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Pain and Gain – VOD
Rating: 3 (out of 5). Pain and Gain. Based on a true story that happened in the 1990s, a trio of personal trainers (Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, Dwayne Johnson) in Miami get caught up in a criminal scheme that goes horribly wrong. This Micahel Bay directed film is hailed by some critics as being very funny (in a wrong kind of way), it is, neverthless, also quite violent and some of the critics fault the diretor for form over substance. The reviews are below.
This film is also available on Amazon.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry
Genre: Action, Drama, Thriller, Comedy, Crime
New York Times notes, “To describe “Pain & Gain” as a MichaelBay movie on steroids would be accurate but also redundant and a little misleading.”
Variety says, “With a very fine ensemble cast recruited to play an array of overtly despicable characters, this unapologetically vulgar, sometimes quite funny, often stomach-churning bacchanal will surely prove too extreme for great swathes of the multiplex crowd.”
New York Post says, “This movie is a knucklehead “Great Gatsby.” I laughed my glutes off.”
The Village Voice headlines, “Michael Bay Artificially Inflates the Already Insane Yet True Events of Pain & Gain.”
Chicago Tribune observes, “Everything is supersaturated in flaming pastels or hot, rich neon. The images are packed with glistening muscle and bright, shiny, superslow-motion struts toward the camera, with something in flames as a backdrop. It’s Bay World. And after an hour of “Pain & Gain,” it felt more like “Pain & Pain.””
St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, “As a deconstruction of the American dream, “Pain & Gain” won’t win any points for finesse, but the satire packs plenty of muscle.”
Miami Herald notes, “This is easily Bay’s best movie, the work of a filmmaker with a cracked sense of humor that he is able to share with the audience.”
Chicago Sun-Times concludes, “Even though “Pain & Gain” does indeed mine laughs from some very violent acts, there is nothing in this movie that glamorizes those three meatheads. Kudos to Bay and his screenwriters for making sure we’re laughing at them, not with them.”
Entertainment Weekly gives the show a B grade, and further writes, “For the first half of the film, which has a fizzy, kicky, caffeinated energy, this works beautifully. But as with the steroids and blow that fuel the film, the high eventually subsides and it goes on for at least a half hour too long. Pain & Gain proves once and for all that MichaelBay can set up a punchline. Now all he needs is an editor.”
New York Magazine thinks, “Pain & Gain gives you a rush while at the same time making you queasy about how you’re getting off. Partly you’re supposed to be queasy because of the idiotic amorality of the characters — that’s what passes for dramatic complexity. Partly you’re queasy because Bay and company are active participants if not co-conspirators.”
Time says, “Love it or loathe it, the movie’s not boring. It’s like a giant sculpture that is so strange and off-putting, it’s instantly, intriguingly post-modern. Swept up in the film’s pile-driving self-assurance, even Bay-haters may absorb the pain to enjoy the gain.”
New York Daily News gives the movie 3 out of 5 stars, and further says, ““Pain & Gain” is arguably too much of everything — everyone jabbers on incessantly, and the movie is in love with its own outrageousness — but its biggest lift comes from the pumped-up Wahlberg and Johnson. They manage to find the humanity in all the adrenalized muscle.”
USA Today says, “Bay’s Pain & Gain (** out of four; rated R; opens Friday nationwide) is a badly constructed, blood-spattered caper that comes unglued early on.”
The Philadelphia Inquirer observes, “The plot is based on a true story (as the film reminds us often) but Pain & Gain clearly takes more liberties than the Seventh Fleet.”
NPR writes, “A modest little comedy by Bay’s standards — and an unwieldy behemoth by any other’s — Pain & Gain gets some early comic mileage out of the get-rich-quick aspirations of a musclehead who believes he’s entitled to a big, steroidal hunk of the American dream.”
Los Angeles Times concludes, “WhenMichaelBay goes small, “Pain & Gain” happens.”
Arizona Central thinks, “It gets to feel like the sort of movie a teen boy would make if you gave him tens of millions of dollars, a boxful of Playboy magazines and a couple of cases of Red Bull, complete with naked chicks, dirty jokes, rape jokes, ninja costumes and slapstick and bathroom humor, all seasoned with a soupcon of homophobia and misogyny.”
According to Austin Chronicle, “The film is all Miami bright and plastic – beautiful people in a beautiful setting in an ultimately ugly city. Boasting limited ambitions, there is something raw and funny about this tale of the spectacularly inept. Yes, the canon invoked for this film is that of the Three Stooges, but it’s still not as magnificently berserk as they can be. Set your expectations carefully for this one.”
The Times-Picayune writes, “Yes, “Pain & Gain” is based on a real story — and, yes, it is a bizarre one. But here’s a true story for you: This is a tragedy, not a comedy.”
According to Tampa Bay Times, “Pain & Gain is a movie living up to only half its title.”
Indiewire notes, “If there’s a bright spot in the movie, it’s Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who transforms from ex-con to god-fearing Jesus freak, to maniacal cocaine-hoovering freakshow.”
The Washington Post relates, “Almost no one in “Pain and Gain” is even remotely sympathetic, with the possible exception of the private detective (Ed Harris) whose investigation helped bring Lugo and his cronies to justice. The absence of a likable hero makes it really hard to laugh.”
The Oregonian gives the show a D rating, and further writes, “Bay seems to have been gunning for something along the lines of “Blood Simple” or “A Simple Plan,” but “Pain & Gain” is just plain simple.”
A.V. Club thinks, “Pain & Gain is less a satire of stupidity than a loud, brash, unapologetically vulgar celebration of aggression divorced from intellect.”
Boston Globe says, ““Pain & Gain,” a jokey but fatally tone-deaf true-crime caper, plays like “Fargo” for idiots.”
TimeOut New York writes, “By the time a private investigator played by Ed Harris bemoans people’s lack of focus on life’s “little things,” you want to hide your face in embarrassment at Pain & Gain’s blatant disingenuousness. It takes balls to be this haughtily hypocritical. Someone could use a good swift kick.”
The Hollywood Reporter concludes, “As usual with Bay, the visual and aural style is as over-hydrauliced as the events of display, resulting in an inevitable feeling of overkill.”
RollingStone describes the movie: “It’s dumb, shallow, deeply cynical and and creatively bereft.”
The Wall Street Journal notes, “… “Pain & Gain” turns out to be not only hollow and assaultive, but frenzied, madly violent and skullnumbingly loud. So much for transformation.”
Salon writes, “With his pumped-up and violent crime farce “Pain & Gain” – a thoroughly reprehensible and frequently hilarious satire that depicts American life as a circus of stupidity, artificiality and self-regard — Michael Bay sends a clear message to those of us who’ve been making fun of him: He’s been in on the joke the whole time.”
Reelreviews thinks, “Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of Pain & Gain is that it illustrates how Bay, given a budget that’s less than obscene and a passion for the project, has the talent and capacity to make something a thinking adult might enjoy.”
Slant Magazine gives it 2.5 out of 4 stars, and further writes, “Pain & Gain convincingly slams its protagonists for their own delusions and idiocy, aided by starring turns that are uniformly spot-on: Wahlberg’s dim-bulb wannabe-mastermind vanity, Johnson’s confused-giant empty-headedness, Mackie’s pitiful little-man-complex striving. Narcissism, entitlement, and intolerance form the three-headed beast at the heart of Bay’s film.”
Movie Nation writes, “It’s just too much — too much graphic violence, too many plot wrinkles, too much stupidity, too many supporting players to track (Did I mention Rob Corddry is the gym boss?). For a movie as physically fit as this one wants to be, “Pain & Gain” is carrying way too much extra weight.”
Total Film’s verdict: “Like all of Bay’s work, it’s over-the-top, brash and exhausting to watch. But like the lifestyle its characters aspire to, there’s an allure too.”
Slate thinks, “Pain & Gain provides the amount and type of action you would expect from the creator of Bad Boys, Armageddon, and the Transformers franchise—fistfights, chases, explosions—plus a little more (and better) comedy than Bay usually serves up.”
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New on VOD
Here are the new VOD films for the week of April 15, 2014. Click on a movie title for more information, trailers and reviews.
Philomena. Rating: 5 (out of 5). A political journalist picks up the story of a woman’s search for her son, who was taken away from her decades ago, after she gave birth and was forced to live in a convent. The film, based on a true story, will be available on VOD starting Tuesday, April 15. The critics are enamored with this film with New York Observer saying, “Philomena is not only my favorite film of 2013, but one of the most eloquent, powerful and perfect movies I have ever seen.” Reviews, video and more.
The Invisible Woman. Rating: 4 (out of 5). A happily married mother and schoolteacher, Nelly, is haunted by her past, when she had a complicated and fragile, yet exciting, relationship with Charles Dickens. This period drama premieres on VOD on Tuesday, April 15. The critics are impressed with the film and especially the acting though some note that it has a "leisurely pace." As Variety says, “So tastefully mounted and brilliantly acted that it wears down even the corset-phobic’s innate resistance to such things.” Reviews, video and more.
Patrick: Evil Awakens. Rating: 3 (out of 5). A young nurse, who just started working in an isolated psychiatric ward, takes an interest in Patrick, a seemingly comatose patient who is actually a subject of a mad scientist’s experiments. Her innocent fascination turns sinister as Patrick begins using his psychic powers to manipulate her every move, sending her life into a terrifying spiral. Watch for it on VOD starting Tuesday, April 15. Most of the critics enjoyed (though did not love) this remake of the 1978 movie, and FearNet calls the film "a good example of how to remake an obscure but admired horror flick." Reviews, video and more.
Wolf Creek 2. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Another tourist becomes the prey for the serial killer Mick Taylor. The critics have given mixed reviews to this horror film that comes to VOD on Thursday, April 17. Reviews, video and more.
Beneath The Harvest Sky. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Casper and Dominic have been best friends since childhood. Wanting to get out of their quiet hometown on the Maine-Canada border, the boys make a pact to pool their earnings on a car and hit the road. But when Casper is drawn into drug smuggling with his outlaw father to pay his share, their friendship gets strained and both are forced to make adult choices too soon. The film premieres on VOD on Tuesday, April 15. There were more positive than negative reviews on the film and according to Variety, “”Beneath the Harvest Sky” offers a heartbreakingly authentic, vividly realized account of adolescent frustration and yearning.” Reviews, video and more.
Small Time. Rating: 3 (out of 5). Freddy Klein decides not to go to College, and instead joins his father in his used-car business. Premiering on VOD on Friday, April 18, The Village Voice thinks, “The film isn't without mirth and charm: Norris steals a number of scenes as the charismatic Ash, and the banter between Norris and Meloni is charmingly convivial. But as Surnow steers into serious waters, the direction of the storytelling becomes increasingly misguided.” Reviews, video and more.
Ride Along. Rating: 2 (out of 5). Ben, a security guard, joins a cop, James, on a 24-hour patrol of Atlanta in order to prove himself worthy of marrying the latter’s sister. Premiering on VOD on Tuesday, April 15, most of the critics are not impressed with this one. New York Magazine (Vulture) is one of the better reviews when they write, “It all mostly works, but you can’t help but wonder at times if it could have been a lot funnier if it had just a bit more edge.” Reviews, video and more.
The Nut Job. Rating: 2 (out of 5). Surly is banished from the park he lives in, and is forced to live in the dangerous city. Lucky for him, he comes across the only thing that can save not only his life, but the rest of the park community as well as winter approaches: Maury’s Nut Store. The film premieres on VOD on April 15. Most of the critics were unimpressed with this animated film, as The Arizona Republic says, “Ever had one of those artificially sweetened candies that taste OK at first but leaves a lingering, bitter aftertaste? That’s sort of how it goes with “The Nut Job.” Reviews, video and more.
A Promise. Rating: 1 (out of 5). Adapted from Stefan Zweig’s Journey into the Past, this film by French director Patrice Leconte centers on the affair between a handsome male secretary and the wife of a wealthy industrialist. Coming to VOD on Friday, April 18, this film has not won the heart of the critics, and IndieWire (The Playlist) thinks, “Leconte’s never been the edgiest of filmmakers, but “A Promise” is so free of anything close to an edge that it’s like watching a beige sphere for ninety-odd minutes—and it feels much longer.” Reviews, video and more.
Kid Cannabis. No rating. A dramatic film that tells the true story of a teen dropout based in Idaho, who builds a multimillion-dollar marijuana ring by trafficking drugs through the woods across the Canadian border. But his many vices may just leave this kid in way over his head. The film comes to VOD on Friday, April 18, the same day as its theatrical release, and no reviews are available as of writing. Video and more.
Bright Days Ahead (Les Beaux Jours). No Rating. A recently retired woman, eager to devote some free time to herself, begins taking part in some events at a local seniors center. When she becomes involved with a man decades younger than herself, she keeps this from her husband, and she soon begins to experience life in ways that she has not in a long time. The film premieres on the same day as its theatrical release, April 15, in French with English subtitles. No critic reviews are available as of time of writing. Video and more.