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Terminator Genisys (2015)
Best Terminator since T2!
After the disappointment of T3 and the somewhat lackluster Salvation (though i have to admit i didn't mind it as much as some other people did) i went into Genisys with lowered expectations.
Have to say this film exceeded them and then some. It was nice seeing the return of the plasma-rifle future that was depicted in T1 and T2 (i missed those purpley-blue laser bolts in SALVATION!) I liked the clever nods to the original Terminator. The first quarter of the film was a lot of fun seeing some very sharply recreated scenes.... And then it takes a twist....A twist that i am sure will tick off a lot of long-time fans, but i admire this film for taking that twist. It took guts! And this film does take risks..
The FX on the T-800 were much much improved over the "youthinizing" effects from Salvation.
But enough about that, lets get to the acting. Emilia Clarke is well-cast as Sarah Connor. She has the look of Linda Hamilton, and is able to pull off a more youthful version of T2 Sarah quite well.
Jai Courtney is no Michael Biehn, but he is a likable enough Kyle Reese.
I quite liked Jason Clarke as battle-hardened John Connor. He was very well-cast.
I was surprised how much emotion i felt for the relationship of the heroes with the Terminator.
This was a surprisingly good film, and good entry in the series.
Well, i have enjoyed both of Smith's forays into horror
"Red State" was disturbing on about a zillion levels, and completely unafraid of going to dark places (up until the end. I do wish he would've ended it the original way.)
I just got done watching "Tusk", and i found it refreshingly original, bizarre, completely F-ed up and rather disturbingly hilarious.
Modern filmmakers have really lost the zest of creative juices fueled by recreational drugs.
These feel like a throwback to 70's and 80's horror in about the best way possible.
Michael Parks gives another criminally underrated performance, and Justin Long is pretty effective in a douchey-dramatic turn.
And heck, who knew Genesis Rodriguez could actually emote and act?
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Solid, if slightly flawed, entry in the Marvel Universe
...Phase 2 of the Marvel movies had been batting .500 for me. I did not enjoy Iron Man 3 or Thor: Dark World, but really dug Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier (Cap 2 is probably the best film in the entire Marvel series!)
Based on that, I don't think I am surprised that I came out of Age of Ultron with mixed feelings. Overall it is a solid entry, but it is by no means flawless.
Really liked the intro of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. I liked the horror-movie tropes tied to Scarlet Witch (she is a Witch afterall!) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson's Quicksilver had a lot of personality.
The action, of course, was great. And Hawkeye actually had something to do in this film.
The Vision: They did such an incredible job building mystique around this character.
Wasn't a fan of that extended scene at the Farm. That stopped the movie cold. I know some people say "It was necessary for character development", but the previous films had done such a poor job of giving Hawkeye any character that seeing him on the Farm did absolutely nothing for me.
The romance: Ugh. Talk about forced. I like Ruffalo's Banner. I really do. I was surprised how much i did in the first Avengers, cause i'm usually not a Ruffalo fan. But I just did not see any chemistry between Ruffalo and Scar-Jo. And where was the build-up to this? Last time we saw these 2 together Hulk was trying to smash Black Widow.
Marvel needs to work on their female-story lines.
Ultron was kind of a lame villain. I don't think there was enough build-up for him. He just sorta showed up and was evil.
Overall: Is it worth seeing in the theatre? Yes of course it is. But it is not without its flaws, and sure doesn't top Cap 2.
An interesting experiment to be sure
Richard Linklater is undeniably one of the most unique voices in film, right now. He seems to always be pushing himself, and i find that admirable. Its amazing to me that the guy who gave us "SCHOOL OF ROCK" is the same guy who gave us "A SCANNER DARKLY".
As a result, i'll always give a movie from this guy a chance. They are always unique, and have something interesting to say.
BOYHOOD is no different. Each segment of the film takes such a fresh and interesting snapshot of the world at the time of its filming. It's really interesting to revisit the early 2000's. It is like a trip down nostalgia lane for the viewer.
I think that is the real strength and revelation of the experiment that is BOYHOOD. You get to relive all of these moments in our recent history filmed in a manner that keeps them fresh because, at the time that they were shot they WERE fresh.
I found the actual characters that we are asked to follow through the trials and tribulations of their lives to be slightly overdone. Ethan Hawke is a charismatic guy, and it is easy to enjoy his performance. The rest of the acting is a mixed bag. That's to be expected, given the nature of using the same actors and actresses at various stages of their development, i think.
Overall a worthwhile and interesting endeavour worth watching once.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Just a rip-roaring good time!
With James Gunn at the helm i was expecting something different, quirky and smart.
What i wasn't prepared for was a movie with such heart-felt emotion. You really wind up loving these characters, and rooting for them. They are truly the underdog group that really has no business being at the Marvel party table, but gosh-darnit they are just impertinent enough to crash the party and take it over with style.
The 3D in this was stellar. A lot of movies aren't worth the extra price of a 3D ticket, but this one is definitely worth your time. The 3D is very well-done.
Finally I have to give kudos to the one-liners. There are some great, great one-liners here that are setup well and hit home with authority.
This could very well be the best movie of the Summer. Who would've guessed it?
Continues the surprisingly well-made prequel series!
... i have to say i was stunned by how good of a film the original RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES turned out being..
I went into that one with no expectations, and came out quite impressed. I went into Dawn, now, WITH expectations and the film does not disappoint. There is great action, to be sure, but action can't really truly matter without solid storytelling and characters, and that is here in spades.
Its amazing to me how every member of the ape family has a distinct personality. Despite very little speech, you get a real understanding of what motivates these characters, and you become emotionally invested.
There are no good guys or bad guys. You understand the prejudices of both sides, and that makes for great storytelling!
I can't wait for the next entry in this series.
Obvious Child (2014)
Jenny Slate absolutely shines!
I must admit I liked the small glimpse we got of Jenny Slate on SNL, a few years back. It was unfortunate that her run was cut short, but i've always found that whenever she shows up on-screen in any show or film i'm watching i've always liked her..
I was very excited to see her in the lead role of OBVIOUS CHILD, and she doesn't disappoint. She is just so likable and REAL in this film.
OBVIOUS CHILD is a film about life, and the curve balls that are thrown at us along the way. Its about perseverance and understanding that bumps in the road are not the end of all-things, but rather an obstacle that aids us in moving forward and promoting growth in both ourselves as individuals and in the relationships we have with those around us.
It never takes the easy way out, but ultimately is a tale of love and hope.
Strongly recommend it!
Forced, overlong and unlikable
I'm normally a Bay apologist. I find entertainment in most of his projects. Heck, i liked PAIN AND GAIN and REVENGE OF THE FALLEN, and i don't find many people willing to fess up to that.
Colour me surprised to find that i hated AGE OF EXTINCTION. Absolutely hated it. There was one single likable character in the movie and they killed him a quarter of the way into the movie.
I never thought i'd see the day where i missed the presence of Megan Fox, but man oh man Nicola Peltz makes Megan Fox look like Meryl Streep.
Jack Reynor's character is unbearably written. He's in a relationship with an underager, and that's his most LIKABLE quality? Geeze. You don't really appreciate the charisma of Shia Laboeuf till you find yourself having to root for THIS guy. I would have been quite happy to see either of the 2 young lovers bite it. In fact it would have made the movie better had they both gone down!
Has Kelsey Grammar EVER shown up in a GOOD movie? I kinda feel bad for the guy, cause he's a solid enough actor but his theatrical choices have been horrid.
I guess the one thing you can usually count on in a BAY movie is some very well-executed action sequences, which is possibly the greatest letdown of this film. The action sequences are just poorly edited together and incoherent. There is one chase down the side of a building where Wahlberg starts at the top, FALLS at least 5 stories, and yet the next shot his him on the 2nd story from the top again. Its amateurish to the extreme!
And Transformium? What? I have never seen a more blatant cash-grab of a movie then this one. It is phoned in all the way down the line.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Among the best of the X-men movies..
...seeing Bryan Singer back here REALLY makes you wonder what kind of movie he might've been able to craft out of X-Men 3..
It is so nice to have him back at the helm of this franchise. In my mind X-Men 2 and X-Men: First Class are neck and neck as the best entries in the franchise, and i'm happy to report that Days of Future Past manages a happy medium between these 2, and propels itself into that same tier.
The film has a pretty tight script for a subject that is so complicated. It handles the back and forth through time quite well.
Above all else it's the cast and characters that make this movie work. Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence carry the majority of the load here, and they are all in fine form.
Of course you have living legends in Ian Mackellen and Patrick Stewart who never disappoint, and finally you've got Peter Dinklage who is another class act, new to this series.
I do miss the musical score from First Class, but otherwise this is an incredibly solid entry in the pantheon of comicbook cinema. Can't wait for the next one!
Less is more
..the flavour of the day with GODZILLA 2014 is that less is more.
Having loved Gareth Edwards' "MONSTERS", i was quite excited when i heard he was helming this new GODZILLA-entry. Tack on the incredible acting names that he pulled (Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, David Strathairn) and i gotta say i expected more then your average Godzilla entry.
And boy did we get it.
I really liked how the Monsters had personality, and really they weren't BAD guys. They just paid us no heed, really, as we are like ants to them. Its all very similar to "MONSTERS" in that regard. They are really just trying to exist in this world.
The action set-pieces were awe-inspiring in their scale. Very exciting, and the build-up to the final fight was incredible.
I really hope Gareth Edwards is involved with the next film in the series. He knows how to bring a rare humanity to giant-monster-scifi!