Movie Review: American Ultra (2015)

Running time: 96 minutes

Director: Nourizadeh Nima

american_ultra_movie_2-wideReteaming after 2009’s Adventureland, Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart play a couple of stoners from West Virginia in the last movie by Project X’s director. Mike works at the local convenience store and is head-over-heels in love with his girlfriend Phoebe. He surprises her with a trip to Hawaii where he is planning to propose to her. However, every time he tries to leave town, Mike gets sick with panick attacks and this time is no exception, forcing the young couple to return home and miss their holidays, which, despite the amazing chemistry between Stewart and Eisenberg, raises the question to what is Phoebe doing with a guy like this.

It turns out that this is all due to the fact that Mike is actually a sleeping agent, programmed to get sick whenever he tries to leave town. Now, CIA agent, Adrien Yates (Topher Grace) is planning to shut down the program and eliminate Mike. Against this measure, Victoria (Connie Britton), the head of the Ultra program, visits Mike at his work station and speaks to him in code making no apparent impact on Mike. What he doesn’t know is that Victoria’s random words have activated him and to his surprise he is able to take down the two agents sent by Yates to kill him using just a spoon and the soup he was about to eat.

trailerA freaked-out Mike, calls Phoebe to tell her the extraordinary and horrifying thing that has just happened and when she arrives to the crime scene, they are both arrested. From here they have to keep finding unimaginable ways to survive as Yates is still determinate to kill Mike. It is strange to see Jesse Eisenberg in a role where he is not the smartest person in the room but somehow Mike seems to be a perfect fit for him. I know not everyone is a fan of him but he actually brings a lot of charm to the role. As for Kristen Stewart, we can’t keep bringing up Twilight and Snow White because in the last few years she has proved to be above that and has been really good in her recent work. I didn’t think the twist with her character entirely worked though, but that had nothing to do with her portrayal.

American Ultra is a messy movie that embraces the weirdness and doesn’t expect to be taken seriously. It starts very strong, balancing well the comedy and the extreme violence, and has some great moments throughout but unfortunately deflates as the movie progresses. We spend the whole movie waiting to see Mike’s full potential and when he finally does, the movie ends and is replaced by a cartoon, so we never get to see him being a 100% badass, which is a wasted opportunity.

6/10

This Week’s Movie News (8-13 sep)

Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor look?

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Last weekend a fan posted a picture with Jesse Eisenberg where we can see him with a very different hair style. His iconic curls are gone, his hair is shorter and straight and you can even see that is dyed red. Jesse Eisenberg is in the middle of filming Batman v Superman so does this mean this is the look Lex Luthor will have in the movie? I know everyone was expecting a shaved hair and some people are even suggesting that it could be a toupee, but in the comics, before Lex Luthor loses his hair, he had red hair. Maybe in the movie they will show how he loses his hair?

No Iron Man 4

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In an interview with Variety, Robert Downey Jr, confirmed that there are no plans for a fourth Iron Man movie. The actor signed with Marvel and Disney for two ‘Avengers’ sequels (Age of Ultron and the third one) when his contract run out but didn’t commit to any further solo films.

I found really interesting that he also mentioned that if Tony Stark were to be recast in the future he could be the one to choose his successor.

Orlando Bloom is open to return to Pirates of the Caribbean 5

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While attending the Oz Comic Con, Orlando Bloom told Yahoo! Movies the following:

“There have certainly been some discussions about it and I’m open to it. That whole experience working with Johnny and (director) Gore (Verbinski) was really amazing for me. I had a great time working with Johnny, one of the reasons I jumped at the opportunity was because Johnny was involved. I was such a massive fan of Johnny Depp growing up so to get up close and personal to Johnny and see how he worked as an actor was just a massive gift.”

Returning to a franchise has already worked for Orlando Bloom with The Hobbit where he reprises his role of Legolas from the Lord of the Rings, but now that the Peter Jackson franchise is coming to an end and given that Orlando’s career outside these blockbusters haven’t been very successful, is it a good idea for him to return? And more importantly, are you excited about seeing Will Turner again on-screen?

Katniss’ Final Poster

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We had a tease of this last week with a poster that only showed Katniss’ back but finally the actual poster is here. I love everything about this, the costume and specially how by standing in front of the mockingjay symbol it makes it look like her own wings.

And there’s more exciting news about Mockingjay Part 1, the official trailer of the film will be released tomorrow!

Zach Snyder shows the new Batmobile

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After a fan posted several pictures of the Batmobile from the set of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, director Zach Snyder, not very happy about it, decided to release his own photo on Twitter, definitely making it look more spectacular than the leaked ones did.

Movie Review: Now You See Me (2013)

Title: Now You See Me

Running time: 115 minutes

Director: Louis Leterrier

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman

Summary: An FBI agent and an Interpol detective track a team of illusionists who pull off bank heists during their performances and reward their audiences with the money.

NOW YOU SEE ME

I have just read in an interview with Dave Franco that the sequel for Now You See Me is scheduled to start filming at the end of the year with the main cast coming back and it made me so excited. Don’t get me wrong, this is far from a perfect movie. If you’re expecting a story that will completely make sense at the end or seem realistic, this is not what you are looking for. Still, it’s so entertaining. It keeps you engaged and so invested in the story and the characters that you let all of these problems go and enjoy the film for what it is.

One of the aspects that make it so good is the fantastic chemistry between the group of magicians, the Four Horsemen. It actually resembles a bit the dynamic in The Avengers, a group of solitary people (some of them with great egos) forced to work together for a greater cause. J. Daniel Atlas, the street magician, is played by Jesse Eisenberg, who finally has the chance to play an arrogant and confident leader and he is so good at it. Isla Fisher is amazing as Henley Reeves, the escapist, and Danny’s former assistant. The relation between the two of them worked really well. Woody Harrelson, as Merritt McKinney, the mentalist, had some great comedy moments. And last, the pickpocket, Jack Wilder, is played by Dave Franco, who probably was the one with less to do but had a phenomenal action sequence.

Mark Ruffalo as the FBI agent Dylan Rhodes was very interesting, though Melanie Laurent’s, Alma Dray, sometimes felt more like a necessity for us to understand Dylan than being an engaging character. But the movie counts with two outstanding supporting actors: Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine and it’s great to see them going against each other.

The twist at the end is a bit easy, nothing really leads up to it throughout the movie and it was clearly meant to be an unexpected surprise. Some of the tricks are quite unbelievable and are obviously done with CGI. There’s not a lot of character development and I hope that in the sequel they will focus a bit more in telling parts of their back stories.

At the end, Now You See Me may not be at the level of, for example, the Ocean’s trilogy, but has some unique elements to it that makes it a fascinating and exciting ride.

8,5/10