The Cinemologist

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Category Archives: Reviews

Fast Five

The latest installment of The Fast and the Furious franchise, titled Fast Five, is the best of all of the Fast and Furiousessess, though that isn’t saying much. The canon has been plagued with terrible titles since the second film, but Fast Five is the least imaginative name since Sssssss, a movie about snakes or lisps or something.

Looking past the title, you’ll find a fairly entertaining action romp that knows where to put its attention. The film reunites almost everyone from the canon. Vin Diesel returns with co-stars from the first film Paul Walker, Jordanna Brewster and Matt Schulze. Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris return from the first sequel, Sung Kang represents the third film and Gal Gadot makes a comeback from the last installment. New faces are that of Dwayne Johnson, an American law enforcement officer in pursuit of the crew, Elsa Pataky, a Portuguese cop with a troubled past and Joachim de Almeida, the major antagonist.

Even though there are more characters than you can shake a wrench at, they’re all introduced well and given enough screen time to make an impact. The actors all share good chemistry with one another and seem to enjoy powering through the awful dialogue together.

The dialogue really is quite horrendous with many one-liners like the following:

“Good news and bad news”

“You know I like my dessert first.”

But we didn’t go to this movie to see people chat over an afternoon tea. We came to see things that go fast. Although street racing was the main course in the first film, each subsequent work has seemed to take less interest in the sport. In Fast Five, it’s virtually non-existent. There is one actual street-racing scene that is completely glossed over, and one scene where the four main drivers race that lacks some of the panache from the previous movies.

There are still plenty of action scenes that keep this film from turning into an Ocean’s heist movie. Once Diesel and Johnson are introduced, you’re just biding your time until you get to see two bald muscle bags deliver a buffet of knuckle sandwiches, and you are most definitely rewarded.

Throw in a little Vin Diesel good guy charm and some family drama, and you’ve got a movie that’s a worthy introduction to the summer blockbusters to follow.


The Adjustment Bureau

The debate between fate and free will has permeated society for ages. Are we free to live our lives the way we choose, or is there a guiding light leading us to an already planned destination?

George Nolfi’s latest film, The Adjustment Bureau, tackles this very subject. Based on Phillip K. Dick’s book, The Adjustment Group, this adaptation places Matt Damon and Emily Blunt against the titular division who is determined to see them apart from each other.

Damon plays David Norris, a New York senator whose two chance meetings with Elise Sellas (Blunt) were not in “the plan.” Their attraction proves irresistible and the two fall in love, for better or worse. Now they must defend their love against a league of gentlemen known as the Adjustment Bureau.

The film is a clever balancing act between an action flick and a romance (perhaps even a romantic comedy). When it really sparkles is when Damon and Blunt share screen-time as their chemistry is electrifying. Scenes with the bureau are diminished by the lack of details in the plot. Are they a supremely religious bunch? Who is the Chairman? The team certainly hints at their religious ties, but it’s never fully expounded upon.

Towards the end, the story starts to speed up a bit, to its detriment. The fact that Norris can learn the ins and outs of the bureau’s secrets in a single night, and that Sellas (who just took a doorway from Yankee Stadium to Ellis Island) can blindly accept Norris’ description of what’s happening.

This is but a minor speed bump in an otherwise enthralling story. The acting from all is superb, and the consequential ramifications of Norris and Sellas’ actions are exciting to watch unfold.