Thursday, April 2, 2015

Furious Seven (2015): Review

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I have been looking forward to the newest installment of The Fast and The Furious franchise and if you know me you will know why. I love crappy, big budget, actions movies with lots of flashiness, explosions, chases, and fights. Going into Furious Seven, I was expecting it to be on par with the more recent installments and I am happy to say that it satisfied me and met my expectations. That being said, it is no way an award winner but it is what I have come to expect from these movies which have been getting more and more preposterous as the series has gone on.
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Furious Seven continues a few years after the end of Fast & Furious 6. Dom, played by Vin Diesel, is trying to help Letty, played by Michelle Rodriquez, get her memoires back now they he knows that she is not actually dead but she doesn't remember anything from their life together.  Brian, played by Paul Walker, is having difficulty settling into a normal life as a father with his wife, and Dom's sister Mia, played by Jordana Brewster and small son.  Everyone is drawn back into danger when Deckard Shaw, played by Jason Statham, decides he is going to hunt down Dom due to his little brother being the villain in Fast & Furious 6 and him not being to happy that Dom and crew put the beat down on him. As shown in the teaser in 6 a member of Dom's crew was killed in Tokyo as  warning to Dom. As Dom is hunted by Shaw, Mr. Nobody, played by Kurt Russell, offers Dom a deal with if he saves a hacker names Ramsey, played by Nathalie Emmaunuel, who has developed a program which can find anyone in the world by hacking electronic devices, he will allow Dom to use it to find Shaw.  Also back in the movie are Roman, played by Tyrese, the wise cracking sidekick of Brian from 2 Fast 2 Furious; Tej, played by Ludacris a car tech guy also first appearing in 2 Fast 2 Furious; and Agent Hobbs, played by The Rock, originally appearing in Fast Five.
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Like I said this movie is basically what you have come to expect, and many of us love about The Fast and the Furious movies.  There are amazing cars driving really fast and usually getting destroyed in the process. There are ridiculous stunts and action scenarios that continue to be absolutely over the top but are fun if you can suspend the fact that there is no way that they would even, and I mean ever, be able to actually happen. There is bad and over the top acting from everyone involved and the reduction of many of them to their caricatured main traits and over emphasized emotion laid on thick. There are an abundance of cheesy one liner. There are scantily clad females that are only their for eye candy and this movie has a large amount of ass shots that I could have done without but that they guys will enjoy. The male actors are getting a bit older but still have some strut to them and I have to agree with my cousin that Tyrese continues to be one attractive piece of man candy.
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The one thing about this movie that makes it different from the previous ones in the series is that as many of you know Paul Walker died in a car accident in the middle of filming so both of his brothers were used to finish his role. There are moments where because I know that there were replacements for him that I could tell that was why it was filmed the way it was, with his face in shadows, profiles, or quick personal shots. I think that they did a great job of making it work and it wasn't too distracting or noticeable. The sap factors is kicked into overdrive at the end of the movie.
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I do not think it necessary to say who should go and see this movie due to it being the seventh installment and you know whether you are a fan of them or not but I will say that it was worth seeing in IMAX and this is the type of movie that I think IMAX works really well for.
I have to finish by complaining that this movie as well as a lot of action movies are continuing to have close up/ choppy actions sequences that annoy the crap out of me. I like to see what is happening with the whole sequence not just jump around with editing, in this movie they even did this with the cars chases.

My Rating: 2

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey (2015): Review

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Last night I went and saw the movie of the weekend Fifty Shades of Grey, which is based off the best selling E.L. James book of the same name. The fact that I didn't need to look up her names shows how much of a cultural phenomenon this books is. Going in I was trying not to get my hopes up too much as I didn't want to be disappointed but I am pleased to saw it wasn't that bad.  I can tell that a lot of effort was put into making this movie and they took an artsy approach to the graphic sex scenes and yes this movie pushes the boundaries of an R rated movie with the sexual content, but it really has to with how the book that it is based on popularized erotic literature into the main stream and because its the poster book for  "mommy porn."
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Anyway for those of you who don't know, Fifty Shades of Grey follows Anastasia (Ana) Steele, played by Dakota Johnson, is a young woman graduating from college who is roped into meeting and interviewing the young, mysterious, billionaire Christina Grey, played by Jamie Dornan. They have an instant attraction which draws Ana to him but he has dark side that she doesn't understand but wants to know about. He is a dominant and is interested in having Ana as his submissive. I could go into detail about the dynamics of their relationship but I know many people are just paying enough attention to it to get drawn in and see the sex scenes which come about as Christian is trying to convince and show Ana about his world of BDSM and get her to agree to agree to his sexual terms. 
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I think that overall the movie did a pretty good job of bring the book to screen but there are a lot of auxiliary things that people who haven't read the book wont get but that do not really mean much to the central storyline. It is backstory and secondary characters but as this movie is about Ana and Christian its not a big deal. The plot is pretty simple and basically just there to move the story ahead and get to the sex.  The story is more relevant in the second and third Fifty Shades books as book one is mainly set up of their relationship. I know for many the end of the movie is unsatisfying as it is setting up for the continuation of the trilogy and there were many disappointed groans from the women in the screening I attended when it ended.
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One of the big things I was worried about going into this movie where Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan cast as Ana and Christian. I was not one who had a specific actors who I wanted to have play these characters and I thought and still think that Johnson fit the character of Ana it was Dornan as Christian. In the books he is described as the most handsomest of beautiful men and although Dornan is hot with my previous experience of him he was always the scruffy hot guy not the OMG he is so handsome guy. I had fun with the #notmychristian twitter campaign because of this. After seeing the movie, I still think that a better actors could have been chosen for Christian but he did an alright job. My main problem with these two in this movie was not them independently, when the focus was just on one of them they did good, it was on their connection as a couple. It didn't really seem like they connected well with each other and I didn't see the emotional interplay between them that I was really hoping for, this disappointment was added to because I did like them as the characters when they were on screen solo (solo shots). This might also be why in the film there was a lot of back and forth camera work instead of looking at both of them together. If you aren't really paying attention I don't think this is that noticeable but as for me I like to see how they could emotionally connect I was disappointed.
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I am sure that this is a movie that everyone knows whether they want to see it or not but for me it was really weird watch two naked actors on screen essentially having soft core sex on screen in a theatre screening room with a bunch of other people sitting around me. It is just weird, the movie goer in me kept thinking that they could have easily adapted the scenes to hint at sex and not ruined the story or movie. I don't think it is necessary to try and push the envelope with movies and what is shown on screen. If I want to watch porn I will watch porn, and I don't need a long movie with drawn out pauses/storylines to get me there. I watch a movie for the story, being drawn into the story, and entertainment factor. Yes I will see the other Fifty Shades movies when then come out as I have a feeling this will be a huge hit but I really hope other movies don't just go for sex factor to try and get people to watch them.

My Rating: 2-

Guys- if your girl is interested in this movie talk to them about it before you get kinky but you can also just push them up again an elevator wall and kiss them. Just an added thought.

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Jupiter Ascending (2015): Review

The main thought that I had throughout watching this movie was that it tried really hard to be a great space odyssey but it never really made it there. It wasn't as bad as I feared it but it was just too ambitious to really be able to pull off. That being said it did keep my interest throughout but I just wish it wasn't as full on stupid space since info that means nothing to anyone. There is a lot going on and lots of information being rattled off, and I really wish that these types of movies would stop putting other languages with subtitles that I have to read (distracting) and stop with all the space lingo mumbo jumbo. It felt like I was trying to just figure out what everything meant and part of why I want to see it again it to try and make sense of the stupid terms that don't really fit or add anything to the movie. When a movie is pushing the grandioseness of the scope adding all of these terms that don't mean anything to anyone just gums up the works and makes it bad when things don't follow together.

This movie stars Mila Kunis as Jupiter Jones, a woman without a real purpose in her life, who's genes are an exact match for a deceased space queen.  Due to being this genetic reincarnation she is entitled to take her inheritance which is the earth. This is an issue, because of the three siblings who were the children of her old self and are all battling for power and they all want to use her for their own devices.  Jupiter is found and then protected by Channing Tatum's Caine Wise, a splice ex-soldier who is a cross between a human and wolf. Jupiter is na├»ve and overwhelmed, while Caine is conflicted and set to protect her. She is drawn into an Odyssey of being drawn into different locations and traps when all she wants it to go home.
Like I said this movie has a lot of information and stuff happening, the scope was just so big and the information too much, but if you can just let that go and it is easy enough to follow. She doesn't know what is going on, is being manipulated by those around her for their own purposes (she is extremely gullible and at time I struggle to see how she didn't see some of it coming) and Caine is trying to be able to save her (will he be able to get there time and again in the nick of time?).  They throw in the obligatory romance between the two but there is no real build up to this and falls short for me. Now that I am thinking about it, if Mila Kumis could have been a better presence on screen, I would have easily forgiven more of al the nonsense going on because the movie was somewhat entertaining if overambitious and is the type of blockbuster movie that I forgive for its faults if I care about the main actors, but I did really care at all about her portrayal of Jupiter. 
For the most part, I enjoyed the overall casting and interpreations the characters (I liked a lot of the bit supporting characters). The characters where not that developed and there were way too many weird animal alien creatures, but the actors did well with them. Like I said the big failure of this movie was that it was over ambitious and wasn't able to really pull it together. If they would have stopped trying to make it all make sense, added a bit more fun (a la Guardians of the Galaxy), and just went with the ridiculousness instead of trying to make it all really come together it would have been better.
There wasn't really anything truly horrible about this movie but it does fall way short of the mark which it needed to be in order to be good. It is worth filling time if you like these types of movies but it not anything that must be seen.

My Rating: 1+

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014): Review

This weekend I went and saw the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) movie and I was more hoping then expecting it to be any good.  I was disappointed in the movie but I know that it will be something that will thrill the younger kids who it seemed to be targeted for.  Besides a few Easter Eggs thrown in for the older generation it didn't really didn't do it for me.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) is a reboot of the Turtles movie franchise and besides some fun references to the movie has nothing to do with the 1990's movies.  It focus around journalist April O'Neil, played by Megan Fox, as she discovers that there are four Mutant Turtle Nina Teenagers (Donatello, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo) who are acting as vigilantes fighting against the criminal activity of the gang called The Foot Clan lead by a Ninja Master Shredder.  They have are the result of a science experiment and along with their Sensei and surrogate father Splinter they grew training in the art of ninjutsu.  Can April and the Turtles save New York city from the evil plan Shredder has planed and is there more to their background then April originally realized?
I think that some of the hardest things for me to get over for this movie is because I am quite attached to the 1990 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies and that would be the way the turtles look and sound.  To me they just didn't have the right voices and their characterizations where just off to me.  Also they just looked weird.  I don't know why movies are doing these movies where there are tying to make the non human characters more human looking, and with the video game type graphics it was hard to look at the turtles.  To me the CGI was obvious and jarring while I was watching the movie and this made it really bad to watch.  I usually don't mind crappy action movies as long as they are fun to watch, but for this the CGI was very obvious and like I said seemed very video game-esq.Also it is important to note that Splinter just looked really bad, just horrible.

This movie also spend a lot of time trying to make the science of what is going on seem to make sense and to me this is unnecessary in movies.  I mean it is a movie, it can just be magic or a few throw away comments making it just be, I don't care for it to be explained in detail like it might actually happen in real life, like come on it a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movie.  The stars are life-size turtles its already out there.
The one thing I did like about this movie in reference to some of the other big budget action movies that have been released lately it is had a villain that seemed formidable and that was actually a villain worth being a villain.  Shredder was cool and besides how they showed him outside of the suit too much is a guy who you believe others are scared of.

I was surprised that I didn't mind Megan Fox so much as April and it was more how she was too whiny of a character was and did not have the savvy that I want from her as a TMNT fan not that bugged me.  I liked her outfit especially the jacket as it was the correct color. The supporting cast was okay with William Fichtner as Eric Saks, Will Arnett as Vernon Fenwick, and Whoopi Goldberg as April's Editor.
To me this movie was okay but had quite a bit to bug me as a 1990's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fan and a child who was the right age for the whole Turtles phenomenon.  That being said I think that this movie will be something that younger kids would like and has the appeal for this new generation.  I have to remember that I am not hip to the young people and that to be teenagers today the turtles would have to have been born after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3 came out in 1993.

My Rating: 1

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014): Review

When going into watch Guardians of the Galaxy I was expecting a fun, campy, big budget blockbuster movie and I am very happy to say that I wasn't disappointed.  Going in I was trying not to get my hopes up and this movie ended up meeting and exceeding what I hoped it would be.  It was fun, entertaining, with explosions, and kept me interested and didn't seem to lag anywhere.  I think that everyone should go see it so that I get a second installment because that is what I wanted when I left the movie theater, more.
Guardians of the Galaxy is the new Marvel Comics movie and it is different from the Avengers Movies as it takes a more fun, campy approach to the movie.  The Averages movies has some comedy and fun to it but all of them have a serious mien to them, Guardians, at least to me, was more focused around the fun and with a the ensemble of characters made it more difficult to have a truly serious movie. Plus it is set in space which just makes it more fun and brings out the childish glee in me.  Guardians is based around an ensemble of five characters.  First there is Peter Quill AKA Starlord, played by Chris Pratt, who is a boy born on earth but raised in space by Ravagers (space pirates); Gamora, played by Zoe Saladana, the adoptive daughter of Thanos who has a change of hart when she is assigned to help destroy the galaxy but instead teams up with the Guardians; Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, an genetically altered raccoon who is drawn into the plot by wanting money and  being a total badass; Grout, voiced by Vin Disel, a tree humanoid who has a heart of gold but fiercely protects those that he cares about, he also has serves as muscle for Rocket; and Drax, played by Dave Bautista, a man who doesn't get metaphors and is set on revenge against Ronan (the main villain of the movie) for killing his family.
  These five get together to try and save the Galaxy from Ronan, played by Lee Pace who is set on reeking havoc in the Galaxy. Can these five work together to save the Galaxy from destruction without turning on each other and overcome the obstacles that they face?
Like I said I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and am looking forward to seeing it again. I will not be surprised if it becomes one of the blockbuster movies that goes into my watching rotation when I want a fun big budget flick to watch.  It has explosions, banter between characters (which to me can make or break a movie and in this one the sometimes ridiculously stupid banter was fantastic), well balanced chemistry and interplay between characters, jokes and fun, and keeping the story going without spending too much time on any particular battle.  This movie had a really good pace and kept the story going but it did have a lot going on. 
It wasn't too complicated that it was hard to follow what was going on and wasn't that distracting but there were a lot of characters thrown in that if some where eliminated could have had more dedicated to them.  
The main negative for me in this movie is that I didn't really care for or think that the villains were scary.  Ronan felt like he was just their so that there could be the conflict that drew the Guardians together and keep them focused on the same mission while they bonded as a group. I think that if it focused more on Gamoras adopted sister Nebula, played by Karen Gilian, and built up the tension there and just the mysterious references to Ronan it would have been better or done the same thing with moving the plot forward without me thinking that the main villain of the movie was lame.
The CGI of the movie was well done, especially with Rocket and Group. I saw this movie in 3D and it mainly wasn't distracting, plus it did my favorite way to utilize 3D with things hovering in space and floating around.  I continue to think this is cool and like when it fits in organically with the movie and action sequences.
The action sequences where good and varied in tip, from hand to hand, to guns, to space ships and the pace kept movie so I never thought that they were extending a sequences just because they could.  They did do the thing that I will continue to complain about where there was really tight up fighting and jumping from clipped shot to shot.  I really just want the camera to back up and show what is going on.
Basically I really liked this movie and it was a lot of fun.  It is not a movie to be taken to seriously but to go in and just enjoy.  I liked the eighties references and the soundtrack had iconic songs to it.  It was the type of big budget campy fun that is enjoyable for the whole family.

My Rating: 3+

There is an extra scene at the very end of the credits (which run for about 8 min).  It is one that will be hit or miss for your enjoyment but seems to be there just for a fun reference.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (2014:): Trailer

Yesterday the first official trailer for the new Hobbit movie came out.
Watch Here:

I know that I am getting excited to see the final installment of the Hobbit Trilogy and hope that it a great ending to the entire movie series.  I cant wait until Christmas to see it.

Lucy (2014): Review

This weekend I went and saw the movie Lucy, which going into I was hoping would be entertaining because the previews had me intrigued.  I enjoyed many aspects of this movie but really is only for people who like a little of the more out there action movies or just care about some pretty cool action/fight sequences.
Lucy starts  Scarlet Johansson as a woman who is tricked to deliver a locked briefcase to Mr. Jang, played by Min-sik Choi.  She is forced into acting as a drug mule to run a new drug and ends up getting exposed to this drug in a huge dose.  This drug mucks with her biology and changes her brain so that it is working toward working at 100% capacity instead of the stated average human usage of 10%.  As she works to take down the drug ring and especially Mr. Jang, she seeks the advice of Professor Norman, played by Morgan Freeman.  Professor Norman is a leader in the theory of the what would happen in humans used more of their brain and how they would gain control of the world around them.

This movie was interesting but to me it was the pushing of this what would happen if we used 100% of our brain stuff that struggled to fit into the movie. I really liked the styling and cinematography of this movie.  The fight and action sequences where pretty cool and kept me entertained.  I liked that this movie was slightly different then the bigger budget action movies and had some grittiness to it.
The acting was good enough and although I tend to think that Scarlet Johansson is overrated she was fair in this movie and besides the blankness of her face at time was good as Lucy.  Morgan Freeman is definitely the one who is expected for being an explainer of the science the movie is based around I see exactly why he was chosen for his part.
To me it was the ending part of the movie that was the low point of the movie because it was the control of everything and why can she do certain things but not others that bothered me, but as it was just a ninety minute action movie it didn't drag on.
I would recommend this for people who like action movies as it was pretty standard in enjoyment, had a different-ish approach to the plot, and didn't overplay its hand and lose my interest.

My Rating: 2