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Paterson is a movie, that perfectly panders to people with a type of voyeurism, that is still within the borders of social acceptance. It's a movie, that is best described as »slice of life« and that particular slice adds up to an entire week in the life of the titular character and also resident of a town with the same name as him, Paterson. Through him we don't only get to know the Paterson he is, but also the Paterson he lives in. What the movie has to offer, is in a way almost the opposite of what Hollywood does, but rather something you might read in a book. This movie is pretty low-key with it's events and themes, the main character doesn't aim for the skies, but rather struggles to even make sure, whether that's what he really wants. To describe the experience of seeing this in a cinema with only one word; refreshing. Additionally there are many things to praise; from the believable acting to the memorable visuals, as well as integrated poems, that actually feel like something, someone striving to be a poet, would write and last but not least the dialogues, that are both witty and fun but at the same time not too exaggerated to feel comical or cartoony. Yes, Paterson will likely impress the above mentioned still tolerable voyeurists, as well as those, who might interpret the story into something personal. On the other hand the film does have some issues; Writing about events and the weekly routine, might be seen as a cheap trick to stack up content to turn into a feature film. I wouldn't associate Paterson with that however, since all the scenes connect into a bigger picture and play with the major themes of the film even if that's not obvious at first. Additionally I've found minor issues with the characters; Paterson, while acted well and to me personally an interesting character nonetheless, still seemed like too much of a nice guy, making it feel like a cheap trick to make him identifiable and bearable for the long run of a movie, that's lacking big events. Some other characters also felt slightly alien to the otherwise realistic tone of the film, like Paterson's wife with her obsessive-compulsive need to create art or the boyfriend, who couldn't let go. So yes, issues are there, but nevertheless I still consider Paterson one of the better film experiences I had among the 2016-releases and well worth a watch or maybe more.
Rogue One (2016)
It's what it is
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first in a line of probably many Star Wars spin off movies, that the people don't really need, but still somehow want. With that being said it's absolutely going the same way as the Marvel cinematic universe and taking something with a large fan base, then hiring competent enough writers, that can write around the franchises core and come up with a product, that doesn't seem like complete fan pandering shlock. None of the movies of such calibre are really worth a spot in a movie canon, but since all entertainment is audience pandering to some degree, we might as well look at it and evaluate it's worth. With that out of the way; Rogue One is fine overall. The movie is kind of pointless. We know it's outcome and where the story goes afterwards and you can easily predict the outcome. It's up to you to decide, whether you'll just take the information you get in "A New Hope" or whether you'd rather have this 2 hour movie do that for you. By taking the long road, you get a cast of characters, that while interesting on paper, still lack some interaction and chemistry for it to eventually lead into a satisfying climax, a plot that doesn't feel like rehashing the originals, some of the original's style of immersive world to get surrounded by, some good action scenes, bunch of cameos, you might have wanted or maybe didn't and the obvious fan service, that matters the most to some; Darth Vader. If that's the stuff, you'd want to spend your 2 hours of free time on, then you might just have a blast with it.
Kimi no na wa (2016)
If sappy love stories with magical realism are your thing
With "Your Name" storming up to MAL's top, I had to check it out for myself and experience this phenomenon, that has a score of 9,40 out of 10 at the time of writing. With so many people agreeing, that it's a masterpiece, it has to be good, right? Well turns out I didn't enjoy it quite as much the majority of MAL users.
Plot: The story starts fair enough. Our main character suffers from "Disney princess syndrome"; she's not satisfied with the surroundings she was born in and wants to see the world, that is so much bigger than what she knows. Luckily for her, magical realism is a thing in her world as well. Out of nowhere she gets the chance to live out her dreams by switching bodies with a boy from Tokyo every now and then. The boy, turns out to be the other main character. This sounds like the basic story, in which our lead learns, that "every place is beautiful, but home is still best" or that everybody has troubles in their life, no matter where they come from. The set up definitely has some potential, since the main characters parallel each other in an interesting way and they're pretty well characterized. But that doesn't turn out to be the case with "Your Name". The writer was far more ambitious than to just recycle the classic body switch plot. About halfway the movie switches into a pretty convoluted romance story, that just doesn't work, because the whole second half is built around wanting to give the audience the "feels". Don't get me wrong, I like a good romance or a good tragedy as much as anyone else, but if it all feels as contrived and transparent as in this movie's case, I won't be able to jump on the feel train. The climax was a pretty interesting idea, but was pretty inconsistently build up, where things worked out way too conveniently to be believable.
Characters: I've already addressed it in the previous section, that I found the characterization of the characters pretty good. With the exception of the self-absorbed and ambitious father almost all felt pretty lively. Unfortunately characters can at time's be only as good as the plot allows them to be. This shows especially with the side characters, who at times just conveniently join into the plot, even if it doesn't make much sense. Same goes for our leads, they're pretty fun at first, but as soon as the plot starts becoming contrived and convoluted, I no longer found them as likable.
Art: The art and animation were pretty good, but it was pretty standard in terms of style.
Sound: Just like the plot the sound was also heavy into making you feel stuff and to be fair it did resonate with me somewhat. Interestingly there were a lot of pop songs instead of the more typical choice of instrumentals.
Plot: 50% (4/10) Characters: 30% (6/10) Art: 10% (8/10) Soundtrack: 10% (8/10)
Interesting in a different way than you would expect
Heckler, which was directed in 2007 by Michael Addis, is likely Jamie Kennedy's biggest achievement in his entire career. The movie is remarkable for how much of a deconstruction of the documentary genre it is. Addis' study, with its 79 minute run-time starts turning towards psychological drama territory not even halfway through. At the centre of it is the above mentioned Jamie Kennedy, who is on his journey to achieve character development by growing past his critics' opinions. Ultimately he tries selling us his new found self-respect by burning all the reviews he got for his work, which due to his unconvincingness adds a new layer to the complexity of the movie. This nature of the film truly makes it worth giving a shot.
That being said, the movie is not a good documentary. It has a severe case of cherry-picking. All of it is set up to make "the artist" the victim. While it's true, that the heckler phenomenon is heavily negative in nature, the focus quickly shifts towards critics, who aren't always just set on giving people a bad reputation. Some of the celebrities interviewed did try to not put criticism into a radically negative light, but the movie overall still seems to have a pretty negative opinion towards it. Best example is how the interviews are executed; actors and comedians always talk directly into the camera with no one questioning their opinions, while all the critics talk directly to Kennedy, whose discussions are strongly shrouded in him playing the victim card all the way through. The critics, who appear also aren't too representative to their own kind, since they chose to interview only those, whose reviews ranged from strongly negative to flat out hateful.
With all I've written considered, you probably won't learn more about the heckler-phenomenon from this movie, than you would if you went into an actual comedy show. Not published
It does the games justice
Making a movie based on a video game is a pretty bold move, because a lot can go wrong. A game's success can trigger movie makers to create half-assed products, that only serve cash grabbing and on the other side games tend to lack enough substance to make good movies. Luckily for Warcraft the latter isn't it's case and given to the right director and writers it can become quite a quality product. Also luckily for the fans, that's exactly what happened. First of all the movie absolutely achieved to immerse me in it's fantasy world. The presentation was beautiful and fitting to it's source material. It also deserves praise for it's great CGI (which happens rarely). When battles happened I genuinely felt excited. Compared to the Hobbit trilogy (as much as I dislike to bash on one of my favourite movie makers) they didn't feel like over the top CGI-dance routines. They had risk and intensity. Though I must admit, that a certain character did have a bit too much plot armor. As far as the story goes; it was overall interesting. I enjoyed the double perspective and world building elements. There were however problems in the plot transitioning. The exposition and early phases of the movie are quite lacking. It's all too fast paced and certain points, that should have been explained more thoroughly earlier only got to me after they kept bringing them up as the plot progressed. The acting was pretty good and you could sense some dedication within the portrayals of the characters. While the story was not too heavily character driven, they did deliver in being somewhat interesting to stick around with. Warcraft may not be the best fantasy film that came out, it however knows what it wants to be and gives it's fans, what they wanted to see. If you're not a Warcraft fan, you will likely have some trouble immersing yourself in this world at the get go, maybe it won't happen at all, but even then I find you could get some fun out of the impressive (while cartoon-y) CGI and the exciting action scenes.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
Review: X-Men: Apocalypse
"At Least We Can All Agree The Third One Is Always The Worst"
Interestingly this quote from the movie, that's hardly connected to anything plot related seems to have turned out to be a self fulfilling prophecy, which is a shame, because this movie had potential to be the climax of the (at this point) trilogy. All the pieces seemed to have been placed quite neatly for it to work. Unfortunately it didn't. The movie is especially weak in it's early phases. While the first scene works decently as an exposition to who the films antagonist is going to be, the next couple of scenes slow down the pace, giving us introductory scenes to "new" characters. This could have been fine, had the characters been interesting. But they weren't. Luckily the movie has McAvoy, who even 3 movies in, is still the highlight of the series, due to the witty personality of his character (Charles Xavier). As for the other main character of this series (Magneto); this movie gives him a new start, but only as a setup for his involvement in the conflict, that is about to unfold. Unfortunately his character arc is just mashed into the large multi-character story line and therefore fails to peak the interest it's intending to catch. Another character worth mentioning is Quicksilver, who can best be described as a big convenience for the plot progressing into the direction the authors want to. This may sound like a negative thing, but something about Evan Peter's character just made me swallow it and go along with it. As for the antagonist; while not necessarily well written, I do feel like praising Oscar Isaac's portrayal of Apocalypse. The plot is for the most part character driven, which could go either way. In this case it didn't work out best, because the conflicts of the characters felt like something, that had been previously done already and some of the highlighted characters lacked the screen time to get an actually interesting characterization and development. Another aspect of the plot is the mutants using their powers to their advantage, which results in funny comic relief and entertaining battles. Due to this I actually felt the movie picking itself up towards the end, I was however displeased with the resolution of the conflict and it's aftermath. Overally the film is entertaining and ignoring the character introduction scenes, I wasn't bored during it's run time. That however does not mean it doesn't have it's fair share of problems.