Kick-Ass 2

Universal Pictures

Rated R for sexuality, graphic violence, crude humor, pervasive profanity and brief nudity

Shocking Splatterflick Ups The Ante On Original’s Gratuitous Gore

It’s very rare indeed for a matinee idol to trash his or her own picture prior to its release, no matter how horrible the film is. Instead, they tend to just bite the bullet and participate in the press junket praising it to high heaven. For that reason, audiences should have considered themselves warned when Jim Carrey decided to distance himself from Kick-Ass 2, going so far as to apologize to his fans for the splatterflick’s shocking “level of violence.”

But upping the ante on gratuitous gore is just one of a host of this sorry vigilante sequel’s fatal flaws. Another is that the rubber-faced comedian was not only crippled by a script with no funny lines for him but also required to keep his most valuable asset covered with a mask for most of the movie.

Replacement director Jeff Wadlow takes the hit here for miscasting Carrey in a dramatic role. What’s wrong with playing to a thespian’s strengths, especially when you have at your disposal one of the funniest comics to ever grace the silver screen?

If you remember Kick-Ass 1, what really made the movie magical was Hit-Girl (Chole Moretz) and Big Daddy’s (Nicolas Cage) bizarre but tender father-daughter relationship. Unfortunately, Big Daddy bit the dust in the original, and the title role of Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has been expanded this go-round, mostly at the expense of Hit-Girl’s screen time.

In fact, as the film unfolds, we learn that Hit-Girl has hung up her mask and stretchy pants to focus on her freshman year at Millard Fillmore High School as alter ego Mindy McCready. Senior David Lizewski, however, still moonlights as Kick-Ass and soon joins Justice Forever, a ragtag team of self-proclaimed superheroes led by Colonel Stars And Stripes (Carrey).

Their evil nemesis is The Mother [expletive] (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), the richest kid in all ofNew York. This spoiled orphan has inherited the bucks to assemble the most diabolical band of villains money can buy.

The ensuing epic battle between good and evil for the fate of the city eventually forces Hit-Girl out of retirement, and just in the nick of time to turn the tide. Too bad the picture’s pathetic attempts at humor fall flat, its special f/x are cheesy, its characters never generate any chemistry, its preposterous plot fails to engage, and it features a morally-reprehensible “level of violence,” most of it involving teenagers.

Oh, but the ending does set up the franchise’s next installment, for folks who get their kicks vicariously, via the observation of explicit vivisection. A relentlessly gruesome bloodfest of no redeeming value that at least Jim Carrey had the decency to ‘fess up about.

 

Fair (1 star)

In English, Mandarin and Russian with subtitles

Running Time: 103 minutes

 

 

The Happy Sad

Miasma Films

Unrated

Couples’ Lives Serendipitously Intertwine In Bifurcated Brooklyn Drama

Stan (Cameron Scoggins) and Annie (Sorel Carradine) are a young couple in crisis. She recently informed him over brunch in aBrooklynbistro that she wanted to take a break “to figure things out.”

Flabbergasted Stan pressured her for an explanation, so she lied and said that she was already sleeping with a fellow schoolteacher, Mandy (Maria Dizzia). Believing the fib, he decided on the spot to end the relationship.

The bitter breakup frees Stan to explore his own curiosity about bisexuality, so he makes the online acquaintance of a tall, dark and handsome stranger (LeRoy McClain). The two agree to meet, and end up mating on the first date. Only after Stan has given away his gay virginity does he learn that that Marcus has a live-in boyfriend.

What makes the situation even messier, his life mate, Aaron (Charlie Barnett), just happens to be a waiter Stan and Annie know from their favorite restaurant. Marcus and Aaron do have an open relationship that’s lasted six years. Trouble is, their only rule is you’re not allowed to develop feelings for anybody you cheat with.

That’s a problem since Marcus falls in love at first sight with Aaron. However, Stan isn’t quite inclined to reciprocate. He’s not even sure that he’s bi, let alone ready to come out of the closet to be in an interracial homosexual relationship.

Not one to give up easily, Aaron informs Marcus that “I want to take my jaw, unhinge it, and swallow your head whole.” Meanwhile, odd woman out Annie does seduce her cute colleague Mandy, but when lesbianism doesn’t work out proceeds to lick her wounds at a local watering hole where she turns the head of a two-bit comedian.

So unfolds The Happy Sad, a gender-bending romantic romp directed by Rodney Evans (Brother To Brother). You almost need a scorecard to keep track of all the coupling, uncoupling, and re-coupling, but the out-of-the-closet antics are amusing enough to intrigue.

Who will end up with whom? The possibilities are endless when the players are this open-minded and so confused about their identities!

 

Very Good (3 stars)

Running time: 86 minutes

 

 

OPENING THIS WEEK

Kam’s Kapsules:

For movies opening August 23, 2013

 

The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (PG-13 for intense violence and suggestive content) Lily Collins stars in this adaptation of the Cassandra Clare fantasy novel of the same name about a Brooklyn teenager who discovers that she’s descended from a long line of half-angels locked for generations in battle with a host of demonic creatures. Cast includes Lena Headey, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jamie Campbell Bower.

 

The World’s End (R for sexual references and Pervasive profanity) Sci-fi comedy, set inEngland, about five friends (Simon Pegg, Eddie Marsan, Martin Freeman, Paddy Considine and Nick Frost) who unwittingly reunite for drinks for the first time in decades during an invasion of the planet by alien robots. With Bill Night, Pierce Brosnan and Rosamund Pike.

 

You’re Next (R for profanity, sexuality, nudity and graphic violence) Horror thriller about a festive family reunion at a remote, rural retreat ruined by the arrival of a gang of ax-wielding maniacs. Stars Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Joe Swanberg and Amy Seimetz.

 

Drinking Buddies (R for pervasive profanity) Joe Swanberg directs this romantic comedy, set inChicago, about a couple of flirtatious co-workers (Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson) already in committed relationships who come to question their commitments when they unexpectedly end up alone together for a whole weekend. With Ron Livingston, Ti West and Jake M. Johnson.

 

The Frozen Ground (R for violence, sexuality, nudity, profanity and drug use) Fact-based crime thriller about an Alaska state trooper (Nicolas Cage) who tracks down a serial killer (John Cusack) with the help of a woman (Vanessa Hudgens) who barely escaped the bloodthirsty psychopath’s clutches. Support cast includes 50 Cent, Radha Mitchell and Dean Norris.

 

Paradise: Faith (Unrated) Second installment in the Ulrich Seidl trilogy revolves around a Born Again, door-to-door Christian missionary (Maria Hofstatter) whose life is turned upside-down when her long-lost Muslim husband (Nabil Saleh) returns to Austria from Egypt after a long absence. Featuring Natalya Baranova, Rene Rupnik and Daniel Hoesl.

 

Savannah (PG-13 for brief sexuality) Jim Caviezel stars in this true tale, unfolding in the post-bellum South, about the son of a plantation owner who forfeited his inheritance in order to live close to nature down by the riverside. With Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bradley Whitford and Jaimie Alexander.

 

Scenic Route (R for profanity, violence and a scene of sexuality) Survival road saga about two buddies (Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler) whose lifelong friendship is tested when their dilapidated pickup truck breaks down in the desert. With Miracle Laurie, Christie Burson and Peter Michael Goetz.

 

Short Term 12 (R for profanity and brief sexuality) Character-driven drama about a social worker (Brie Larson) who, with the help of her co-worker boyfriend (John Gallagher, Jr.), does her best to help at-risk teens assigned to the foster care facility she supervises. Cast includes Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek and Keith Stanfield.

 

The Trials Of Muhammad Ali (Unrated) Conscientious objector documentary revisiting disgraced heavyweight champ Muhammad Ali’s legal battle to overturn his five-year sentence for refusing to serve in Vietnam because “Ain’t no Viet Cong ever call me [N-word].”

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