Talk about a massive miscalculation. When Paramount decided to make a sequel to G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, they jettisoned most of the cast and reduced Channing Tatum’s presence drastically. The sequel, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, was ready to release last summer until something unexpected happened: Channing Tatum became a box office draw, thanks to The Vow, 21 Jump Street and Magic Mike.
Under the guise of a post-production 3D conversion, Paramount pushed the film back to March to add in a little more Channing Tatum. They may have been better off adding in a lot more. The opening scenes show some promise with some homoerotic tension between Tatum and Dwayne Johnson that makes the film far more interesting than the majority of the rest of the cast can muster (save for an over-the-top, highly entertaining turn from Jonathan Pryce). That includes an extremely phoned-in performance from Bruce Willis, who’s also coming off a lackluster turn in the latest Die Hard film. Hopefully he’s saving the good stuff for Red 2.
Otherwise, this film is pretty much exactly what you’d expect: lots of big, dumbed down action sequences surrounding a ridiculous crisis. In this case, it’s the threat of nuclear disarmament. Yes, you read that right. If you’re a fan of action sequences over character development, decent acting, or storylines without plot holes the size of The Rock’s muscles, then this is the film for you. Otherwise, move along.
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Elle Fanning’s quickly outpacing sister Dakota as the Fanning child to watch, and Ginger & Rosa is the most potent example of Elle’s abilities yet. 13-year-old Elle plays Ginger, a 17-year-old girl whose life is turned upside down in 1960s London as the threat of nuclear war looms. Ginger’s best friend, Rosa, is growing apart from her, while her parents also drift apart from each other. The film is unfortunately serviced by a subpar script, which wallows in vague melodrama.
With the Twilight series tapped out, Hollywood turns to Stephenie Meyer’s other hit book, The Host, for a shot at box office success. For all the criticism lobbed at Twilight and its sequels, though, none of the films in that series are as inane as The Host. The story is about the invasion of Earth by an alien race called Souls (how original); the Souls are implanted into human bodies, with small pockets of people making up a resistance movement. There is one area where the film has a leg up on the Twilight films: the unintentional humor derived from idiotic incidents. Otherwise, it’s a chore of a film.