FOX 34 movie reviews: 'Pain and Gain,' 'Oblivion'
On Twitter: @JamesEppler"Pain and Gain" is one of the most bizarre and crazy movies I've seen in a long time - and I mean that as a compliment.
It's directed by Michael Bay, a very talented director many choose to write off as a schlock master. He has his own flashy style that revels in making garbage glossy. When he's not trapped in "Transformers," he makes ridiculously irresponsible and fun movies like "The Rock," "Armageddon," and the "Bad Boys" movies.
"Pain and Gain" tells a story so over-the-top, only Bay could make it work. It's so nuts, the movie has to remind us a couple times that it is, in fact, a true story.
Set in the mid-90s in Miami, it's about three boneheaded bodybuilders who decide to kidnap a self-made millionaire and torture him into signing over his fortune to them. And they can do it because they've seen a lot of movies.
The crew is Mark Wahlberg, who's turned into a solid comic actor, Anthony Mackie from "The Hurt Locker," and Dwayne Johnson, in his best film role yet as an ex-con turned big-hearted Jesus freak.
This is a very dark comedy, and the most I've laughed at any movie so far this year. At times it plays like "The Three Stooges" with roid rage digging themselves into a deeper hole or Michael Bay's version of a Coen Brothers movie.
"Oblivion" draws its inspiration and ideas from a number of other sci-fi movies, which I won't list because I don't want to spoil any of this movie's many secrets.
It's the second film from "Tron: Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski, who, like Michael Bay is fast developing a style all his own.
Set about 70 years from now, Earth has been wiped out and left uninhabitable by a war between humans and invading aliens. The humans have left, and are on the way to another planet and Earth is now monitored by drones. Tom Cruise is Jack Harper, who has a specific job to do - repair drones and keep them flying.
He works with Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough. But when he finds a survivor and gets captured, he realizes there may be something else going on.
"Oblivion" does a solid job immersing you in the story, the characters, and this futuristic world - it's especially impressive in IMAX. And the many twists and turns the story takes might keep you guessing. But an ending that feels tacked on, cheap, and insulting nearly pooches the whole deal.
I liked the movie - but the end left me a bit sour.
EPPLER'S RATINGS: "Pain and Gain" * * * 1/2
"Oblivion" * * *
Out of five stars