Recently Beheld: August 11-17th, 2014

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This reboot of the comic book characters should have been called April O'Neal and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Neither Megan Fox or Will Arnett with give you a reason to care about a single human character in this film and it's some 20 minutes before our immature guardians even show their faces/shells. Fortunately, there's some surprisingly satisfying and elaborated action sequences to be found in the last half of the film. 


The Expendables 2 (2012)

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From the opening action set-piece it is apparent that this is an improvement on the first film, but then nothing reaches that eight again. The movie tries to straddle the line between the self-serious and the self-silly. It seems capable of either, not both. Full Review


Into the Storm (2014)

It's Twister meets TrollHunter in this faux-documentary assembly of fools with camera in the American mid-west. The cast is scattered enough to make each real-time sequence a fascination and when the tornadoes touch down it's a thrill of a ride.


The Expendables 3 (2014)

Sylvester Stallone returns with his countless hosts in the third (and hopefully final) film in his action franchise. There's nothing particularly new or exciting about this neutered installment outside of Mel Gibson's scenery-chewing performance. Full Review


Sin City (2005)

Robert Rodriquez and graphic novelist Frank Miller team up to co-direct this adaptation of Miller's renowned book of the same name. Perhaps there has never been a more faithful adaptation of... anything. They have achieved a stylized, pulpy noir that is unlike anything else out there.


From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

A pair of wanted brothers take a family hostage as they flee for the Texan/Mexican border in this cult-classic genre bender. The first time I saw From Dusk Till Dawn I found my investment rapidly evaporating as we transition from a crime thriller to a supernatural gore-fest. However, revisiting it last week (it had been some years), I found myself appreciating the last half for the face-melting and trash-talking rumbles that it is.


Dracula (1979)

We know the story well, but this version of Universal's remake of their own property has gone through a couple writers after Stoker providing us with some switches and additions. Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasence class us the joint just fine, but a lot of the magic is owed to Gilbert Taylor's eye and John Williams' ear.


In Summation:

Ensembles, teams or just a rich cast of characters make up the population of any film's world. Through them we imagine what the rest of the denizens of Basin City or a fictional mid-West town are like. Praises to the motion-capture actors and their skilled animators on TMNT for allowing us to easily distinguish between them without having to know who wears what bandana. While too many stars can spoil the broth (The Expendables 3), the right amount of characters can be a storyteller's best asset for engaging the audience for an uninterrupted hour or two.


For more Recently Beheld, check out last week's serving.

Also, check out my Letterboxd Diary for all the films I've seen this year.

Share your thoughts on any of these films or what you watched last week in the comments below!