Greetings! Have you ever wondered if a movie's worth blowing the money on to see at the theater or what to add next to your NetFlix queue? Then you've come to the right place! Enjoy!

"Parker" Review

While Donald Westlake's Parker character (appearing in 24 novels) has been portrayed in films like Point Blank and Payback (where Mel Gibson was "Porter"), the Jason Statham-starring Parker is the first time the man has been named, not that it makes a difference in this bland, generic caper-revenge flick.

Statham is a part of a crew who pull of a million-dollar heist of the Ohio State Fair, but as they make their getaway one of the crew played by Michael Chiklis announces that he needs the whole take as seed money for a Really Big Score he's got planned. Parker doesn't want anything but his share as per the arrangement (Statham always sticks the the deal donchaknow?), so the rest of the gang shoot him and leave him for dead on the side of the road. He's found by a family of farmers and and taken to the hospital where he survives (duh) and sets out on the revenge path.

He beats the info out of others that they're in Palm Beach, FL and posing as a Texas oil man, gets a tour of the neighborhood from real estate agent Jennifer Lopez, who is struggling with bills and on the verge of her car being repossessed.

OK, now it's 3-1/2 months later and I'm trying to clear the backlog of un- and half-finished reviews and I frankly can't remember where I was going with this review which pretty much says it all, doesn't it? Staham gets one really brutal fight; J.Lo is OK in a role that's beneath her; and I recall there was something inexplicable involving her mother which didn't make much, aw, who cares?

Score: 3/10. Skip it.

"Metallica: Through The Never" IMAX 3D Experience Review

I was a latecomer to Metallica, starting to listen to them after hearing everyone raving about Master of Puppets (I was ahead of herds who hopped on with "One" and "Enter Sandman"), but their post-Black Album material hasn't interested me which means I've been ambivalent about them for over 20 years. I saw them on their ...And Justice For All and Black Album tours and they were great shows, but I haven't even watched my DVD of Some Kind of Monster and I've had it a few years.

So when I heard they were releasing Metallica: Through The Never, a 3D IMAX Experience concert film, my pulse remained unchanged. I read a review that was laudatory and while it moved the interest needle a hair, I wasn't sure I'd go to the screening until an hour before its start time because it was a bit of a drive and I was still meh at the prospect.

Hoo boy, I'm glad I went.

After Avatar, Hollywood when on a rampage seeking to make (and mostly convert) movies to 3D in order to cash in on the higher ticket prices and many of these movies have been shoddy, half-assed in their composition and conversion, and as a result the share of tickets sold in 3D are declining. They did it to themselves, but if there is something that could make a good testimonial to how useful 3D can be, it's Metallica: Through The Never.

Director Nimrod Antel (Predators) gets the cameras right into the band's faces and cleverly shot five shows allowing for intercutting between nights in order to get the best shots. (I figured this out quickly when a Steadicam operator with his massive Cameron-Pace 3D camera rig - which is TWO cameras with a prism - would be visible shooting close-ups in long shots only to disappear from his position when cutting to another angle with that spot in view.) The depth and clarity is stunning and frankly better than a front-row seat would provide. The audio is immaculate and the band is on fire throughout. Unless you have a really awesome home theater, anyone not seeing this in a proper theater isn't getting the full effect.

Using a dopey "story" frame involving a roadie named Trip (Dane DeHaan from Chronicle and the new Harry Osbourne in The Amazing Spider-Man 2) on a mission to retrieve a bag from an out-of-gas truck in a deserted nameless city (it's Vancouver) overrun by bizarre denizens and monsters, what the film is mostly (thankfully) is a condensed version of a headbanging show by the band as they perform 16 songs, all but three from their good era (i.e. Kill 'Em All through Black Album), as if even they realize they've sucked for a long time.

DeHaan is good in a thankless, meaningless role - he's going to be a big star and looking like a young, darker Leonardo DiCaprio doesn't hurt - able to convey Trip's trip (heh) without dialog. All the dumb narration in this trailer below is NOT in the movie; he has literally one word of dialog.

Frankly, I don't know what Metallica bothered with the "story" part because they're the stars of their show and the abrupt ending - it's only 93 minutes long with credits - startled the audience who clearly wanted more, having already had "Wherever I May Roam" truncated down to just its intro. Weak.

If you're a lapsed Metallica fan like me, revisit your bygone youth at the theater. While the IMAX ticket prices are premium, it's definitely cheaper than what you'd pay to see the band live and you wouldn't have as good a view.

Metallica: Through The Never opens Sept. 27 in IMAX theaters and regular theaters Oct. 3.

Score: 9/10. Catch a matinee in 3D. If you're a fan, spring for the full price IMAX ticket.

"The Bling Ring" Review

There was a great comment on the late, great Velvet Rope when Sofia Coppola won Best Original Screenplay for Lost In Translation at the Oscars: "That crashing sound you heard was a thousand laptops being hurled across living rooms in LA." Zing! I liked LiT, but have somehow managed to miss everything else she's made while my girlfriend is a fan. (I want to see Marie Antoinette.)

Recounting the real-life exploits of a pack of spoiled, entitled, amoral, LA rich kids who decided to break in and loot the homes of celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, The Bling Ring seems to want to make a statement about lost youth but much like Spring Breakers it is all surface with little substance. Are we supposed to support the kids antics because they're robbing the 1% of their 1% in a case of high-rent class warfare or ponder what would make kids who want for nothing go and take stuff, not that they exhibit any personal depths; or is that another joke?

Being a silver spoon princess herself would seem to put Coppola at a disadvantage as far as being objective about telling the story about her latter-day society doppelgangers, but in actuality I think there's a generation gap causing the disconnect, namely Coppola is old enough to be her subject's mother and she can't really express what may've been driving these pampered dolts.

Taissa Farmiga, the much-younger sister of Vera Farmiga (by 21 years), is technically the lead character but all the attention gravitates to Emma Watson has she continues to put her Hogwarts years in the rear view as she did previously in The Perks of Being A Wallflower. While her SoCal accent seemed a little ropey, she manages to pull off the deeply shallow aspect of her twerpy character. I suspect I probably would've gotten more insight from the magazine article which was the primary source for the story and provides the narrative conceit.

Score: 5/10. Catch it on cable.

The teaser trailer is brilliant with the sharp cutdown of Sleigh Bells' "Crown On The Ground" and its "Whoa! Hermione has all growed up!" shot of Watson gyrating in seductive slow-motion as captured in the poster frame.

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