Catching Up

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything here. I haven’t felt the desire to really put my thoughts about what I’m watching into words. Not to say I haven’t watched things lately that weren’t worth writing about. I’ve slowed down a lot on movies, but I’ve watched some great TV Shows. I’ll do another quick fire of things I’ve watched recently to get my juices flowing. Then the next movie I plan to watch, At Once, will hopefully have something worth writing a full post about.

The Newsroom (2012)

This is a TV Show that aired on HBO for 2.5 seasons. I watched the first episode and was hooked. I actually couldn’t make myself stop watching it. I watched the first season and a half in just 2 days. I thought the premise to try and run a news broadcast that focuses on the news and not ratings was interesting because I hate watching the news for that exact reason. I immediately fell in love with the ideas, the characters and the dialogue. I’m a fan of the fast talking sarcastic quips they do fairly often. I laughed a lot and ended up caring about almost every character on the show. Season 2 was brilliantly laid out and made it so I had no choice but to keep watching. They start off somewhere in the middle of the season’s plot and then fill in the pieces with each episode until you’re caught up. I watched the first episode and just had to know what could’ve possibly happened that was so bad. Season 3 took a little bit of a dive with the first 2 episodes feeling dull, and the series finale wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t that great. If they were able to do a full last season and finish it off stronger I would have given it a perfect score. It’s definitely worth a watch, just make sure you have a couple hours set aside cause you won’t be able to watch just one episode.

Verdict: 9(.5)/10 


carolCarol (2016)

I absolutely loved this movie, it’s now one of my favorites and is on my regular re-watch list. I’ve seen it twice and am probably going to go for a 3rd watch soon. Maybe tonight because writing about it makes me want to see it again. It was so beautiful and restrained, nothing felt forced or unrealistic. It was slow but it sucked me in completely. Carol is kind, sophisticated and knows what she wants. There is something about her that just draws you in and it’s easy to see how Therese felt drawn to her. The movie had ups and downs that kept me emotionally invested and I felt so much throughout the entire movie. That feeling of thinking you found something special and then having it ripped away from you is devastating. I don’t want to say too much on the plot cause I think not knowing how it turns out really amplifies every decision the characters make and leaves you in suspense. It’s one of my top favorite romance movies and 100% recommend it.

Verdict: 9/10


hushHush (2016)

This is a horror movie where the main protagonist is both deaf and mute. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. As far as thriller/horror movies go, this is one of the most suspenseful and thrilling ones I’ve seen. I really wanted the main character, Maddie, to succeed and get out of there alive. Every scene is straight out of all the other horror movies out there, but it’s elevated to a new level when we know she can’t hear anything. He could be coming up behind her and she would never know it. When she’s trying to be quiet walking on the roof, she doesn’t know if she’s making lots of noise or not. That unknown makes it all the more suspenseful. Not to mention the fact that they inject some realism into the story with her not being able to load the crossbow.  Great, she got a weapon, but she’s still just a regular person and didn’t immediately become some badass who can shoot a man with a crossbow from across the room. Not that I don’t love that, but when I don’t have to suspense my disbelief as much, I enjoy movies a lot more. This one is on Netflix and is definitely worth the time.

Verdict: 9/10


10_cloverfiled_lane.jpg10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

As I was writing my other reviews, I realized a common actor among them–John Gallagher Jr.. He was in the Newsroom, Hush and in this review’s movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane. This is a “sequel but not really” to Cloverfield which I liked a lot when it came out. I didn’t know much about the movie before I started watching it and felt myself getting frustrated wondering when the Cloverfield things were going to start happening. So much so, that I almost couldn’t finish the movie because I thought it was crap and a waste of time. So I paused it, went over to IMDb and realized that it’s a standalone movie that merely exists in the same universe as the other. Once I understood that, it became a lot better of a movie. It was suspenseful and mysterious. I kept going back and forth in my mind wondering if John Goodman was telling the truth or if he was lying to keep her imprisoned. If it were me in that situation, I wouldn’t want to believe him because all I could think is that I’d end up as some idiot who was tricked into living in a bunker for 10 years. Momma didn’t raise no fool, so I really felt her predicament. On the flip side,  I’m really crushing on John Gallagher Jr. now. He was so sweet in this movie as Emmett and in the Newsroom. Ok sure, he was like a serial killer in Hush… but he was also in Short Term 12 which was an equally amazing movie. It all balances out in the end and I loved his character in this movie. When Emmett, let’s just say, was no longer part of the movie my jaw hit the floor. I love when movies have balls and just shock me with a plot decision. Overall, this was a really cool standalone movie that I will definitely re-watch.

Verdict: 8/10


And lastly, one sentence verdicts on some of the other movies I feel deserve a shout out.

10.000 km (2014) – Another great romance movie, except the characters start out in love and the movie progresses from there. Verdict: 8/10

Victoria (2015) – A 2h 18m movie all done in 1 continuous shot with strong characters and plot. Verdict: 7/10

Moulin Rouge! (2001) – A loud, obnoxious, annoying movie with weak characters and plot. Verdict: 5/10

Ant-Man (2015) – Pretty boring super hero movie that was lacking something that I just can’t put my finger on. Verdict: 5/10

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – Great movie but needs a re-cut without the Mr. Yunioshi scenes… Verdict: 8/10

 

Back and Bigger and Badder than Ever!

Ok well maybe a slight exaggeration there… I’m back and the same as ever. It’s been awhile since my last post and I’ve watched many movies (27 to be exact) since then, but haven’t been able to find the words to review them. Fear not, my ability to put thoughts into words has returned! I will be rapid firing off some short, quick reviews of the movies I’ve watched that I can still remember well enough.

Casablanca (1942)

casablanca I think this is the one that broke my blog writing spirit. Such a classic, but honestly not very enjoyable for me. It suffered too much from a case of unbelievable romance. For a movie in the romance genre, if I’m not buying it… I’m not enjoying it.

Verdict: 7/10 Meh


 Ex Machina (2015)

ex_machinaOn the other hand, this is the one that almost re-invigorated my blog writing spirit. I was looking forward to this one since I saw the trailer, and it did not disappoint. I loved every minute of it. That house was beautiful and the story was very intriguing. I’m a huge sucker for these sci-fi movies and with AI in general, so it really hit home for me. The implications of the ending completely blew my mind and made me look twice at every one I pass on the street. Who really knows? I sure don’t! For all I know, you’re a robot scanning the internet for information to one day enslave the human race. And for all you know, I’m a robot who literally lost their ability to put words into thoughts and was out getting repairs this entire time.

Verdict: 9/10 I’m keeping an eye on you…


The Imitation Game (2014)

imitation_gameAnother of the movies I was looking forward to. Sadly, in this case, it did disappoint. It disappointed hardcore. If they gave an award for most anti-climactic movie, this one would definitely be in the running. It just ended… that’s it. The pacing was way off and it was hard for me to stay interested in it. It was another of those movies with scenes that are tossed in because they need to quickly advance the plot. For example, Turing’s girlfriend, Joan, gets in a fight with him and tells him he is wasting his time. He will never solve the problem. This shows us that there is some turmoil in the relationship. That is a great little scene to toss in, but then immediately after this he asks her to marry him. If they were going to show us problems in their relationship only to have them instantly be mended, what was the point? Either split that scene up and sprinkle that seed of relationship doubt throughout other scenes, or ignore it completely and just have them be “happy”.

Verdict: 7/10 Needs to come with a free extra large coffee


Pitch Black (2000)

I knew exactly what I was getting into when I watched this movie and it actually wasn’t too bad. As an action type movie, it was interesting enough. Yeah the special effects were pretty awful, but I’ve seen a lot worse. I would recommend watching this with someone else just so you can laugh at the cheese factor together.

Verdict: 7/10 Entertaining enough


Enemy (2013)

doubleIf you’ve heard of this movie, you’ve probably also heard, “Wtf was that spider at the end?!” so I’m not going to go there. Yeah, the ending is a little weird, and the whole movie might also be a little weird, but it has a Fight Club type appeal for me. I didn’t realize what was actually happening the entire time with the whole double thing, only after I was reading posts about the movie did it finally click. I think you’re better off not really understanding the movie, then understanding it and then watching it again through a different pair of eyes. This is exactly what I plan to do at some point… until then the verdict will be pretty average, but this is an interesting little movie for sure. Jake Gyllenhaal is awesome!

Verdict: 7/10 Weird, but interesting


Honorable Mentions

Tokyo Godfathers (2003) Verdict: 8/10 Make it through the first 10-15 minutes and you’ll get into it

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Infuriating and sad

Citizenfour (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Very interesting and informative

Still Alice (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Sad… really abrupt ending though

OXV: The Manual (2013) Verdict: 8/10 Really weird, just stick with it and it gets better and better

Rebecca (1940) Verdict: 8/10 Entertaining and likeable characters


Dishonorable Mentions

Serpico (1973) Verdict: 6/10 Bad music, slowly paced, semi-anti-climatic ending

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Verdict: 6/10 Willie is one of the most annoying character I’ve watched, the rest of the movie is pretty solid though

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Verdict: 6/10 Wasn’t as good as I was expecting, might re-watch at some point

Fitzcarraldo (1982) Verdict: 5/10 Just really boring, a pain to sit through

Interstellar (2014)

So I finally got around to watching this since the DVD sort of came out. I have very mixed feelings and I’m not sure exactly what I think of it. I’ll go with the traditional format and start with what I did like. Obviously, the visuals were stunning, the other planets looked beautiful and the general atmosphere was just great. Some of the science parts of the movie were really interesting and for the first maybe 1.5 hours I was really into it. After that I feel like it went off the rails and changed direction which didn’t really sit well with me.

The biggest problem with the movie for me is the overall script/story. I don’t really understand why NASA didn’t know where Cooper was the entire time. It’s not like he’s in hiding, how hard would it be to find his address or phone number and ask him to fly the space shuttle. I was willing to put that aside and not count it against the movie, but then NASA starts telling him their entire plan within the first few hours and I find that hard to believe. While I think the acting was good, young Murph suffered from a case of overacting. I guess you can argue that she’s pretty young, but it really took me out of the moment, specifically the scene where her dad gave her the watch. Speaking of taking me out of the moment, all the talk of love made me sigh the biggest sigh I’ve ever sighed. Scientists almost disregarding logic and science entirely because of love made me feel like I was watching an after school special. Now another problem I had with the movie is how Doyle died. He stares at his impending doom instead of hauling ass back into the shuttle. I don’t really understand why he needed to be out of the shuttle when Brand was being brought back in when he could’ve easily been half way inside. If Brand didn’t make it back then would he have stayed outside to die with her? Doesn’t make sense to me, what a pointless death. And while I’m on the topic of not making sense, let’s fast forward to the last 30 minutes of the movie. Murph sets her brother’s crops on fire and tries to steal his wife and children away while he’s gone. When he comes back, he should be furious at her… but she says complete nonsense to him and hugs him and he just stands there and takes it. No repercussions from that act of sisterly love at all.

I guess I have a lot of negatives to say about the movie, but overall I did enjoy it so that was enough to pull the verdict up. If they took some of the cheese out I probably would’ve gone up some more.

Verdict: 7/10

Toy Story 2 (1999) vs. The Lego Movie (2014)

I have a back log of movies to review after yesterday and after watching such similar yet completely different movies I felt this would be the best way to explain my impressions. Toy Story 2 has already established characters with personalities and are all different and interesting. The Lego Movie has… more characters than I can count… some of them have personality, most of them don’t. In Toy Story 2, the jokes are wittier and not so in your face. You know that the movie is made for kids but it still attracts an adult audience. I might add that I also laughed during this movie and I liked the part when they where trying to cross the street under the cones. Good stuff.  The Lego Movie has the absolute worst “jokes” I have ever heard in my life. When Emmet sees Wyldstyle for the first time and he makes that terrible noise for like 15 seconds I wanted to punch him in the face… I almost turned off the movie at that point. Yelling spaceship over and over is NOT a joke. It is not funny, there is absolutely no reason to laugh at that. The jokes were so bad I felt insulted that anybody expected me to laugh. In TS2, the voice acting is top notch for pretty much everyone involved. Plus they had Newman be the bad guy… you can’t go wrong with Newman.  In the Lego Movie there were tons of good actors, and because it’s lego they had to legofy their voices to sound like kids sounding like adults. It was really annoying and honestly, with the whole premise of the movie, I don’t think it was even necessary. If we’re meant to be watching a kid playing with Legos, how was Lord Business already sounding like Will Ferrell? The real life dad wasn’t even in the movie at that point. The decision to do the voices like this was just wrong for a feature length movie. It would have worked in a short 5m clip on Youtube, but not here. In TS2 the script knows what it needs to say and what it needs to SHOW the audience. The dialogue is realistic and believable so it lets you get into the world where Toys are alive. In LM, the script narrates every thing the characters do and what everything looks like. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t have my instructions!” We get it, you like instructions… we got that from the first 10 minutes and it’s fully ingrained into our heads. How about just saying “I don’t know what to do” and not spoon feeding us everything. I feel like the director stopped the movie, turned to the audience and explained the whole scene to us in every damn line. Let the movie speak for itself!

Both these movies are originally made for kids, but the LM feels like it was written by a kid too. You can go ahead and argue that the LM is done this way because it was about a kid playing with Legos but there is no excuse for sloppy, repetitive writing. The writers did a TERRIBLE job of adapting this idea to film. I felt like I was watching somebody playing legos. The fun of lego is not watching OTHER people play, it’s playing yourself. Maybe I should have said this earlier, but I was a kid once and I did play with legos. I’d watch a VHS in the basement and play with the family box of legos. I would have my favourite little lego people, and build them houses and all that crap. I remember what it was like and was receptive to the idea. I even had this lego pizza delivery game which was pretty cool at the time. This movie did not make me feel nostalgic about my childhood at all. They missed a great opportunity here, especially with the success of the lego games. I guess I haven’t talked too much about Toy Story in this post, but that’s because it was a good movie. It had great animation, as expected, great music, story, characters, pacing. I don’t have too much to complain about it. I always remember TS2 specifically for the fact that I never got to watch it as a kid. I had Toy Story 1 on VHS but never the 2nd one and I always wanted to see it. The LM I will reluctantly give credit to its animation, but in 2014 I don’t know if I even should. Animation these days is spectacular and that should be the standard so it’s nothing to write home about anymore.

Toy Story 2 Verdict: 8/10

The Lego Movie Verdict: 5/10