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Well, look on the bright side. It could have been a lot worse...
I would like to start this review by saying I love Robocop. By that, of course, I'm referring to Paul Verhoeven's 1987 classic starring Peter Weller. It was a lot of fun, and there were enough blood-squibs to keep me satisfied. It was campy, bloody, goofy, and, like I said, a whole lot of fun. These great things cannot be said about the remake, unfortunately. After hollow action remakes like Total Recall, Planet of the Apes, and The Italian Job, expectations were low for this flick. In fact, I'm pretty sure most wrote it off from the get-go. People expected it to be terrible, which, as it turns out, wasn't the result. Robocop, directed by Jose Padilha, is the near definition of an "okay" movie. I understand why they can't make this funny and satirical. Back in the late 80's, DVD players weren't even invented yet. The whole concept of drones was futuristic, so having it be a satire works. It's 2014, the concept of putting a man inside a machine doesn't seem so ludicrous now, in fact, it is a possibility if not a probability. You can't make the story a satire anymore, you have to play it more straight; which is the direction the filmmakers took, and maybe a little too far. You don't have to make it extremely funny or goofy, but that doesn't mean it has to be humorless. The fact is, as a huge Robocop fan, I find the premise to be funny. Here this guy is walking around like a Robot, squeaking every time he turns his robotic head- it puts a smile on my face. Here the writers and director are trying to shove pathos in my face, with this new family storyline that I'm suppose to just start caring about for some reason. You can't have an emotional scene between a young boy and his robotic father and have your audience take it seriously.
That being said, if one tries to ignore the conflicting feelings throughout the film, some enjoyment can be found. The action scenes are generally well-choreographed. Specifically the training scenes, which a lot of people didn't like for some reason. It was a cool new take on the concept of a robotic police officer to show the training, and I didn't mind the somewhat cheesy rock music playing throughout. It felt like a nice little callback to 80's action flicks. A flattering callback, unlike the shoe-horned in score from the original. Which leads me to another complaint- all the callbacks. I really hoped to walk into this movie and leave not constantly comparing it to the original, which is sort of the case. I only compared it a few times, particularly the few times it reminded me that I am watching a remake. "I'll buy that for a dollar" and scenes like that didn't sit right with me. I wanted the similarities between the remake and the original to begin and end with 'policeman is a robot'. I don't like talking in theaters, I don't even like laughing or whispering during a movie but that "dollar" scene made me yell "come on!" to the screen. I didn't want to, but Hollywood made me. In the end, the thing I recommend most is to never compare this to the original. Seriously, just don't- it will crumble in comparison. It's not the goofy Robocop we've all come to love, but it's not terrible like Robocop 3. The film is played very straight, which does diminish some enjoyment. But the action is great, it tried to do something new with the premise which is admirable. If you go into this movie thinking it will suck, then you are in for a pleasant surprise. If you go in thinking it'll reign superior to the work of Verhoveen, then you will leave disappointed.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Slavery's Schindler's List, and deserving of all the appreciation and praise.
From Steve McQueen, director of one-word, underrated masterpieces such as Hunger and Shame, comes this slavery epic starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender. The film follows Solomon Northup, a free man living with his family in New York, after he is tricked, kidnapped, and then sold into slavery. For 12 years he was degraded and tortured- both physically and mentally. His terrifying journey begins with working for Master Ford (Benedict Cumberbatch), a kind slave owner; as kind as a slave holder can be. Solomon's journey then leads to him to owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender), a crazed, overly-religious, cruel owner. Solomon must muster up all the strength he has and never give up hope, for if he surrenders and accepts the position he is in, even if he survives he will never live. Back in 1993, Steven Spielberg directed the cinematic masterpiece Schindler's List. The incredible film took an unflinching look at the Holocaust and the sheer brutality of the Nazis. The film took home 7 Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Film of the Year. Since then, many movies have taken a realistic, terrifying look at the Holocaust; for instance, The Boy with the Stripped Pajamas and Inglourious Bastards. However, no Holocaust film has lived up to the unwavering storytelling of Schindler's List. 12 Years a Slave is not about the Holocaust, but it's aggressive look at slavery is just as awe-inspiring. I have been somewhat of a fan of director Steven McQueen for a while now, even since I experienced Hunger. His directing is unlike anything I've ever seen, the stillness and steadiness of some of his movies is hauntingly beautiful. The best thing about McQueen is that he can really get amazing, realistic performances from his actors. From the extremely underrated Chiwetel Ejiofor, to a cameo performance from Brad Pitt, the ensemble in this film was phenomenal. Everyone had an important part to play and everyone did an outstanding job, particularly Ejiofor. Before watching this movie, I had quite the conundrum when it came to who should win best actor. Tom Hanks did an amazing job as Captain Phillips in Captain Phillips, it looked like Matthew Mcaughnahy is continuing his incredible career improvement in Dallas Buyer's Club, and I'm one of those people who thinks it's absolutely ridiculous that Leonardo DiCaprio hasn't won an Academy Award yet, so I was hoping for the best with The Wolf of Wall Street. I had no idea who should win, now I do. Chiwetel's performance as Solomon Northup was undoubtedly the best this whole year. He is incredibly powerful and sympathetic, and he makes you hope and pray the character will survive this horrific ordeal. The amount of fear and turmoil he can convey with just a single look is mesmerizing. And I highly doubt he is the only actor who will bring home the golden statue for this movie. Michael Fassbender, playing the ruthless Edwin Epps, also delivers one of the best performances this year. He's a villain who lacks any sort of redemption, much like Ralph Fienne's performance in Schindler's List. His purpose in the movie is for the audience to hate and despise him, and it's safe to say they achieved their objective. Then there is novice actress Lupita Nyong'o, playing Patesy, a slave on the Epps plantation that Edwin has an attraction towards. Her performance, even though she only shows up half way through the movie, is one of the most memorable. Every single actor did an astonishing job, and they all deserve to be recognized for it. Then we get to the writing, one of the most crucial parts of any motion picture. At first, when I heard that the screenwriter was going to be the same writer of Red Tails and Undercover Brother, I was terrified. Both films were terribly written and it would be unfortunate for a movie with this amount of potential to fall apart due to an inconsistent script. Luckily, the writing was superb as well. The characters were well fleshed out and the pacing was hauntingly realistic. Solomon Northup's true story is an incredible one full of courage and strength, it's nice to see the film adaptation does it justice. Overall, 12 Years A Slave is the quintessential slavery epic. Thanks to Steve McQueen's harrowing, realistic direction, the lead actor's powerful and heart wrenching performance, 12 Years A Slave is, without a doubt, the most incredible film of 2013, and one of the best ever made. It's fair to say it more than deserves such a prestigious title.
Now that's more like it.
We're done with Iron Man 3 and Thor 2: The Dark World, now Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings us Captain America: The Winter Solder. From Joe and Anthony Russo, the directors of You, Me, and Dupree- no, you didn't read that wrong- comes the follow-up to the 2011 superhero flick Captain America: The First Avenger. Taking place 2 years after the events from The Avengers, we find Steve Rogers working with S.H.I.E.L.D while simultaneously trying to adapt to the new world. But all isn't what it seems as Steve, with the help of Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the new-edition to the team Sam Wilson AKA Falcon (Anthony Mackie), begins to unravel a conspiracy in SHIELD and tries to uncover the truth behind the deadly assassin known as the Winter Soldier. There have been many superhero movies in the past 9 years or so. We've seen comic book material be adapted to the screen in a multitude of different ways. We've seen it done dark and gritty like in The Dark Knight, we've seen it done light and witty like in Iron Man, and then we saw whatever the hell Green Lantern was doing. If there is anything we've learned from all of this, it's that Hollywood hasn't completely nailed down a sustainable formula for how to make a great comic book movie. Both ways certainly have their flaws; many people don't like the constant comedy in the Marvel movies, and many people don't like the feeling of sadness and depression one gets from watching a DC movie- very hard to pick. Sarcasm aside, I find myself leaning towards Marvel. While I'm all for trying something new and I do think that The Dark Knight is the best comic book movie to date, it's also the only film using that formula that I really cared for. Batman Begins was fine, but The Dark Knight Rises and Man of Steel never sat right with me. Rises was probably one of the messiest and worst written superhero films I've seen, and Man of Steel was DOA by using a tone that didn't mesh well with the source material- in my opinion. So naturally, I went into this movie fully aware that it could be great or it could be a disappointment; especially seeing as how comic book movies seem to be hit-or-miss of late. I'm thrilled to say, it was great. In fact, it very well may be one of the best superhero movies ever made, and that IS saying a lot. There's so much that this film did well, like the action. The action scenes in this film were extremely well-choreographed and even better, they were timed perfectly. They were spread apart well so that each fight scene was included to move the plot forward, not to just have cool stuff on screen. It's just like what George Lucas once said, "Special effects are just a tool, a means of telling a story. People have a tendency to confuse them as an end to themselves. A Special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing." I of all people understand the irony of George Lucas saying this, but regardless, it's still true. The Russo brothers as well as the screenwriters have a grasp on this concept; something Zack Snyder needs. While the action was excellent, what really made this movie shine was the plot. The Dark Knight was so ground-breaking because it took it's comic book source material and turned it into a crime thriller. Captain America 2 is just as ground-breaking, for it decided to deviate from the past Marvel movies and effectively make a 70's-ish political spy thriller. At the beginning of this review I made a point of saying that there is a clear difference in tone when it comes to DC and Marvel. DC is dark and realistic, and Marvel is more fantastical and light. This was probably the first film in the MCU that began to cross that line. It brilliantly took the realism and seriousness in plot from DC, while also maintaining the witty humor in dialogue and fun from Marvel. A perfect combination for a near-perfect film. In the end, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is undoubtedly one the best comic book movies today, if not one of the best action movies today. It has a great plot and great characters. The lead villain is terrifying and actually poses as a good threat to not just Cap but everyone. There's great action while also delivering a thought-provoking and surprisingly heartfelt story. It may not reach the levels of epicness proudly owned by The Dark Knight and The Avengers, but it comes pretty darn close; and it gives me hope that we are on track to reach that level once again.
The king of the monsters has returned at the top of his game.
2014's Godzilla is not directed by Roland Emmerich. That statement alone can swell up the heart of any Godzilla fan with utter joy. Gareth Edwards, director of the under-the-radar Sci-fi drama Monsters, takes a shot at reviving the radioactive monster; and revive him he did, in spectacular fashion. Before I "Fan-boy" all over this movie or something to that effect, let me begin with the things that were not so great. First thing coming to mind- the characters. With the exceptions of Godzilla and Bryan Cranston's character, who we don't see a lot on both accounts, no character in this movie is extremely interesting. Bryan Cranston, playing paranoid scientist and father to our lead Aaron Taylor Johnson, was great. He brought a powerful sense of desperation and emotion that let the audience invest in the story. Unfortunately, he doesn't stick around for long. Even more unfortunate, the film changes focus to young Ford Brody, Cranston's character's son and played by Kick-Ass himself Aaron Taylor Johnson. Ford Brody is an extremely bland and boring character, no real way to sugar-coat it. It's likely due to a screenplay more detailed about spectacle than characters, not necessarily due to poor acting by Johnson, but the character lacks any sort of...well, character. While that is a bad thing, it's still preferable to the over-acted and over- written characters in Godzilla '98. While the characters were this movie's biggest drawback, it more than makes up for it with amazing visuals and superb pacing. As contemporary audiences of cinema, we have become too accustomed to in-your-face, loud, blunt, and excessive violence brought on by the Michael Bay's, and the Roland Emmerich's, and the Man of Steel's. We are now used to that final amazing action scene taking place in act 1, 2, and 3. Gareth Edwards has made a film that alludes back to the glory days of cinema; movies like Jurassic Park, Jaws, Aliens. With a story structure that allows time to build suspense, to build tension. We have all already seen Pacific Rim (or according to it's disappointing box office, some of us have), we have all seen Transformers. We have all seen how amazing special effects can be, how far they have come. So how can you make your special effect extravaganza memorable? You tell it in a way that was lost somehow during this style over substance era of film. That's what Godzilla does. It doesn't have it's action scenes in the beginning. It teases and teases until the end, until the payoff, and boy does this movie payoff! The fighting scenes between the MUTO and Godzilla were awe-inspiring, both due to it's visual effects and it's realism. Edwards utilizes action to his advantage, using it as frosting on his big scaly, atomic-breathing cake. In the end, the film does have it's flaws, like any movie. The human characters are bland for the most part, there are a few dry spots here and there, and there are a few moments that were a little TOO convenient. But overall, Godzilla is a movie that is a long set up and pay-off. There is a moment near the end in which Godzilla utilizes his most iconic atomic breath, and I can guarantee you, if he were to have done that in the first act, it would not have had the same impact. If you walk in expected Man of Steel, you are in for a disappointment. If you walk in expecting something more than that, more than mindless action designed to distract people from a lack of an interesting story, then you are in for a treat.
Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
Joss Whedon can pull off Vampires, Space Cowboys, Avengers, and now, Shakespeare.
Shakespeare and Joss Whedon are quite simply a match made in Heaven. In this modern retelling of Shakespeare classic tale about two lovers, Beatrice and Benedict, who are tricked into falling in love with one another. Whedon once again casts the actors from his previous projects, making the tone of the film extremely fun and friendly. Alexis Denisof and Amy Acker star as the two main lovers in this delightful comedy. Both actors previously played love interests in Joss Whedon's popular vampire series Angel and the two reunite again, making Whedonverse fans nearly squeal in delight. The rest of the cast is full of Whedonverse alumni, from Sean Mayer and Nathan Fillion of Firefly, Fran Kranz and Reed Diamond of Dollhouse, and Clark Gregg from The Avengers. The performances in this film are all superb. Amy and Alexis are very convincing as enemies slowly falling in love with one another. The comedy, as well as the drama, in this film is astounding. Whedon is very well known for his snappy, witty dialogue and physical comedy, making him the perfect director of this film. The biggest complaint most people have when it comes to Shakespeare films is that they're too hard to follow. In Joss Whedon's Much Ado, the story is incredibly easy to follow. The story is so fun and well-constructed it is impossible not to fall head-over-heels after each scene. The characters are extremely likable and the filming and cinematography is awe-inspiring. Perhaps the greatest thing about this film is the actual filming of it. Joss Whedon filmed this movie when he had a two-week break from the Avengers. To think that such an amazing and incredible Shakespeare movie could be filmed in such a short period is astounding, and really demonstrates the skills of Whedon. Overall, Much Ado about Nothing is one of the funniest and best constructed comedies I've seen in a while. Joss Whedon once again proves that he can tackle any genre and make a masterpiece.
The Avengers (2012)
Beautifully Done Masterpiece
I'll admit it, I was extremely doubtful about this film. I've loved Joss Whedon's work my entire life and I had enjoyed all the previous Marvel films that led up to this one, especially Iron Man. But the fact that they brought together all of these different characters from all these different movies and put them together in 2 1/2 hour film was unprecedented and almost seemed impossible. But the optimist in me got me to the theater with me expectations shaky. Once the film started I was quickly drawn in and once the title appeared on the screen I knew that Joss Whedon had done it. The Avengers is without a doubt my favorite Marvel film and even my favorite action film ever made. Whedon did a great job writing this masterful, witty script that ingeniously put together all these characters and made it flow perfectly. The actors did such a great job playing these characters again and it didn't seem like anyone was underutilized and everyone got a chance to be in the spotlight(especially the hulk). Once you see all of the characters assemble and fight the bad guys you can't help but fill with happiness. The entire movie was such a fun thrill ride from the beginning to the end and the ending battle scene was brilliantly done. I am extremely delighted to say that Joss Whedon has done the impossible and made one of the most entertaining movies ever made.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
This is a truly extraordinary and intelligent film. The script is so witty and ingenious and the directing is flawless. The Cabin in the Woods subverts your expectations at every corner and makes you remember why you go to the movies. It is everything you could hope for in a horror film and more. Joss Whedon does an excellent job writing a funny, witty, scary script and Goddard does an amazing job in his directing debut. I recommend this film to anyone who appreciates good, genuine horror film, which are in short supply these days. The Cabin in the Woods is undoubtedly one of the best horror films of the last 20 years! Go See it!
Horrible. Just plain and completely horrible.
"Twilight" has to be one of the worst films that I have ever seen in my life! It has some of the worst acting that has ever been captured on film, not a single one of these characters are likable in anyway, the antagonists were lame, same as the protagonists, the movie seemed to never end, it was just stupid. I've been a vampire enthusiast for a long time, I love vampire productions(Nosferatu, Interview with a vampire, Lost Boys, and above all, Buffy the vampire Slayer(the best show ever). So it is not that I dislike the vampire genre, it's just that this is extremely stupid. I really don't see how anyone could like this movie, or it's painful to watch sequels. I hope this review was helpful and convinced you not to waste 2 hours of your life that you will never get back. Thanks.
A pretty good show.
Don't judge the show on the Pilot alone. Even though the pilot is not very good and hard to watch, trust me, it really does get better. The script improves,the characters develop a little more, there are no more horribly cheesy green screens, there are less close-ups, there is more background information, and the acting improved, especially Sarah Michelle Gellar's acting.
Plus, there is a little twist in the plot that I did not understand after viewing the pilot. So what I am saying here is don't lose hope, because if you give up due to the pilot then I feel sorry for you, you are missing out on a pretty good show.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997)
Buffy is, and always will be my favorite television program. It has great action sequences, good drama. Going into an episode you have absolutely no idea what is going to happen or what you are going to experience. You can find yourself laughing your head off and then two minutes later crying your eyes out. But the best thing about this show, in my opinion, are the characters. As the the series matures, the characters mature. And after a few seasons of watching this show, the characters become more than just characters. They become a part of you, who you are. They become living, breathing, human beings. And that is a great and rare thing in a TV show, observing characters that you can really relate to. So those are some reasons why Buffy the Vampire Slayer is great and why I highly suggest that you watch it. Believe me, it will change your life.