Saturday, January 25, 2014

I, Frankenstein (2014): Review

This weekend the most recent monster twist movie came out with I, Frankenstein and I am glad to say that it wasn't that bad.  It was released in 3D but I saw it in 2D and it worked well in that format.  Sometimes it can be quiet distracting to see the scenes that were obviously shot for the 3D effect but in this movie it didn't seem to focus on that.
I, Frankenstein is based on the graphic novel of the same name and stars Aaron Eckhart as Frankenstein's monster who takes on the name Adam in this movie.  He was created by Dr. Frankenstein in 1795 and when Dr. Frankenstein tries to destroy his creature the monster kills Frankenstein's wife and then leads to the death of the doctor himself.  Adam is sought out by Demons to learn how he came to be and discovers that there is a battle between demons (from hell) and gargoyles (from heaven). He discovers that he is wanted by the demon prince Neberiou, played by Bill Nighy, and has been brought to the knowledge of gargoyle queen Leonore, played by Miranda Otto, who doesn't know what the do with him.  Adam manages to stay out of this battle till modern day but then gets sick of being hunted by demons and decides to start hunting them himself.    He is then pulled into this battle between the demons and gargoyles and discovers that the ultimate goal of Neberious is to discover how to reanimate corpses so that he can have a army of monsters to destroy the world.  Adam is drawn to the scientist named Tara, played by Yvonne Strahovski, who is being used to discover the way to reanimate the dead.  Can Adam discover a desire to try and save the world, will Neberious be able to complete his evil plan, and can Leonore be able to protect the human race as she desires.  Also staring Jai Courtney as gargoyle warrior Gideon.
The main problem I had with this movie was how much was going on, mostly with all of the information swearing around to have it make scene.  As I was writing the blurb above I really saw how it was hard to set up the movie and plot without getting into all the details.  The details is what  sorta gum up the works and this movie falls into the pit that other movies have done where they try to explain the science of what is going on and give a lot of background information about why everything is happening.  Sometimes I think it is okay to just state what is happening and just let it be, I don't need to understand the science of how it is possible, its a monster movie, just let it be and state that there is stuff that makes it possible not explain to me that the electricity of eel was harness for a specific amount of time. I don't really care and just want to get on with the movie and what is happening in the story. Besides it being filled with too many little information details the overall movie was good and fit nicely into a PG-13 monster action movie.
This movie really goes for the PG-13 rating and it matches that style of film.  The way that they gargoyles were done and how the demons looked in the demonic form was ghoulish but not super scary.  I kept thinking that it had a very Buff the Vampire Slayer feel to it.  The production level of the movie was high, the mood of the movie was consistent throughout and nothing was too distracting.

There was a really good cast in this movie and although some of the dialogue was not award worthy, the actors did a good job, there were a lot of people given focus that ultimately were not a major force in the movie but as this is a monster movie with lots of destruction in it it fit with the overall movie.

Basically this movie was exactly what I expected it to be and standard for the movie that it was.  It is very much average but enjoyable to watch, assuming you don't get too caught up into all the attempts to explain the science and the wider scope of the battle between the light and dark.

My Rating: 2

Friday, January 17, 2014

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (2014): Review

I have officially decided that I really like Chris Pine as an action star.  Lately he has really been able to hold his own as an actor and produce good movies and the movies with him in them that I have seen lately I have really enjoyed.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is another instance in which Chris Pine has been able to shine as a great lead, but in this one he is captaining the ship solely on his own shoulders.  Where in the past he has been part of an ensemble, in this movie he is the title character and he does a great job.  

Jack Ryan is a character created by the author Tom Clancy and has been the title character in several movies and played by a few different actors.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit approaches the character and story line in a way that has become popular for different franchises lately and takes it back to the beginning.  Introducing the character as he begins his career and developing himself as a person, the character is also brought into the times, and addressed as if he is a more modern hero then one who was born in 1950. This time around we have Chris Pine playing Jack Ryan, a man who is attending college in London, working on his doctorate, when the world trade center is attacked on September 11th and decides to join the marines to serve his county.  During a helicopter crash, he is injured and hurts his back where he has to hard just to walk again.  There he meets Cathy Muller, played by Keira Knightly, who is a med student who is working to get her MD and is working a rotation as his physical therapist. 
 There relationship develops and in present day she is Jack's fiance.  When Jack is in recovery he is recruited by the CIA by Thomas Harper, played by Kevin Costner, to be an analysis and work in companies to see when terrorist may be working against the US financially.  Jack discovers that there is a plot in Russia to try and bring done the US, so he travels to Russia and meets Viktor Cherevin, played by Kenneth Branagh, the head of the plot against the US. Jack expects to be working as an analyst but is forced to take a more active role in his mission, especially after being teamed up with Harper and having Cathy surprise him with showing up.  Can Jack discover what the plot is and prevent it from being implemented in time?
Like I said this was a solid action movie and I really enjoyed it.  It was good all around and had things that I enjoy in action movies.  The story kept moving and had enough character dynamics to make it more then just stinging together action sequences. Although there was nothing surprising in how all the pieces came together is is entertaining and enjoyable to watch. I think Chris Pine did a great job captaining this ship and I hope that this movie makes money just so I can get to see a sequel.  Kevin Costner and Kenneth Branagh were good, and Keira Knightly wasn't annoying as she sometimes can be in here movies, but she really does need to eat a sandwich or something and put some meet on her bones, she was looking really think in this movie.  I liked the interplay between all the characters and they didn't gum up the works with too many supporting characters.  Yes those around these few main characters were just about their function in the plot but everything worked together for me.
The movie did do some of the tight camera shot action sequences that I don't like but it wasn't too bad and it was only really obvious when the sequences where in a bigger space.  The production value on this movie was good and as I was watching the movie nothing was distracting or seemed jarring in the effects or CGI.
This is a good action movie and is a movie I recommend to see.  It is kept in the PG-13 range and only has violence in it so it would be appropriate for those who are younger.  

My Raring: 3

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Trailer

Watch the How to Train Your Dragon 2 Trailer here:

How to Train Your Dragon (2010) is one of my favorite animated movies of the last decade and I have been excited to see the sequel since I first heard it was being made.  It follows Hiccup and Toothless as they have aged a few years and have defiantly become closure.  I am interested to see where the story goes, and I hope that it all comes together well especially whit the addition of Hiccup's mother.  I really hope this one doesn't let me down because the first one was so fantastic.  If you haven't see it you definitely should.

Veronica Mars: The movie (2014) Trailer

See the new Veronica Mars Theatrical Trailer- that I got really excited seeing when I saw my Friday Night Movie.

After many years of waiting and a successful Kickstarter campaign the Veronica Mars movie is soon to be here.  Being released on March 14th, you can see this young sleuth who has been setting her adult life up is drawn back into her former habits.  Although I was never one of those people who kept pushing for this movie to be made, I am happy that they have and am looking forward to seeing come out this soon.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

12 Years a Slave (2013): Review

12 Years a Slave is a movie that although very good, you need a strong constitution to watch.  It is based on a book by the same name which is an autobiography published in 1853 by Solomon Northrup.  A born free New York black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery.  It took him twelve years of living as a slave before he was able to get word to his friends and family in New York and be able to rejoin his life.  This film is a depiction of those twelve years and it does not take any punches in showing the experiences of Solomon during these twelve years.  It shows kidnapping, verbal and physical abuse, whippings, rape, and derogatory language.  
Although this film has an all around fantastic cast, is well acted, and well produced it is hard to watch, especially during the moments of abuse.  So like I said it is not for the faint of heart or people who have difficulty watching these types of movies.  
12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, as Solomon Northrup who is tricked, kidnapped, and sold into slavery under a different name. He was taken to Louisiana where he was originally sold to William Ford, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, and then to Edwin Epps, played by Michael Fassbender. The movie also stars Lupita Nyong'o as fellow slave Patsey, Sarah Paulson as Mistress Epps, and Brad Pitt as Bass.
This movie has a fantastic overall cast and everyone played their characters believable.  The main thing that I struggled with was that at times the story was confusing.  It starts at a point in the middle of the story and then jumps back to the beginning.  This movie encompasses twelve years of time but within the movie there is no sense of how much time has happened between events.  I think just adding a little bit more information or at least putting the dates up on screen to indicate time passing.  There were moments where they did this so it would have gone along with the rest of the film.
You can tell that a lot of work was put into the sets and filming of the movie and everything was well produced.  There were some times that dragged and during these times there was a little obvious emoting from the main actor, which I found a little distracting.  He did a good job but at times, for me the supporting cast helped him along. 
This film was good but it was hard to watch and is not one that I would put on my movie rotation to watch repeatedly.  It is worth watching and I appreciated that it didn't seem to be preachy but just showing what was going on.  Although Solomon struggled to get his freedom back he was seeking only his own rescue.

My Rating: 3

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Legend of Hercules (2014): Review

Although I was not expecting much from this movie I have been waiting to see The Legend of Hercules since they started showing the trailers.  This movie is one of the examples of movies that are not very good in overall artistic value but it is a fun ride throughout.  I have always been a fan of action movies, as well as Greek mythology. I am a child of the nineteen nineties and watching Hercules on television was a big part of that time, so a big screen version of this movie was something that excites me like any new version of my favorite stories and lore.  This movie was exactly what I expected it to be and therefor my enjoyment factor was high.
The Legion of Hercules is one of the two Hercules movies that are coming out today and this one focuses on Hercules, played by Kellan Lutz as a young man and combines his trials and the story line of the movie into a short amount of time. The movie starts with Queen Alcmene, played by Roxanne McKee, seeking help through the goddess Hera to save her people from her husband King Amphitryon's, played by Scott Adkins, wrath.  The queen is gifted with bearing a second son who will be the son of Zeus and will be destined to bring peace to the land.  Although the goddess Hera names him Hercules, he does not grow up knowing who he true father is and always treated as second fiddle by the King.  He grows up and falls in love with Princess Hebe, played by Gaia Weiss, who his older brother Iphicles played by Laim Garrigan, covets.  Because of this Hercules is sent by the King to his presumed death but is ended up sold into slavery along with Captain Sotirius, played by Liam McIntyre.  They must try to battle they way out of slavery, try to save Hercules lady love before she is forced to marry Iphicles, and bring his homeland to peace.
Like I said this movie was exactly what I expected it to be but I did enjoy watching it. I was in a good mood going into it because I had seen for the first time two trailers for movies I am excited for, but this movie did deliver on what it was advertised to be.  Since it is a period action movie being released in January, it is automatically going to be a B-level movie. No one in the cast is known by the masses, although they are known in their niches by fans.  The diagonal is a bit cliche and forced, and the acting is a little over the top.  The action and special effects were alright but seemed to be made for 3D and I don't know why it wasn't released in 3D.  The action scenes were good and didn't go on for too long.  One of the good things about this movie was the pace and the overall feel of the movie was consistent.  The acting could have been better, but the over pressured acting and speech went with the poor dialogue, which went with the scope of the battles, and the overall cinematography.  From the beginning, it kept me focused and I wasn't bored.  This is definitely a movie that is worth watching if on television or for a rental but isnt really necessary to see in theaters.
Overall I can see why it was given a very good score or had good word of mouth going into the movie, but I defiantly do not think is was as bad as everyone was saying and overall I enjoyed it.  If you like these mythology type action movies and don't expect it to be award winning, it is a good action flick.

My Rating: 2-

Thursday, January 9, 2014

August: Osage County (2013): Review

With all the buzz about the new Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts movie, going into watching August: Osage County I was expecting a lot.  This movie was well acted and had all around good acting, but it had a forced quality to it that prevented me from thinking it one of the best movies of its kind.  It is absolutely nomination worthy but for me not award winner worthy.
August: Osage County is the movie version of a play by the same name and as I watched the movie, I could really see how the story played well to the stage.  It was set mainly in the family manor and was about interesting characters and their messed up relationships. Although Meryl Streep is billed as lead actress, to me it was more of a Julia Robert's led movie, the mom used to be the center of everything, but in this story it was the daughter who is now the lynch pin between everyone.  
August: Osage County is so named because it occurs during the month of August in Osage County, Oklahoma. There is the a house that connects all the characters because it is the Weston family home.  Violet Weston, played by Meryl Streep, is an old women dealing with mouth cancer who has had an ongoing addiction to pills.  She is in a state because her alcoholic husband Beverly Weston has left home and no one knows where he is, and soon it is discovered that he drowned himself.  Because of the father being missing the family descends on the old home.  You have Barbara, played by Julia Roberts, her estranged husband Bill, played by Ewan McGregor, and their fourteen year old daughter Jean, played by Abigail Breslin.  There is the old maid sister who has stayed closed to home Ivy, played by Julianne Nickolas.  Violets how'd her husband stay with her sister Mattie Fae Aiken, played by Margo Martindale, her husband Charlie Aiken, played by Chris Cooper, and their hopeless son Little Charles, played by Benedict Cumberbatch.  You have horrible with men sister Karen Westen, played by Juliette Lewis, and her kinda creepy boyfriend Steve, played by Dermot Mulroney.  Also thrown in the mix is newly hired cook Johanna, played by Misty Upham.

There is a lot that is going on in this dysfunctional family and everyone is given a little time to show how they fit into all of this craziness that being said it really is about the role that Violet and Barbara have in the family and with each other.  There are moments were every one is playing happy family and there are times where things are really caustic. This movie looks at them all at a specific time and place in their lives, with the forced togetherness of Beverly's death but nothing really gets resolved and although it looks at each character and expression of who they represent there is no development of character.  For me it seemed like there were purposely pushing the envelope really far at times and that things were thrown in just to make the characters have more problems and reasons to be deceitful and distrustful of each other.
The acting of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts is really good and everything about the movie had a lot thought into it, each movement, shot, lighting choice, and voice intonation seemed thought out but because of it at times things didn't seem to have a natural flow.  It was as if it was done with the understanding and knowledge that it was great so it had a bit of that overall feeling to it.  To me I prefer movies that feel a little less completely put together.  And even though this movie had a lot of craziness it still felt extremely calculated.
All that being said, I did like the movie and think that it does deserve being mentioned for its plot and acting, and I would recommend it to people who like this kind of dark drama.

My Rating: 3-

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Philomena (2013): Review

I have been looking forward to seeing Judi Dench in her new movie Philomena since I first heard about it and I am glad to say it is worth the wait.  I really liked this movie and think that it is defeniatly a must see for anyone who likes a drama movie or as the harden journalist Martin would say "a human interest story." This is based on a true story and the book of Martin Sixsmith called The Lost Child of Philomena Lee.

Philomena starts Judi Dench as the title character an old Irish women who has been trying to find information about her son who was adopted out when he was little.  This movie goes between two timelines, one of young Philomena, played by Sophie Kennedy Clark, who gets pregnant as a young girl and goes to work in a convent run by nuns who take in fallen girls who are pregnanat.  When they go to work there they agree to give up their children for adoption and Philomena never knew were her son ended up as she never wanted him to be adopted out.  The other stotryline is about present day Philomena, played by Judi Dench, who has been trying to find out information about her son for years, on his fifteeith birthday, Philomena tells her daughter about how she lost her son and is connected to an cynical, looking for direction journalist Martin Sixsmith, played by Steven Coogan. He takes it on as a story to help her find out information about her son and along the way he develops a relationship with Philomena. Many things are discovered about Philomena and who he son is and a look at how things were hard for young women in Ireland when they were Catholic and found themselves pregnant when young and unwed.  Athough this story is set around seeking the information about Philomena's son, it is very much about the relationship between her and Martin and how they both are while learning this information.
I really, really, really liked this movie and there were moments where I found myself crying about all the things that Philomena went through and really connecting with wanting everything to work out and her to get the information about her son.  Judi Dench was fantastic and from the beginning of the movie she pulled me in so that I cared about her and how much love she had for this son who she had lost as a small boy.  She was a birth mother who just wanted to know if her son was alright and if he ever thought about her.  I found myself going through this emotional journey with her, while seeing how hardened Martin was trying to find a story through Philomena and dealing with his feelings toward God and the "evil nuns."  Steven Coogan was fantastic as Martin and the chemestry between Coogan and Dench was superb.

Anyone who likes drams, Judi Dench, and movies that connect with the audience should go see this movie.  I think it is one of the best acted female lead movies that I have seen in a long time, and that not just because I like Judi Dench but because she just seemed to embody the role. The settings in Ireland were buitiful, but it was not the focus it was just a nice touch in the background.
The production value was good in this movie, the pace kept it moving for a drama, and the focus was on the people in the movie.  Go and see this movie.

My Rating: 4