At the end of March, there was a whole bunch of movies expiring on Netflix. It was ridiculous. So, in an effort to minimize backlog, here’s a double feature. Plus, I’ve been slacking off on reviews. I’m a little late on today’s post as well since as my vlog earlier this week explained, moving weekend. I have only a little moving but there’s a whole lot of spring prep and organizing plus, finally some nice weather today. 13 degrees Celsius felt like summer after two months of -30 Celsius weather. That’s probably why EVERYONE was out! Anyways, no complaints!
The first two I saw my list to expire was 21 and Hancock. I remember 21 only because one of my friends was madly in love with Jim Sturgess at the time this came out in theatres back in 2008 and she was so excited to go see this. I didn’t go with her but somehow this movie stuck in my head, although there was a time I confused this with 21 Grams, which is a completely different story. It had nothing to do with each other.
Either way, lets check out these two 2008 movies!
Director: Robert Luketic
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne, Aaron Yoo, Liza Lapira, Josh Gad
“21” is the fact-based story about six MIT students who were trained to become experts in card counting and subsequently took Vegas casinos for millions in winnings. – IMDB
I’m just going to write this. I’ve written and rewritten how to begin this review for the fourth time now. Why? Its because after 2 weeks of seeing this, I’m still really in between on what I feel about this. I disliked the length. It just dragged on and on, trying to pile on drama and relationships and whatever else. Seriously, it didn’t need that. My guess it was to better understand each of the character’s and the role they play, especially with the main character, Ben, played by Jim Sturgess. I hate it when I watch movies that are like that because I think they could condense it by like 30 minutes and build the intensity properly to get it moving along to where it all matters. But it didn’t do that and its a shame.
21 has a great cast. Jim Sturgess is really good at Ben, math genius, aspiring doctor, financially struggling student, and then adding on the natural counting cards ability. He grabs the role really well. Then we have Laurence Fishburne in the supporting “villain” role because he’s just the guy who is trying to keep his job going because of his abilities to catch people trying to con the casino with whatever tricks. Then behind this whole counting cards crew is their leader, professor and passé counting cards “master”, Prof Mickey Rosa, played by Kevin Spacey. Let me tell you, Kevin Spacey is a kick-ass actor. I’m sure I don’t need to tell many of you but I think of everything that he’s done (that I’ve seen), I don’t think there’s been one disappointing role. On the flip side, I’m oddly a fan of Aaron Yoo. He’s not in a lot of movies but somehow, he’s pretty whacky in what he does. I like his vibe, I guess. Nothing significant but just thought I’d mention it.
So, while the story was poorly executed, the length was ridiculous, the cast was great and the concept of this story (which is inspired by true events) is pretty fun. This makes it sadly average. I wish it was better. All it had to do was cut the drama. That’s really strange coming from me, because usually I kind of like drama and romance but it just felt so pointless.
Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Eddie Marsan
Hancock is a superhero whose ill considered behavior regularly causes damage in the millions. He changes when one person he saves helps him improve his public image. – IMDB
I’ve gained a really incredible love for superheroes. Not that I didn’t before but I only knew about Superman, Batman and Spiderman. Its not what I grew up watching but now that’s all changed, which is a great thing. Plus, I used to be pretty impressed with Will Smith. I’ve skipped pretty much everything since I am Legend. Hancock was released around that time more or less, maybe a year difference. I only remember this one because I remember my best friend seeing it and telling me it was decent. Still, I wasn’t convinced for some weird reason.
Seeing it for myself the other night, the beginning sequence was a little iffy. I’m going to be honest. I almost wanted to shut it off after the first 10 minutes. Hancock seemed REALLY over the top. Like, they were trying too hard to make him an anti-hero because he’s just incredibly destructive and yet he doesn’t seem to think anything is wrong with it. That’s a little weird also.
But, it does turn around. The turning point has to be Jason Bateman entering the scene as Ray, a guy that he saved and wanted to help him be seen as a hero while hopefully changing his image. Of course, this is where there’s a tad bit of sarcasm and some destruction, a little difference in opinions and some action plus a little bit of laughs from all that mixed together. It changes the dynamics a little and that helps. I found Jason Bateman’s character really enjoyable to watch.
The story is a little all over the place though. It starts at this weird vibe for Hancock as a character that really doesn’t seem like a hero and then gives him some dude that convinces and tries to create a new image and then they add in a twist that really was out of nowhere. Which worked well as a surprise thing. It felt out of place but it did give his character of Hancock some substance and origin story and that works.
While it could have been better, I did get a few laughs from it. I’m not so sure about Hancock as a superhero but I totally think Jason Bateman was great and there’s also supporting role by Charlize Theron and we all know there’s nothing to criticize about her. And that second half (or maybe third) was pretty good. 🙂
OVERALL…these 2008 films were rather average. Both are watchable but both were flawed in their own way. It makes me think, what else was released in 2008? I’ll have to research that a little 😉
Have you seen 21 or Hancock? Did you like either one of these?
Hope everyone has enjoyed Good Friday! 🙂
P.S. Movie reviews slacking ends now! This long weekend, other than moving, Fast and Furious marathon and first Disney theme: everything Snow White! 😉