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An Incredible finish to a great movie franchise
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two is soon to be one of the best films of the year. The word epic is used far too liberally nowadays to conjure up any of the grand imagery it used to describe, but the last movie in the Harry Potter octalogy deserves this description in it's purest sense.
As corny as it sounds, I had an experience while watching this film that I haven't had since I watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy in the cinemas. Maybe it was the quality of the visuals/sound system of the cinema I was in or maybe it was the sheeple audience I saw it with (who, while I hate them individually, I can't say I don't appreciate when they magnify my reactions to the movie to the nth degree) but it was one of the few movies I've seen which I can wholeheartedly call a "cinema movie".
What with the recent avalanche of possible ways to view our movies and everything, the list of films we'd pay to see in a theatre has become far more selective. What do we want in a "cinema movie"? Filler. And lots of it. Action, explosions, sex, comedy- anything that could be noticeably improved through the hyperbole of a 1.85:1 to 2.35:1 cinema screen and a pounding surround sound system. Does it matter to us if the movie with the computer generated, lens flare obscured, comic relief, shaky-cam photographed robot alien is fresh or not? Not for the average movie-goer.
It's ironic that the same crowd who'd contribute to the $769,304,749 earned for "2012" would see the last Harry Potter film for the same reasons. It has the sweeping battle sequences, the spectacular CG and everything else that Peter Travers would tell you from the DVD blurb, but they are left meaningless without the depth that allow them to exist in the first place. It does not give in to the trappings of exchanging action for character. Actions and emotions are given proper weight through the drama, allowing the action scenes to off-play them perfectly, and crescendo the film through it's final act. I was able to switch off all critical thought and allowed the film to engage me at a personal level. It's what I consider to be a proper "cinema movie".
The closure to the Harry Potter film series so tightly produced that it stands firmly above it's predecessors and elevates it's entire series far above it's "fad" roots. I wouldn't go so far as to call myself a fan of this franchise, but I would declare myself as a fan of this movie.
Puberty Blues (1981)
Terrible and forgettable
One of the worst films I've ever seen and the most unintentionally funny.
Scenes in this movie come and go with no rhyme or reason- they are completely interchangeable, showing the most hyperbolic portrayal of teenagers I've ever seen.
The dialogue is the most unapologetically embarrassing and predictable I've ever heard.
The "twist" of the movie, involving the death of a character who's name I honestly couldn't be bothered remembering, provided me with great amusement. I had joked about what would be the most obvious death for the character with my friend-given the embarrassing dialogue had awkwardly and obviously "hinted" at it constantly throughout the film-and when the movie confirmed them it may just as well have given up.
Besides a grossly out of of place "hi-larious" fight scene and the aforementioned awful dialogue, this is a thoroughly forgettable and terrible Australian movie.
Taken from my blog at http://aguywholikesmovies.blogspot.com/
Falls into the same traps as many other like-minded comedies
Paul is the starchild of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. Throughout their Hot Fuzz's and Shaun of the Dead's it was clear that Paul is exactly the kind of movie they've always wanted to make. It's a genre savvy comedy with a cesspool of in-jokes and self-referential humour, just like their previous two, but this time on the genre of sci-fi. Considering how good their last two collaborations were and knowing how geeky these guys are over this stuff, It was reasonable to assume this to be their magnum opus- as they say. But the end result was very surprising.
Pegg and Frost are these two sci-fi nerds from England who go on a road trip around the US, starting at Comic Con then making their way through all the famous UFO related destinations. These are also the characters they play in the movie. Clive (Frost) is the lovable fool and Graeme (Pegg) is the slightly more serious one, but they need a comic relief so they run into Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) a CG stoner alien on the run from his holding facility. They witness Paul's car become trashed beyond repair so they reluctantly let him aboard their RV and agree to take him to an as of yet unspecified location. But Paul's escape has spurred the FBI into action and the group finds themselves being tracked by Special Agent Loreno Zoil (Jason Bateman) and subsequently two bumbling- and sci-fi loving-FBI Agents, who become curious about the case after meeting the RV at a roadblock. The rest of the movie follows the occupants of the RV as they awkwardly and hi-lariously get to know each other over the course of the chase.
From the outset it's clear that the plot is pretty standard fair and it's clear where it's going, but the character of Paul expands the movies possibilities for comedy greatly. Most of the humour comes from the paradoxical mundane-ity of Paul. He's a highly advanced alien life form but he just acts like, well, Seth Rogen. An example of this is when he first comes aboard the guys RV and they're both rendered speechless by the presence of an alien, Paul starts making banal small talk whilst putting the kettle on and eating some bagels. When confronted by the conventions of alien movies and assumptions people make about him being an alien he dismisses them as ignorant stereotypes, taking time to directly reference countless other sci-fi in his rants. Even when he does do something superhuman he still passes it off as nothing special. His nature and character are the biggest draw of the movie. It's refreshing to have a character who openly rejects and mocks the standards other genre movies. Thankfully, in this regard, it also never reaches the level of pretentiousness of the Scream movies or Last Action Hero as well. The other characters amply follow the appeal of the main character. Frost and Pegg almost take the sideline in their own movie but their camaraderie and naivety allow for some good dialogue and situations. Bateman pulls off the stern secret agent plausibly and his two inept colleagues can be enjoyable to watch.
Ironically despite how initially open they are with their rejection of sci-fi tropes and stereotypes they start to collapse back onto them once the plot starts to develop. It starts to drag after it starts playing the schmaltz it so enthusiastically renounced, surprisingly seriously. Not long into their road trip the group picks up another member whose sole purpose is to consistently exaggerate the superhuman messiah-like aspects of Paul. The tone changes drastically from the Edgar Wright-esque analysis and subversion of science fiction tropes to the straight out embracing of them. The off-beat humour that dominated the first half of the film are still present throughout, but the humour too often comes to a grinding halt whenever it starts soberly spouting it's half baked philosophies. The further in the movie gets the more humour it loses until it's climax- aside from an admittedly great cameo- is almost devoid of laughs. With such a promising concept it's a shame that they weren't confident enough in their own ideas.
Paul is a worthwhile comedy with some memorable gags, talented actors and an intriguing concept. Fans of sci-fi in particular will get a lot out of Paul's reservoir of in-jokes and references. Unfortunately, however, the underwhelming second and third acts do little to explore the potential that it's unique premise offers.
Source Code (2011)
Source Code is still absolutely worth seeing, especially when you compare it to its competition
The success strategy of Inception seems fairly easy to pull off. Reality bending sci-fi, action romances cater to just about every audience and has already been copied to similar success. Source Code may fall into this category, but it subverts any notions to prove that it's a cash in to deliver a solid, dialogue driven sci-fi.
Colter Stevens (Jake Gyllenhaal) wakes up in a train en route to downtown Chicago surrounded by people that the woman across from him (Michelle Monaghan) claims that he knows- the last thing he remembers is flying a helicopter in Afghanistan. His confusion is only made worse exactly 8 minutes later when a violent explosion engulfs his carriage- killing everyone on board. As opposed to dying, he wakes up in a dark, metal capsule with only a solitary computer monitor providing him with some context. Captain Colleen Goodwin (Vera Farmiga), the woman on the monitor, sends only ambiguous hints but he soon comes to realise that he is the first user of Source Code. Source Code is a computer program that allows you to relive the last 8 minutes of someone's life. After blowing up the train, a terrorist is threatening to detonate a dirty bomb in the centre of Chicago and Colter is sent into the last eight minutes of one of the passengers lives to uncover the terrorist's identity to stop his future attacks. Colter reluctantly accepts his part, learning more about the passengers on train and the army operators on the other side of the monitor with each jump.
Source code is rather unique in that its characters and dialogue are the focus though it's undoubtedly science fiction. The current sci-fi trend seems to be computer effects becoming the stand-in for emotions across the board and it's refreshing to see Source Code reject this. So far this review sounds interchangeable with Inception, but the two do come across very differently. Source Code is a lot more character driven than Inception, with a relatively simple premise being strung along by the cast members' personality and nuances. Along with the main character you begin to gain a familiarity to the people on the train, with each jump creating different circumstances and consequently highlighting different parts of their personalities. You understand the urgency of the military officers' situation but also the moral dilemmas put forth by their actions. This level of detail, not only in the plot but in its characters, makes Source Code a rich experience.
Ironically the least polished part of Source Code is its science fiction. Mechanics of how Source Code works are glanced over and raise more questions than answering them. The details are even more obscured when the ending of the movie completely demolishes the facts that they spent so long explaining. The third act is actually the weakest part of the film. As the game changing plot point is revealed halfway through the second act, the film slows down from there, culminating in an overly sentimental ending which clashes with the tone it set beforehand.
Despite these criticisms, Source Code is still absolutely worth seeing, especially when you compare it to its competition. It's one of the rare blockbuster films with both a brain and a heart and it's still as thrilling as any other pure action film.
Taken from my blog at http://aguywholikesmovies.blogspot.com/