Over the weekend, I hung out at my friend’s house, munching on some hot wings and pizza, sipping on Pepsi and Sprite. In an effort to maintain a healthy life-work balance, I set aside these few hours to enjoy myself, casting any freelance writing and blogging concerns as far to the back of my head as possible. It’s been a long while since I’ve been able to curl up with a good DVD, and while I did have the chance to watch a couple of DVD movies while I was there… neither one was a “good DVD.” The time might have been better spent playing with my Nintendo Wii, or at least watching a couple of half-respectable movies.
The two flicks we caught — there were about six or seven of us over at my friend’s house — were pretty different. One was bordering on science fiction with an overgrown crocodile eating away at a population in the middle of Africa. The other was about a bunch of white boys who thought they were more hardcore than they really were and ultimately they land themselves in a whole heap of life-or-death trouble. As I mentioned above, however, both of these movies had one thing in common: they weren’t very good.
The definition of Primeval is “of or relating to the earliest ages, ancient, primitive” and that’s exactly what this movie was: primitive and simple. The storyline was about as straightforward as it gets, but that’s exactly what you should expect from a pseudo sci-fi thriller. We’re not here for an exceptionally good character development or a particularly complicated plot. You want some cheap thrills, a couple of scary moments, and plenty of gore. At least on that last point, Primeval delivers. The premise is that there is an overgrown crocodile — like the size of a school bus — ravaging the people of Burundi. An American anthropologist is the most recent victim and so a news crew based of New York is deployed to investigate and all hell breaks loose. Limbs are chomped off, heads decapitated, and a goat gets doused in crocodile urine.
You might recognize the star of this movie — Dominic Purcell — from his role on the TV show Prison Break. Other notables include Brooke Langton (Melrose Place), Orlando Jones (MAD TV), and Gideon Emery, the last of which plays a more eloquent version of the late Steve Irwin. Yup, he enjoys hunting crocodiles too, and just like his real-life counterpart, he’s more about capture-and-release than he is about outright killing the ancient-looking beasts. Because, you know, it’s not their fault.
Where this movie fails, in a sense, is that it tries to be more than it is. They throw in the politics of the region and how the American TV crew gets under the attack of rebels (in addition to avoiding the giant croc). That, and how can I possibly take a movie seriously when it stars someone like Orlando Jones. And don’t even get me started on the holes in the plot. Yeah, you should just suspend your disbelief (or avoid this movie altogether).
2 stars out of 5
Justin Timberlake plays a wannabe gangster, hanging out with a bunch of other adolescent white guys with tattoos, all of whom feel compelled to say “fuck”, “bitch”, or “shit” every 13 seconds. This two-hour film drags on and on for no apparent reason, failing to develop the already weak premise of this film in any way. The scary thing is that the whole movie was based on the real life story of Jesse James Hollywood. In a nutshell, a petty drug dealer (played by Emile Hirsch, you might know him from The Girl Next Door) is owed a small sum of money — about $1200 — by some other petty street thug (Jake Mazursky, played by Ben Foster, the same guy who played Angel in X-Men: The Last Stand). Some angry things are said, some property is damaged, and in the end, a group of boys kidnap Zach, the younger brother of Jake Mazursky. The acting is horrible. The script is worse. And there’s no way I’m going to believe that either JT or Emile Hirsch are “tough guys.” The only glimmers of hope come when Bruce Willis and Sharon Stone pop on the screen, but they are ultimately inconsequential to the development of the story. This is a sad, sad attempt at a movie.
1 star out of 5