, the only film crew in this Western is the one shooting this Western.
Following his true love Rose (Caren Pistorius) over from Scotland, teenage aristocrat Jay (Kodi Smit-McPhee) tries to make his way in the American Frontier.
Fortunately, he finds a guide in the form of a wanted man (Michael Fassbender) who agrees to mentor him in the ways of the west and help him find his sweetheart, for a price.
Unbeknownst to Jay, a bounty hunter (Ben Mendelsohn) is also after Rose, along with a number of other bounty hungry gunslingers.
An unrequited love story with spurts of violence and a cinematic landscape, Slow West paints a harsh but humorous portrait of the fabled frontier despite its underdeveloped characters.
Historically, however, all kilt-wearing Scotsmen were sought by the law for cross-dressing.
The upside to a robotic workforce is no more mandatory birthday cake in the break room.
Mind you, the emotional automaton in this sci-fi movie would actually enjoy the awkward ritual.
Forbidden by his boss (Sigourney Weaver) from testing his experimental A.I. on a new police robot, Dion (Dev Patel) steals an injured one, CHAPPiE (Sharlto Copley), in hopes of installing it with human emotions.
But an indebted gang (Ninja, Yolandi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo) wants to use the freshly sentient being to do its bidding, which includes robbery and murder.
Meanwhile, a competing designer (Hugh Jackman) plans to cripple Dion’s design and introduce a more menacing enforcer to the market.
While the special effects and action sequences can be impressive, the script is too ambitious with too many sub-plots, while the entire cast is visually unappealing and audibly annoying.
Besides, having robot cops would devastate the entire doughnut industry.
The Lazarus Effect
The downside to returning from the dead is having to pay off all your lavish funeral expenses.
However, the resuscitated individual in this horror movie is more interested in other people’s funeral arrangements.
Forbidden by the dean of their university from continuing on with their animal trails involving a Lazarus formula, Frank (Mark Duplass) and his fiancée, Zoe (Olivia Wilde), carry on in private.
But when a lab accident leaves Zoe dead, Frank decides to use the drug on her, with their friends (Donald Glover, Evan Peters, Sarah Bolger) barring witnesses to her resurrection.
Back from the dead, Zoe uses her newly developed powers of telekinesis and super-strength to murder her lab partners.
Lacking any substantial scares beyond the standard startles in dimly lit rooms, The Lazarus Effect is a poorly conceived thriller with a predictable and pointless existence.
Incidentally, once in the ground you do have 30 days to return your coffin.
Run All Night
The worst thing about your father being a mob enforcer is his constantly threatening you to throw your little league games.
Thankfully, the father and son in this thriller have grown up and become estranged.
When his son, Mike (Joel Kinnaman), witnesses the son of his boss, Shawn (Ed Harris), murder two drug-dealers, Jimmy (Liam Neeson) comes to his aid, but ends up killing Shawn’s son when he comes back to silence Mike.
Hunted by a hit man (Common) hired by Shawn, the two evade his bullets while trying to amass evidence on Mike’s innocence.
With Neeson serving as the tormented tough guy once again, Run All Night has the same demeanor of all his other head-busting roles as of late.
Furthermore, the acquainted script and archaic action never exceeds mediocrity.
On the bright side, when your dad’s an enforcer the hammer department is the only place you need to shop for Father’s Day.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
The hardest part of being British secret service is not getting swept up in the royal baby excitement.
Thankfully, there’s a genocidal maniac in this action movie to keep operatives occupied.
Recruited by Galahad (Colin Firth) to test for the Lancelot position on an Arthurian inspired spy ring, street-thug Eggsy (Taron Egerton) quickly proves he’s not the ideal candidate.
But when a dotcom genius (Samuel L. Jackson) divides the agency and unleashes a device that drives users into a homicidal rage, Eggsy and the remaining agents are the only ones left who can stop him.
A stylish send-up of the well-worn British spy-genre – including the stereotypical gadgets and idiosyncratic villain – this good-humoured adaption of the graphic novel may deviate from its source material, but its eye-popping action and sly script more than compensate.
Strangely, I always assumed British secret service just took assassin bullets intended for the Queen’s corgis.
When travelling through time be sure to tell your pre-Internet self to start coming up with passwords for the future that contain an upper-case letter, number and special character.
Unfortunately, when the time-travellers in this sci-fi movie meet themselves, they disappear.
Combining discarded apparatus his inventor father designed for the military with some household items of his own, MIT student David (Jonny Weston) constructs a time machine.
Naturally, he uses it to head back in time with his sister (Virginia Gardner) and two friends (Allen Evangelista, Sam Lerner) to change their current existence for the better.
But their constant meddling with the time stream soon has dire consequences on their present.
With its found-footage premise serving as its only innovative – albeit nauseating – idea, this predictable MTV produced pap is a less-than-forgettable entry in to the paradoxical sub-genre.
Incidentally, statistics say that most teenage males will crash their first time machine.
The best way to catch a pickpocket is to fill your pockets with Krazy Glue.
Unfortunately, the cutpurses in this dramedy are too quick for the adhesive properties.
When a green grifter, Jess (Margot Robbie), fails to swindle a veteran conman, Nicky (Will Smith), he takes her under his wing – and into his bed.
Introduced to his associates, Jess uses her allure to distract marks while Nicky’s crew steals their valuables.
But when Nicky uses Jess in a con without her knowledge, the pair part ways. That is until a motorsport scam Nicky is working on reunites them.
Part love story, part comedy and part caper, Focus has a hard time focusing on what it wants to be.
And while the dialogue is snappy, the decisive con is painfully obvious from the get-go.
Incidentally, if a stranger’s hand lingers in your pocket, you’re not being robbed – you’re being molested.
The best thing about going to a witch burning is the crone- flavoured s’mores everyone gets to enjoy afterwards.
Unfortunately, the townsfolk in this fantasy will have to put their bonfire on hold.
Empowered by the approaching Blood Moon, sorceress supreme Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) is freed from the confines of a grizzled knight, Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges), killing his apprentice during her escape.
Tasked with recapturing Malkin before her newfound powers enslave humanity, Gregory must first recruit a replacement apprentice to aid him on this quest.
While legend dictates it to be the seventh son (Ben Barnes) of a seventh son, Gregory truly doubts his new pupil’s witch-hunter abilities.
With a derivative mentor/mentee adventure script, a baffling accent from Bridges, and too many awkward-looking creature designs to mention, this adaption of the YA book series is embarrassingly outdated and insipid.
Besides, the only apprentice an armoured knight needs is WD-40.
He’s a Co-Captain of Industry. He’s the…