Today, here are quick mini-reviews for: The Counselor and Bad Grandpa.
Enjoy the reviews…they’re better than the movies were, that’s for sure!
Directed by: Ridley Scott (American Gangster, Blade Runner)
Starring: Michael Fassbender (Prometheus), Cameron Diaz (Gangs of New York), Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) and more.
Rating: Rated R for strong violence, language, drug usage and strong sexual content
Synopsis: “Legendary filmmaker Ridley Scott and Pulitzer Prize winning author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men) have joined forces in the motion picture thriller THE COUNSELOR, starring Michael Fassbender, Penélope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt. McCarthy, making his screenwriting debut and Scott interweave the author’s characteristic wit and dark humor with a nightmarish scenario, in which a respected lawyer’s one-time dalliance with an illegal business deal spirals out of control.”
This film’s tagline: “Have you been bad?” is a question that director Ridley Scott should answer with the word “Yes.” He owes the viewers of this film an apology. Written by screenplay author Cormac McCarthy who also wrote the novels No Country for Old Men, The Road and All the Pretty Horses, “The Counselor” falls short in comparison. This latest film penned by McCarthy plays out in a style very similar to that of a Coen bros film, but lacks the type of continued attraction, storytelling and intrigue expected from a movie shown in such fashion.
Heavy in dialogue and lengthy philosophical soliloquies that may rival that of Shakespeare’s, Ridley Scott’s “The Counselor” is full of lines of litigation but is light in linear storytelling. Drug cartels, diamonds, death and dubious deeds fill up the screen but add little to the overall story and performances in this film that seemingly has no end and no directly divulged plot. A diverse mix of experienced acting talent, including Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt and more, “The Counselor” has too many unimportant characters and not enough important scenes. Its serious tone and psychological/ethical scenarios get lost amid the scenes of unrealistic sentences of dialogue and debate that in and of themselves would sustain any courtroom for years.
“The Counselor” does contain a few things worth mentioning such as Javier Bardem’s entertaining performance. A film should have both characters and scenes that are memorable at times that contribute to the film as a whole. The only things it seems, however, that people are remembering from this film in reviews I have skimmed are the motorcycle scene, (other scenes not mentioned here due to spoilers), Javier Bardem’s crazy hair and Cameron Diaz’s scene of having sex with a Ferrari (yes, you read that correctly…WITH not IN).
No one really talks about the story development…and that’s because even though it does exist but it doesn’t live throughout the movie and is confusedly thrown in among the crazy numerous characters to follow. So, in a way, one must choose: Follow the characters or follow the story.
The film, rated R for strong violence, language and strong sexuality, deals with the consequences of choices made and the severity of foolishly straddling the fence of indecision. Unfortunately, it goes about telling its moral the wrong and long way.
As most Ridley Scott films do, “The Counselor” begs a second viewing for deeper understanding, but to sit through it a second time…I have little defense to offer for it. Take this wise (and free) counsel and leave this Counselor alone.
SCORE: (1.5/5 stars)
Directed by: Jeff Tremaine (Jackass)
Starring: Johnny Knoxville (The Ringer), Jackson Nicoll (Fun Size) and more.
Rating: R for “strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, some graphic nudity and brief drug use.” -imdb
Trailer: Click HERE
Synopsis: “86 year-old Irving Zisman is on a journey across America with the most unlikely companions, his 8 year-old Grandson Billy in “Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa”. This October, the signature Jackass character Irving Zisman (Johnny Knoxville) and Billy (Jackson Nicholl) will take movie audiences along for the most insane hidden camera road trip ever captured on camera.
Along the way Irving will introduce the young and impressionable Billy to people, places and situations that give new meaning to the term childrearing. The duo will encounter male strippers, disgruntled child beauty pageant contestants (and their equally disgruntled mothers), funeral home mourners, biker bar patrons and a whole lot of unsuspecting citizens.
Real people in unreal situations, making for one really messed up comedy.”
There are rare moments when I will tell someone to listen to Rotten Tomatoes and their scores they give movies. This is NOT one of those moments. Currently scored a 62% on RT, this is one of the proofs that RT is not to be trusted.
Bringing one of my favorite skits from the original Jackass movie to a full-length feature made me curious, but you know what they say about curiosity and the cat. Bad Grandpa is just bad. Mixing prank shenanigans with a narrative story makes this film both annoying, questionable and redundant in (1) realizing that it isn’t real-life scenario, (2) uncertainty whether to take the narrative seriously or not and (3) nothing really happening and, yet, it’s okay…maybe(??).
I cracked a smile twice in this film (my laugh button wasn’t broken, promise! I wanted to laugh), but sat bored and without laughing as the entire theater of 20-somethings surrounded me with laughter at everything they had already seen in the trailer or in previous Jackass movies. This film ventures to be different but its shallow attempt is far from anything worth recommending. Knoxville and Nicholl do make a good team of prankster preying on innocent unsuspecting bystanders, but the movie, the characters, the comedy, the plot…it’s all stale. Excuse me…it’s all BAD like the grandpa himself.
Expect crude and adult humor. Expect cheap tricks and hidden camera pranks. Expect the audience around you to be laughing and crying out in disgust hungry for more. But expect it to be bad, its story to be bad, its purpose to be bad and its fulfillment of laughter to be bad. Bad Grandpa is Bad. Save your money.
Bad Grandpa (Score: 0.5/5)
(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)
Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!
–T, The Focused Filmographer
up next: Finally, my delayed final recap of the White Sands International Film Festival!