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Emmet is a nobody. He is so normal and boring that even people he
thinks are his friends don't remember him. He lives his life by the
instructions, but one day he goes off the beaten path and finds himself
deemed "the special one" by a rebel group hellbent on bringing an end
to evil dominance in the land.
I had heard of good things from the film, I just didn't expect to cry from laughter. The Lego Movie is my kind of humour, fast paced, sometimes stupid, completely random and chaotic. The Lego Movie is all this wrapped in a beautifully created lego world that will have you smiling at all the little pieces that make up the brilliance of the animation. A must see film that is consistently funny and entertaining from start to finish. Bring the whole family.
The story involves in the old tale of an ordinary guy mistaken for some kind of hero, then he learns to trust in himself and finds the courage to become the hero the people thought he originally was. Nothing really new in terms of storytelling, but the presentation, the uniqueness of the art and the witty humour make for one tremendous ride from start to finish. The film feels like it never stops from the get go. Constantly on hyper speed, the pace never drags and the kids will never be bored.
Filled to the brim with voice acting, Chris Pratt leads the film with Elizabeth Banks playing the romantic interest. Supporting roles include Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Charlie Day, Allison Brie, Nick Offerman, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson and dozens of others in smaller cameo roles all fit the bill nicely.
The imaginative landscape is truly inspiring here. Thrust into different lego worlds we'll be in the Wild West at one point, then stuck on a Pirate Ship the next. Despite the film being entirely CGI, you'll swear to yourself that half the film must have been done with actual legos. The attention to detail is awe inspiring.
The Lego Movie is indeed hilarious and a must see. It's early in the new year, but I expect this to be the best animated film this year. Can't wait for the sequel.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Todd brings his girlfriend up to the family cottage with the intention
of proposing to her. Problems arise when his loser of a brother,
Salinger shows up with his on/off girlfriend and ruins everything.
Things go from bad to worse when the two brothers get into a pushing
match, which ends with Salinger dead. Now Todd must keep it together
before other people find out.
Cottage Country takes awhile before it finds the groove it wants to be in. This happens once the brother is killed. Everything leading up to that is really hit and miss comedy and set up. Labine doesn't seem comfortable, Akerman doesn't have much to do and Punch is incredibly annoying. Once the conflict arises, meaning the dead brother, the film finally gets into the right balance of comedy and horror...even though it goes lite on the horror.
Labine plays Todd, and everyman that people tend to walk over, be it his boss, brother and even wife. There is a bit of Tucker & Dale vs Evil intention here, with the character and overall theme in the film, but Cottage Country fails to deliver the laughs and gore. Instead we get chuckles here and there, mainly from the cast and the situation they are in. Akerman surprised me here. She held her own as the marriage obsessed wife. I forgot she could do comedy well.
The film tries this balancing act, but never quiet finds the footing. There are oddly placed scenes in which Todd sees his dead brother talking to him, but this adds nothing to the story and doesn't happen enough. There are only two scenes we get to see this interaction and decay of his psychological state. There were some tense and funny moments when the couple were trying their best to keep the murders under wraps, but not one memorable scene that stands out as really funny. The film had a decent premise (although it was a bit of a stretch) and it didn't really seem to take any chances. I would have appreciated it more if it had.
Cottage Country is a decent Canadian comedy horror that is lite on both. If you can get past the awful choice of having Lucy Punch do an odd accent for cheap laughs, and you can appreciate the ludicrous aspect of the premise and these horrible characters, then give Cottage Country a look. Just don't expect much, you'll leave a little bit surprised.
Abigail is a well respected nurse who takes on a young up and coming
nurse as her protégé. When the sun sets though, she turns her skills to
maiming and killing those who deems "untrustworthy men".
Nurse 3D had some pretty big hype surrounding it with much of that due to the release of some NSFW marketing material. A naked Paz de la Huerta (what else is new?) on the poster, covered in blood, was risqué enough to attract the internet's attention. Throw into the mix a very beautiful Katrina Bowden and her nude scenes and you have yourself an 80's exploitation flick about women who murder cheating husbands!!!! Am I right? Wrong. This film could have been so much better, it had to potential, but it fails to make any lasting impression.
First, the film is in 3D. So we get the in your face death scenes, which I believe amounts to two or three. There are only a handful of scenes that jump out at the audience. Very cheap stuff that doesn't even begin to warrant the extra "effort" put into it. Second, we have a very confused and meddling plot. We have our lead character, the clearly insane Abigail, played by Paz de la Huerta who ups the sex appeal to 150%. She has this hatred for men who cheat on their wives, hmm, I wonder if we'll ever see a flashback telling us why. So we get two...count em....two scenes that detail her taking care of these men. A third scene involves a pervert who has sex with his employees, being tortured SAW style.
The deaths are completely unimaginative and lame. The climax has her change her motive and kill aimlessly anyone who gets in her way. She ends up covered in blood from head to toe. This climax sequences is laughable at best. How many times are characters going to look in the opposite direction for a split second, only to find Abigail suddenly gone, disappeared and on the loose again? Completely redundant.
We never get any closure from Bowden's character, or Corbin Bleu, who plays her boyfriend. We are literally left hanging in the dark as to their fate because the film conveniently forgets about them in the last ten minutes. Abigail becomes obsessed with Danni (Bowden) to the point where she will kill anyone, just to be with her. This of course makes Danni feels uncomfortable and sparks more rage and bloodlust from Abigail. A little Fatal Attraction in there.
There is a lot of nudity from De la Huerta, she walks around in skimpy nurse outfits (which fits the exploitation genre and in other scenes she has nothing on at all. Bowden has two quick shower scenes, that will leave the viewer wanting more. And with all this...the film doesn't feel sexy at all. It feels excessive. The film desperately wants to be an Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS, but never takes the risks to go there.
Nurse 3D is a pass for horror fans and even those who just want to see some naked women should stick with Paz in her other work, like Boardwalk Empire. Nurse 3D is a hot mess and these nurses have no cure for crap.
Operation Red Wings is a botched attempt at trying to capture/kill the
Taliban leader. After letting a group of goat herders go free, the four
men on the mission find themselves between a rock and dozens upon
dozens of Taliban.
Lone Survivor right off the bat tells you one thing if you are not familiar with the story. Only one of these men survive. I'm putting my money on Marky Mark.
Peter Berg, who helmed the disastrous Battleship, somewhat redeems himself here with a realistic take on a poorly planned Navy Seals operation. Berg uses restraint in some much needed areas, which builds tension. Little to know music, dead silence is used to escalate the fear and it works to great effect. Then he goes an kind of ruins it with some melodramatic music cues at other areas, but for the most part, this is an excellently directed film.
I point to the sequence in which the characters literally throw themselves off a cliff in order to get away from the gunfire. The stunt coordination for them tumbling down the cliff side is some of the most brutal things put to film. How many times have you seem people jump off a cliff side and tumble down the side in a nice choreographed sequence that has them "hurting" a bit once they hit the ground. These guys are thrown around, break bones, cut skin, bleed, cough blood and worse. Watching them being thrown like rag dolls heightens the realism that was needed in Lone Survivor.
The film begins and ends with real footage of the men in the Navy Seals. Berg's nod to patriotism for the film. The dramatic parts are too concerned telling the story of these four fellas fight for survival to be bothered with the American flag waving propaganda. The film is small, intimate and personal.
All four men give great performances. They all have genuine chemistry with each other, which is what is needed for you to root for their survival. You'd think because they're American and the enemy is the Taliban that it would be automatic, but you'd be surprised. Eric Bana has a small role, anyone could have honestly played that part.
The film takes its time to build up to the action sequences, once it hits that note, it never lets up. These men are in the fight for their lives, a fight most of them lose.
A man struggling with connecting to woman as a result of a recent
divorce decides to get an Operating System that manages to be self
aware, intuitive and lovely. He falls in love with Samantha, as she
calls herself. But can a human have a real relationship with an
I loved being in this world. Jonze creates an incredible world in which he depicts a future that seems not too far away. Bright colours and fashion from our history, such as high waist pants, blends awkwardly well with the advancement of technology showcased here. Not once did I ever think that in our near, or distant future, that we would not achieve what Jonze envisions here.
All of Jonze's films are high concept, Being John Malkovich, Where The Wild Thing Are, etc...you'll see a lot of melancholy. Her fits well with his resume, but comes off as a more mature and held back piece. I was invested in the characters, more so than any other film this year. Hell, Her depicts the most honest and real relationship this year and one of them is nothing but ones and zeros. Both characters here are yearning for something more, Theodore, played by Phoenix yearns for connection. He needs to be with someone, but can't emotionally because he still wants to be with his wife. Samantha, voiced by Scar-Jo, yearns to be more than an operating system. She wants to feel, learn, be alive. This film mirrors what these characters go through, which is self discovery.
The film doesn't look at the technology as our saviour, nor does it look at it as our curse. It's simply part of our lives and the use of this allows us to examine relationships in a slightly new way. We are disconnected from people due to our devices, but we feel more connected with people because of them. The film manages to make the viewer wrestle with the question, what makes us human? Especially with an AI character and having so many people in the film walk around, in a zombie state, connected to their highly advanced devices. All the people Theodore sees in one way or another mirror him. They all have their ear pieces in, connecting with technology.
Phoenix is marvellous here. I'm not a huge fan of him, but I simply loved his performance here. I believed everything he did here and I think it had to do with his eyes. He invokes such sympathy with just his eyes, that Phoenix the actor disappears and Theodore the awkwardly emotionally detached AI lover emerges. He tries to fill his void of loneliness with the technology, as do most of the characters depicted in the film.
Amy Adams shows up as a neighbour to Phoenix and best friend. She's here to showcase to us that he is able to talk to and connect with a human being, he's not necessarily this recluse. This is a nice counter to the technology aspect. There is a brother-sister relationship here, which was crucial for the film. This helps us to see the technology as more of a tool for the characters, than simply a good or bad aspect of our future.
Her is heartfelt, funny and depressing. If your asking yourself, can a human and an OS have sex? Her answers this question, in a unique way that lets us focus on the sound and not the visuals. Her is without a doubt extremely inventive in the way it approached and handled the typical generic genre about romance and relationships. Her is one of the best films of the year and I highly recommend it.
Can an American remake of a Korean film that deals with some pretty
intense and disturbing stuff be more sick and twisted? The answer is
yes, but that doesn't make this Spike Lee directed remake any better.
Joe Doucett is a drunk, a terrible husband and father, he can't even close a deal without being slapped in the face for his behaviour. All this stops once he is abducted and thrown into a hotel make shift prison, where he spends the next 20 years locked away. Randomly, he is released, now he must find out who released him and why.
Why mess with something that isn't broken? That's something that runs through my mind. Why remake a film only a few year later, as was the case with Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, just to get American audiences who are too lazy to read see a movie? Whatever the case may be, we have OldBoy. Now the question remains, does the film live up to the original and does it stand on its own ground? The answer is no on both counts.
Brolin is the lead and does a pretty admirable job as a man who must fight personal demons in order to overcome his troubles. He is thrown into a modern world, not knowing how to use the internet or the newest apple product. He does have a new set of skills though, 20 year locked away gave him a purpose and now he is no longer the fat drunk he once was. He's a lean, mean fighting machine and we have a carbon copy of the infamous hallway one take to prove that. Granted this addition seems out of place and simply there to be a nod to the original, it was nice to see an effort put in, even if it does fail in comparison.
The young lady who aids in his quest to find the man who has imprisoned him is Elizabeth Olsen. She continues to impress with each film and brings some humanity to this film, which seems devoid of any. This remake fails to make me believe their relationship at any point though. That's one thing this film fails at miserably. I never bought character relationships and I didn't feel like he was on a journey to discover his captor.
The man who has imprisoned him is Sharlto Copley. He has a very disturbing a troubled past and the man who is left is damaged beyond belief. Samuel L. Jackson has a small role as the man who runs the hotel. He plays his usual swearing self, complete with mohawk.
This isn't a Spike Lee Joint, instead it is a Spike Lee film. Does this mean he has matured? Who knows. His version of OldBoy lacks flair, emotion and for those who have seen the original any genuine shock. Lee does manage to make the film more disturbing with some flashbacks, but that doesn't make the film. I can say that the film WAS indeed, better than I had anticipated. It's not lazy and it tries, it just doesn't hit any of the notes it needs to.
After being killed in a raid on a drug kingpin, Nick (Ryan Reynolds) is
recruited by the R.I.P.D. His new job requires him to track down and
arrest the undead who have escaped their prison.
One of the complaints people have with this film is that it seems like a complete rip-off of Men In Black. This is true, R.I.P.D is M.I.B with a new skin. The fish out water character is Ryan Reynolds this time, not Will Smith. The old hard-ass partner who shows him the ropes is Jeff Bridges here, not Tommy Lee Jones. Their boss is the lovely Mary-Louise Parker, not Rip Torn. We are still treated to the office where they work, the fancy guns they need to trap/kill the dead and the fact that they must remain hidden from the public.
That aside, the film doesn't really manage to leave a lasting impression. The effects are cartoonish, the action cartoonish and the acting...well, cartoonish. With Jeff Bridges really going for broke, he seems to be having a lot of fun with his character and doesn't take anything he does in this film seriously. Ryan Reynolds plays his usual wise cracking self and Kevin Bacon shows up for good measure. When you see Kevin Bacon first appear the immediate thing that pops into your head is, he must be the bad guy, the film predictably follows through with this.
The film relies too much on the obvious jokes of the public seeing these characters are someone completely different. Reynolds is an old Chinese man and Bridges is a hot blonde supermodel. This gag runs pretty dry pretty early. The only thing the film has left going for it is Bridges, since the chemistry between the two isn't very give and take.
R.I.P.D is mindless entertainment that is well directed, although is completely held back by the special effects. The director knows how to shoot a comic book film, which is what this material is based on, but the effects look like something from a bad video game. MIB worked because a lot of the effects were subtle, then went for broke near the end. The effects in RIPD are rampant from the start and it is too distracting. The story, direction, actors and our enjoyment, all suffer because of it.
A group of friends in Chili hit up the night clubs for some fun. A
massive earthquake hits and destroys half the city, releasing the
prisoners that end of unleashing more destruction and hell in the
An interesting concept that tries to blend the disaster genre with the horror genre. The result is a mixed bag of depravity, low budget effects & set-ups and hatred for the so called characters we are suppose to engage with. Aftershock doesn't care about much, it wants to throw everything and the kitchen sink at you. This film reminds me a lot of Kevin Smith's "Red State" in that it subverts genres and goes in different directions just when you think you know what is going to happen next. While I admire Smith's pulling of the rug from under our feet, Aftershock never manages to reach the same level. Instead it is stuck in this redundant pool of lukewarm unnecessary-ness.
Eli Roth produces and stars in the film, I've always said he should stay behind the camera because his on screen talent is severely lacking. Yet he always finds himself in front of the camera, making himself seem more important than he should be. Roth has some good films under his belt, he without a doubt knows the genre of horror. He needs to stick to producing and directing. Get more unique horror films out there, stop worrying about the Roth who acts, cause no one cares.
What the film lacks in special effects in makes up for in absurdity. Here is a film that is about destruction, yet it chooses (mainly because they have to) showcase the aftermath. The scenes of chaos happen in tight close ups, shaky cam and whatever else they can think of to disorient the viewer from seeing anything. It seems they saved the budget in the special effects department for the final shot, which one can see coming once the character gets to that location, yawn.
Aftershock loves to put characters in bad situations, then kick them when they are down. It might be hard to watch for some people. The film has no problem having one character be raped twice, then shot. This is after another one has been burned alive. This is the so called twist in the film, when we stop focusing on the destruction from mother earth and are focused on human nature. These characters aren't even the prisoners though, these are random street thugs or what have you, that see the women in the streets and decide to chase after them, thus ensuring a lot of death and sorrow for the characters the film has taken so long to set up.
No, we don't get any prisoner action until the final act of the film, which takes another turn with another twist. One that will have you scratching your head in confusion, but Aftershock is too crazy and absurd, that you end up just going with it.
This isn't much of a disaster flick, nor does it seem to be good horror. It's a low budget miss- match of bad taste.
After the event of Last Stand, Logan has become a loner. He lives in
the wilderness with his demons. Until a young woman enters his life
with news that the man Logan once saved back in WWII when the US
dropped the bomb on Nagaski, has asked to see him once more. He's dying
and wants to offer Logan something no one ever thought could be true.
I still, to this day, wonder what this film would have been like had Aronofsky been behind the camera. Without a doubt it would have been a hard R rated spectacle with blood and violence. This Wolverine is the PG-13 version of what an R rated comic book film could be. It's violent, has harsh language and isn't set an wowing the audience, it instead has a story it wants to tell. Which is a step above what Wolverine had to go through with his origins tale and the atrocity that was Ratner's entry.
The Wolverine sets itself apart from the other X-Men films by focusing mainly on the setting of this tale. Logan is now in Japan, something that the comic book readers will be familiar with as Japan plays a pretty big part of Logan's history. The change in local was a welcome addition as it gives the film a breath of fresh air about it. It stands out from the crowd, this is both a blessing and a curse. Why a curse? Well, I can't help but shake the feeling that this entry was ho-hum. I love that it tells a smaller story, a more focused story, but in the grand scheme of things is kind of feels pointless. It's like a side stop to sight see while we wait to continue on with bigger things.
This film has a lot of issues, but nothing major that made me hate it. In fact, I liked it. This is probably one of the better entries in the series where Jackman has played this character a whopping 6 times. Here he looks leaner, meaner and more at ease with the character. Logan is haunted by his demons, mainly Jean Grey. Jackman plays the character with an emotional detachment, but also the need to belong. This character is a loner, he doesn't play well with others, but all he really wants is acceptance. Even if he says he doesn't.
There are only three mutants in this film. Our titled hero, a one dimensional venomous vixen by the name of Viper and a redheaded martial arts expert who can see people's deaths in the future, Yukio. Rila Fukushima who plays Yukio, does well for herself against Jackman. She was impressive considering this is her first major role. Tao Okamoto plays Mariko, sister to Yukio and the target of the Yakuza. Logan takes it upon himself to protect her...maybe even fall for her in a forced there needs to be a love story kind of way.
There are some twists in the film, that a child can see coming a mile away. Nothing too confusing in the plot that features assassination attempts, kidnapping, betrayal, family issues, etc. The most interesting aspect of this film is the fact that Logan has his healing power taken away from him. Now we have a guy who was once immortal (or close to) getting tired from simply chopping some wood. His healing powers are significantly slower, he bleeds, needs to see doctors and finally feels the pain. This raises the stakes for a once unstoppable character. One issues I had right away was that even with his healing powers gone, he shows no signs of pain or slowing down with his metallic claws rip through his hands. No sign of damage there. Big oversight from the filmmakers on that one.
The Wolverine is an interesting character study. It has one showy fight sequence on a train, that walks the line of cartoonish. It's more concerned with the fact that this guy is an animal, a loner who goes by his own rules being thrown into a society that has honour, rules and obedience at the forefront. He is out of his element and the audience is unaware they are too for the first time in this characters life. Shoddy storytelling near the end involving Logan's power makes the film end with me scratching my head. Throw onto that a ballsy move the filmmakers decide to do with Logan and you've got my interest in the next film.
Does it reflect badly on the film that I thought the best part of it was the after the credit sequence?
The year is 2022, crime is at an all-time low of 1%. This is due to an
act known as The Purge. For a 12 hour period, all crime including
murder is legal. The Sanders family is about it feel the ramifications
of this act.
This concept, although absurd, is something that could have been an intense thrilling horror show. The concept is a great one for entertainment. Yet The Purge fails to capitalize on this concept and instead it confines itself to a one location low budget thrill show in the style of 2008's The Strangers. There are many areas this film could have excelled at, but unfortunately misses the mark on most of them.
I imagine if James DeMonaco, the writer and director, who has worked with Hawke multiple times before, had expanded his story to take place outside one house, the results might have been much better. Think of the creativity of the kills, the thrills of the chase, the dangers of not knowing who else is out there. Instead we are stuck inside a house with some stupid characters who do stupid things only to advance the plot. you'll find yourself yelling at some of the characters, specifically the son, who is responsible for this whole mess the family find themselves in. The young lad lets in a wounded man who is being hunted by a group of teens of are taking part in the Purge. They know the guy is in the house, so they will do anything to get in.
Of course to make the film more entertaining, they eventually do. Then it becomes a cat and mouse game between the family stuck inside and the would be killers with masks. The leader of this gang is a rich kid who is mild mannered and is willing to kill his best friend if he becomes annoying. While the character is somewhat interesting, this film desperately needed a more prominent villain. Key elements like this could only make the film better. I feel like there was a good film in here somewhere but certain choices hinder it from becoming something that people will talk about years from now. One decision I think it failed at was the ending.
The Purge had the chance to end on a real downer, something depressing and shocking that will get people talking. Instead it ends on a predictable note, which leaves you completely dissatisfied. The Purge should have ended with a bang, not a whimper.
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