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"GO!!!" See Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Directed by Matt Reeves Starring: Andy Serkis, Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, and Toby Kebbell
Hollywood is often criticized for making bad sequels to movies. I do not believe this statement because those who think this are not "seeing" the good ones. Take Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to the "Planet of the Apes" reboot Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which caught everybody off guard back in 2011. Fans of the old Planet of the Apes movies thought it was going to be nonsense because the Apes were special effects and not Kim Hunter in 5 pounds of ape make-up. What the average moviegoer did not know at the time was that Andy Serkis was in the movie. With roles like that of Gollum, King Kong, Ape (Caesar), and Godzilla, actor Andy Serkis has brought many miraculous creatures to life on the big-screen through motion and performance capture technology. Now he plays ape Caesar once more, giving a transcending performance that will make you believe these were real apes! Dawn takes place ten years after Rise where a virus has killed a vast majority of the human population, leaving only a few groups of survivors around the world. The group of focus here is outside of New York City and is being led by a man named Dreyfus (played by an always good Gary Oldman), who has come across a big dilemma. His camp needs fuel and power and the only solution lies at a damn where another camp is, only this one is run by Apes. Caesar and the apes have created a bit of a society for themselves over the past decade and do not want to risk losing everything they've fought so hard for. However, war between the Apes and Humans is inevitable and one side has to give. Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) directs this Blockbuster-film spectacularly to the last frame. It is without a doubt his best work and will probably open many doors for him as a director in the future. The greatest compliment you can give to a film with a lot of visual effects is not even noticing them. The visual effects in this film look so real and are the best I have seen since the blue people in Avatar. I believed all of these apes were real and was engaged every second they were on screen. The character Caesar is one of the most interesting characters so far in 2014. Even when he is not on screen you are wondering where he is and what he is up to. Though there are many terrific aspects of this film there are a few problems. Other than Caesar, all of the characters are one-dimensional "what you see is what you get" characters. The acting is on point all around, but these characters were poorly written and it is a shame because there were signs of some interesting back-stories for a few of them. There are also a few logic problems with the film, which may sound funny because it's a movie with talking Apes on Horse, but I cannot get into these issues without spoiling some rather huge plot points. Overall, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a really fun time. It is not only a great movie, but also a great sequel!
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Wes Anderson's new film is guitar Grand Indeed. No spoilers
The Grand Budapest Hotel Review
Written by Ryan Nilsen
The Grand Budapest Hotel Directed by Wes Anderson Starring: Ralph Fienes,
I would say that it's very refreshing to have as good a film as "Budapest" this early in the year, but ah who cares. It's May! Now that Spring has sprung so have the great films coming to theaters!
Quirky and wonderful. Those are the two words I would use to describe Wes Anderson's new film The Grand Budapest Hotel. Anderson's last film Moonrise Kingdom was an absolute joyful surprise. It was one of my personal favorite films of 2012 and I made a vouch to see whatever this man puts on the big screen next. It seems that vouch payed off because by gone it he's done it again!
The film takes place in the 1930's between wars in Europe and is about a European Grand Budapest Hotel's famous concierge, M. Gustave (played by a magnificent Ralph Fienes). After the woman in which he loves (or one of them at least) is murdered, the will for who will receive her money and possessions is read and she has left none other than her priceless painting "Man with an Apple" to Gustave. The family of the deceased battle Gustave and his new friend-Lobby Boy "Zero" for this prized possession as well as for an enormous fortune.
This is Ralph Fienes' best performance to date. His remarkable banter in his relationship with Zero is hysterical, interesting, and at some points touching. Without a doubt the best performance of the year so far. However, the most unique part of the film as a whole is the directing. Wes Anderson's style is so incredibly plain and unusual at the same time (in a good way). It feels like a very old 1930's film with very basic angles and strait-forward shots, but at the same time it makes the film all the more entertaining to watch. It can't be explained on paper that's why you have to SEE IT! The humor in this film is very quirky and off the wall, much dirtier than that of Moonrise Kingdom. Budapest is not for everybody, but it will take you on a journey that is entertaining till the end. The Grand Budapest Hotel is indeed grand.
Visually stunning and absolutely breath-taking!
"Can't beat the view" astronaut Matt Kowalski played by George Clooney says and he's right. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter 3), Gravity is about two astronauts, Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski, who are servicing the Hubble Space Telescope, until debris from a Russian missile strike on a nearby inoperative satellite causes them to abort the mission. However, the debris practically destroys the space shuttle knocking out all communications with mission control and sending Stone and Kowalski spiraling into space with nothing but a tether holding the two of them together! This results in the two astronauts to struggle for survival with nothing but each other in what is one of the scariest and most dangerous situations ever.
Again, "Can't beat the view". The visual effects in Gravity are GORGEOUS! Some of the best effects I have ever seen in all of film. Its one thing to have incredible effects in a movie, but its another to have them immerse you in the story! That is what Gravity does. You feel as though you are in space with these guys and are struggling with them. At one point when both Stone and Kowalski are low on oxygen I found myself inhaling the same time they were. This film is breath-taking. I have no idea how this movie was made. Opening with a 12-minute long, one cut sequence of the camera just floating around seems unbelievable. Not to mention the attention to detail with everything floating is very impressive. The one criticism I have for this movie is the script because at times it seemed some things Clooney's character was saying seemed unrealistic, but the writing and dialogue is not what you look for in a movie like this. This movie is an experience and one of the coolest I have ever had in a theater. Which brings me to my next point, SEE THIS MOVIE IN THEATERS. Do not wait 6 and a half months for "netflix" or "redbox" or whatever you do, see it in theaters. This movie was not meant to be watched on a little phone in a subway. Even though the entire movie is just with two people, you never get bored and you will be on the edge of your seat. Clooney gives a solid performance and Bullock gives her best performance since The Blind Side.
The World's End (2013)
Friends, pub crawls, and aliens. What more can you want? The World's End
By: Ryan Nilsen The World's End Directed by: Edgar Wright Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Martin Freeman
A group of friends reuniting after 12 years from graduating High School, set off to their home town to accomplish "The Gold Mile". The Gold Mile is a visit to 12 pubs and drinking a pint of beer at each one, with the last pub's name being called The World's End! This just sounds incredible, but wait there's more...
Robots, hilarious pub names, and Nick Frost fighting people! That's everything you could want in an Edgar Wright Movie. This is the best of the loose-trilogy "The Cornetto Trilogy" including Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and now The World's End. I can guarantee you that if you liked both Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz you will LOVE The World's End. " - RyanNilsen
The Wolverine (2013)
The Wolverine is Deep and Ferocious!
Remember that Wolverine movie that was suppose to be a character origin story and had Will.i.am in it and the iconic "Deadpole" character dying? That horrible movie that left people crying and was called "X-Men Origins: Wolverine"? Forget it. This is the stand-alone Wolverine movie Wolvy deserved! Beginning with a flashback taking place in Japan during World War II, Nagasaki is about to be bombed and Wolverine is a prisoner (great scene). With Japanese troops committing ritual suicide, Wolverine saves a soldier that decides to set him free. Decades later to present time, Logan is a disturbed, shaken Wolverine, still dealing with the downsides to immortality and Jean Gray's death and being haunted by Jean's spirit. After paying visit to the soldier, now one of the richest men in Japan, Wolverine is given a choice to have his immortality taken from him and live a normal life. After loosing his ability to heal and being vulnerable for the first time, Wolverine must face dangerous samurai, acid-spitter "Viper" (who wears a lot of goofy green dresses), and a robotic silver samurai! Hugh Jackman has never been better in this role! Jackman is Wolverine. Even in the slow parts of the film, Jackman reals you back into it. The Wolverine is a character film with a lot of pros and few cons that ultimately end up as a fun summer super-hero movie. Also, stay after the credits for what I believe is the best after-credit scene ever made!
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
J.J.'s Best Film Yet! - Star Trek Into Darkness
By: Ryan Nilsen Star Trek Into Darkness Directed by: J.J. Abrams Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Zoe Saldana
J.J. ABRAMS HAS BECOME A sci-fi god at directing! This is the follow-up sequel to the quite remarkable 2009 reboot of the popular Star Trek franchise and it's a good one! Into Darkness is the best film Abrams has directed in his career. This film improved on many areas it had faulted with its predecessor such as acting, story, and screen flare! The big hubbub about the first Star Trek was Abrams usage of "screen flare", which is created with a specific type of lens used when filming that J.J. admires. What some thought was an overkill use of screen flare in Star Trek, I can assure you, Into Darkness's screen flare is nothing close to overkill and the actually just reflected the style Abrams elicits. It made us all know we were watching a J.J. Abrams flick. All actors gave terrific performances especially Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock). Cumberbatch plays the villain in this epic tale, a one John Harrison. John Harrison is actually a front for someone else a lot menacing, but at the risk of spoilers I won't go any further except if you go back and watch the old Star Trek The Wrath of Kahn then you may have some idea After John Harrison commits terrorist attacks on both London and Star Fleet, that's when Cpt. Kirk and his extraordinary crew (including Spock) must hunt him down and save worlds. Now, one of the many reasons Star Trek Into Darkness is one of the most anticipated movies of the year is because director J.J. Abrams has been selected to direct Star Wars Episode VII. Many fans were both excited and worried when news broke out that J.J. would be directing it, as they should be. Star Wars is without a doubt the most well-known movie franchise and top sci-fi movie ever made, so to be the guy continuing the story of a galaxy far, far, away comes a lot of pressure! In my opinion, I think J.J. Abrams is a fantastic director, whose films are getting better and better, and with his track record of Lost (2004-2010), Alias, Mission: Impossible III (2006), Star Trek (2009), Super 8 (2011), and now Star Trek Into Darkness he is more than capable of directing Star Wars Episode VII. Into Darkness will have you wanting more leaving the theater. It is "good" non-stop action filled with humor and Easter eggs for the die-hard fans. While Iron Man 3 was a premature blockbuster for the summer, Star Trek Into Darkness is the official kick-off to the summer blockbuster season!
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Oz the Great and Powerful movie review
Oz the Great and Powerful Directed by Sam Raimi Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams
"We're off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz! Because, because, because, because all the wonderful things he does!" The well known song from the 1933 classic, involving Dorothy, Toto, and the rest of the rambunctious gang. Oz the Great and Powerful is a prequel to that epic tale. However, it was not so "great" or "powerful". Don't get me wrong; it was a satisfying flick, following the man behind the curtain himself. There was just a feeling of too much Hollywood and childish banter. Oz has a terrific opening; similar to The Wizard of Oz's being black and white, then once arriving in Oz the beautiful color comes in. Nevertheless, from there on it becomes an uninteresting story with repetitive jokes for a long hour and thirty minutes. Oz, a small-time magician goes on a journey in Oz, "where he must decide if he will be a good man or a great one." It is not until the end, where Oz becomes somewhat memorable and all the actors shine.
The only thing that kept me watching the entire movie was the incredible special affects enhanced with 3D glasses. It is some of the best 3D you will ever see. Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man trilogy) and his special effects team have won awards in the past, but Oz's visuals are remarkable.
This is one of James Franco's (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) best performances and I have a feeling not the last time we see him as " Oz". When all is said and done, Oz the Great and Powerful is a satisfying prequel that may not live up to expectations, but how could it?
A villain from M's past haunts MI6 while Bond is tested by his biggest threat yet.
Skyfall Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris Directed by Sam Mendes
The 23rd Bond film in the 50-year-old franchise is terrific. The disappointing, horrible, and cottage cheese-like James Bond movie that is Quantum of Solace was a terrible sequel to the fantastic Casino Royale. You would think after that disgrace of a movie Daniel Craig might be finished as playing the amazing spy right? WRONG. Skyfall has everything that a classic Bond movie needs while at the same time being like no other. This movie has swag. There are so many things going for this movie. This is the third Bond installment with Daniel Craig at the helm and this was also his best performance as Bond yet. Sean Connery "was" my favorite actor who played James Bond, but after seeing Skyfall I think Daniel Craig is the best. He's that good. Also Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men) is this villain with a weird blonde wig and he is really good in this as well. The plot is hard to explain. After being injured in a mission, Bond must try to get back into the swing of things while an enemy from M's past comes back to haunt her. This puts 007 in a position where he needs to protect M and must try to defeat this villain whose always one step ahead. What is "Skyfall"? That is a secret you will find out after seeing this great movie. This is the first Bond movie directed by an Oscar winning director, Sam Mendes (American Beauty). This is also the best "shot" Bond movie ever made. Cinematography- just "wow". If you paused it at any moment in the movie and took a screen-shot it would be a good picture. To add to this "list" of amazing things going for Skyfall, Adele sings the theme song. Skyfall is one of the best movies of the year and what I think is one of the best James Bond movies ever made.
A Heartfelt and comedic story about teens leaving their childhood.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a high school drama/romance/comedic movie directed by Stephen Chbosky who wrote the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. He wrote the book and now he made it a movie. That's pretty cool.
Charlie (played fantastically by Logan Lerman) is the awkward, anti-social, might as well say disturbed freshman. While still being somewhat depressed about his friends suicide, Charlie writes letters to his deceased friend about how his life is going and how he wants to "turn things around this year"(he narrates these letters throughout the movie). So comes along seniors Sam and Patrick, who befriend Charlie and "let him in" to their posse and expose him to the real world.
Sam (played by Emma Watson . Where's Harry?) is the divine girl of Charlie's dreams. Sam "drives" Charlie to become a better person, while Charlie helps Sam academically. Ezra Miller gives a great performance as Sam's stepbrother Patrick, who is openly gay and also essential to assisting Charlie. Sam and Patrick do not only give Charlie a sense of self-admiration, but they try to help him get over the death of his friend.
The story gets pretty deep, showing how befriending someone can change his or her life around in a good way, along with solving internal problems and expressing one's self to the world around them. In this case Charlie's abusive aunt whom died in a car crash is a constant distraction in Charlie's head psychologically (its very gruesome actually). The performances by Lerman, Watson, and Miller are like a rap song by the Sugarhill gang: Fantastic, Funny, and like nothing you have ever heard (seen) before. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, despite the unnecessary, overly disturbing flashbacks about Charlie's aunt, is a good movie that goes beyond a typical high school drama/romance (take that Degrassi).
Cloud Atlas (2012)
Cloud Atlas Is Like Something You've Never Seen Before!
This ambitious film is based off of David Michelle's best-selling novel. I cannot compare the two because I have not read the book, but from what readers of the book claim, it is really awesome. Cloud Atlas has almost every genre imaginable in it with action, adventure, mystery, romance, drama, and science fiction all incorporated. Cloud Atlas also has an amazing cast, three directors, Oscar worthy special effects, and a story like no other. I would need three more pages to explain what the movie is about, so here's what it is essentially about. Taking place in five different periods, various actors play multiple characters (one from each period) and each characters life impacts that of another character in the past, present, and or future. All of these characters act of impact trigger some sort of rebellion whether it's big or small. This sounds like it would be a lot coming at you at once, but for a 2 hour and 45 minute film it is somewhat tame. The only parts of complication are the switches from one time period to the next. However, this is necessary for the film as a whole. It is a little confusing for one minute focusing on a dying lawyer writing in his diary in 1849 and the next being in the 1970's. This is what makes the movie interesting though! The music is terrific and actor Tom Hanks and actress Halle Berry are as good as ever. This is without a doubt the most ambitious movie of the year. Cloud Atlas's ending left me speechless for a good two hours and is definitely a top 10 movie of the year.