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Vidiot: January 2016

Saturday 09th, January 2016 / 15:50
By Shane Sellar

Black Mass

The Irish make the worst bootleggers because they drink all the moonshine before it can be sold.

Thankfully, the felons in this drama are more partial to racketeering.

As a means of eliminating his Italian adversaries, south Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger (Johnny Depp) becomes an FBI informant for his office-bearing brother’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) childhood friend John Connolly (Joel Edgerton).

With his newfound federal protection Whitney strengthens his stranglehold on the city. But a pertinacious prosecutor, Fred Wyshak (Corey Stoll), refuses to let him get away with this, or ignore Connolly’s obvious corruption.

While Depp turns in an intimidating – and potentially award-winning – performance as the mad dog assassin, his true-to-life exploits don’t come off as intense or as grandiose as the filmmakers would have you believe.

Incidentally, the best way to kill your Sicilian rivals is to hold a Godfather screening, then firebomb the theatre.

Pan

The worst thing about being young forever is all of your lovers eventually become sex offenders.

Fortunately, the immortal in this fantasy is technically still a mortal.

Spirited away to Neverland on a pirate ship belonging to Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), reluctant orphan Peter (Levi Miller) hopes to find his mother (Amanda Seyfried) in the mystical realm.

Instead, he becomes a slave in Blackbeard’s fairy-dust mine where he befriends a young Captain Hook (Garrett Hedlund), who helps him escape.

Fearful of a prophecy foretelling a flying boy who will overthrow him, Blackbeard vows to vanquish Peter before he learns his true ancestry.

The overblown origin story of author J. M. Barrie’s beloved Lost Boy, this gaudy green-screened 3-D extravaganza exploits modern fantasy movies for its expected exposition, while its characterization of a benevolent Hook lacks plausibility.

Mind you, telling orphans they can fly might free up some beds at the old orphanage.

Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation

Intelligence agencies have a tendency to take their Secret Santa way too serious.

Thankfully, the spies in this action movie are preoccupied with more pressing matters.

While trying to prove that a clandestine confederation of international crooks called the Syndicate does exist, IMF operative Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) ends up being framed for the murder of an Austrian official.

Now on the lam, Ethan recruits his trusted team (Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames) and a Syndicate defector (Rebecca Ferguson) to recover a flash drive containing the names of those involved in the consortium.

Sticking with the high-octane formula of white-knuckle excitement and unexpected intrigue that has made the Mission: Impossible franchise so successful, this fifth instalment of the series based on the ‘60s spy show ups the acting ante with its female addition.

Unfortunately, in reality, most flash drives simply contain vacation photos that need to be printed off at Walmart. 

Fantastic Four

The worst part of being on a superhero team with your family is every holiday you get off you have to spend with them.

And yes, as this sci-fi movie confirms, even if you are related through adoption.

Teenage tinkerer Reed (Miles Teller) creates a teleporter that attracts the eye of a government scientist (Reg E. Cathey) and his adopted daughter (Kate Mara).

Together with Sue’s brother (Michael B. Jordan), Reed’s friend (Jamie Bell), and another inventor (Toby Kebbell), they travel to a parallel world and return with powers of elasticity, combustion, invisibility, telekinesis and impenetrable exoskeleton.

Loosely inspired by Marvel’s first family, this regretful reboot lacks lucidity. The comic’s congenial tone is as absent as the chemistry between Reed and Sue as well as The Thing’s pants.

Disjointed continuity aside, the overwrought acting is the real atrocity.

Besides, super-powered scientists only want to use their abilities to collect empirical data faster.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

The worst thing about a dystopian future is that all online dating profiles will be that of cannibals.

What’s more, the scary singles in sci-fi movie are also contagious.

After escaping from the maze, Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) and the others from the Glades (Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario, Ki Hong Lee) find themselves in a government facility protecting them from the virus and the infected outside.

Thomas doubts their host’s intentions and soon formulates an escape plan that will lead them to the Right Arm (Lili Taylor, Barry Pepper), resistance fighters in the mountains.

Despite a few twists, this second chapter of the Maze Runner doesn’t match its predecessor’s intrigue.

Reduced to derivative anti-government drivel like its contemporaries, Scorch Trials’ cliffhanger ending is hopefully not a continuance of this played out parable.

Mind you, it’s comforting to know that in a post-apocalyptic world survivors can look forward to a government pension.

Ted 2

If factory-made toy bears could speak they’d probably communicate in their native tongue: Mandarin.

But for some reason the talkative Teddy in this comedy has a Boston accent.

While John (Mark Wahlberg) is ready and willing to donate his sperm so his sentient stuffed animal friend Ted (Seth MacFarlane) can have a child with his wife, the U.S. government won’t allow this until Ted’s lawyer (Amanda Seyfried) can prove he is a complex being with human emotions.

Meanwhile, Ted’s archenemy (Giovanni Ribisi) partners with a toy magnate to mass-produce the magical bear but first they must dissect him.

The unnecessary and uncertain sequel to the grossly overrated original, Ted 2 tries too hard to substantiate its benevolence and obvious liberal stance with viewers, while trying too little to construct jokes that aren’t racist, sexist or downright repugnant.

In other sociopolitical toy news: Dora and Diego have just been deported.

Ant-Man

The best thing about being a shrinking superhero is that when the fighting starts you can just disappear.

Thankfully, the pocket-sized protector in this sci-fi movie isn’t as gutless.

Kindhearted ex-con Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) agrees to help his ex-cellie Luis (Michael Peña) break-in to a vault, but instead of riches he uncovers a suit that allows its user to shrink down and commune with ants.

However, the designer – ex-S.H.E.I.L.D. scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) – and his daughter (Evangeline Lilly) want to teach Scott how to use the get-up so he can stop Pym’s protégée Yellowjacket (Corey Stoll) from selling the technology to HYDRA.

With astounding action and periodical romance, this origin story shatters any preconceived notions you may have had of Marvel’s C-list Avenger. More hilarious crime caper than caped crusader, Ant-Man’s shortcomings are lost in Rudd’s unconventional charisma.

Mind you, shouldn’t Ant-Man’s archenemy technically be Uncle-Woman?

Minions

Supervillains looking to save money should consider Home Depot day labourers as their henchmen.

Inversely, the underlings in this animated comedy are looking for a supervillain to serve.

Since the dawn of time the diminutive and dimwitted race of yellow beings called Minions have searched for a malevolent mastermind to blindly follow, from T-Rex and Napoleon to Dracula.

It’s not until Minions Kevin, Stuart and Bob (Pierre Coffin) venture to an evildoer convention do they find a worthy wrongdoer in Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), who needs the trio to help pilfer the Queen of England’s crown so that she can ascend to the throne.

Although they were tolerable in small doses during the Despicable Me movies, this mind-numbing Minions-centric spin-off finds the pint-sized sycophants’ brand of annoying gibberish finally wearing out its welcome, along with their infantile antics.

Surprisingly, henchmen healthcare doesn’t cover injuries sustained from faulty BAM or POW signs.

Knock, Knock

When young women appear on your doorstep it usually means your online luring has worked.

Oddly, the family man in this thriller hasn’t been to any online chat rooms lately.

Happily married Evan (Keanu Reeves) stays home to nurse his injured shoulder while his wife (Ignacia Allamand) and children go to the beach for the weekend.

His recuperation, however, is interrupted by a knock at the door that later finds him playing host to soaking wet airline stewardesses, Genesis (Lorenza Izzo) and Bel (Ana de Armas), who got lost on their way to a party.

Evan is easily seduced. He wakes the next morning to find the girls have taken him hostage, and are vandalizing his home.

Featuring Keanu’s worst performance ever, this erotic cautionary tale fails to be the feminist thinkpiece it hopes to be. Instead it’s a far-fetched and laughable remake.

Besides, morning-after breakfast gets really expensive with threesomes.

Amy

Jazz musicians do drugs so it appears there are more people in the audience than there are.

Mind you, the chanteuse in this documentary could sell out any basement nightclub.

Encouraged by her friends (Juliette Ashby, Lauren Gilbert, Nick Shymanksy) to record what would eventually become her debut album, Amy Winehouse finally harnessed her self-destructive nature for something good.

It wasn’t until her sophomore album became a juggernaut that her dependency on drugs and alcohol, and her life-long battle with bulimia, came to a head.

Thanks to home recordings, TV appearances and interviews with her ex-husband (Blake Fielder) and contemporaries (Tony Bennett, Mos Def, Pete Doherty), Amy is a comprehensive catalogue of the crooner’s meteoric rise and fall.

Putting a human face on the much-maligned songstress, Amy helps fans fully understand their idol’s intimate lyrics and erratic actions.

Also, this is why safe heroin use should be taught to high-school jazz bands.

Mistress America

The best part of having a stepsibling is getting all those new hand-me-downs for your wardrobe.

But its more than old blouses the potential relation in this comedy wants from her new sister.

Having a hard time at college, especially the campus literary club, hopeful writer Tracy (Lola Kirke) takes her mother’s advice and calls on her soon-to-be older stepsister Brooke (Greta Gerwig), an eccentric who also lives in New York City.

The two hit it off, sharing an interest in music, literature and endless introspection. So much so Tracy writes a short story about Brooke, which Brooke later takes offense to.

The madcap escapades of a self-important socialite and her naïve ingénue, this kooky coming-of-age tale takes a highbrow approach to its comicality that could be lost on the layperson, but relished by bohemians and intellectuals alike.

Furthermore, eccentric relatives always introduce you to the most interesting imaginary people.

He’s a Dream Catcher and Releaser. He’s the…
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