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The Ward (2010)
Might Be Worth Watching
I love horror movies and I love asylum movies, so I was pretty excited to watch this. Mind you, I didn't have particularly high hopes, since most horror movies aren't that great.
The acting was all decent. No one was wonderfully stellar, but no one was bad enough to detract from the film either. The killer's look was terrible though. I prefer if you simply never fully see them if they can't have good enough make up. The look of the killer did make me consider to just stop watching it, since all I figured would happen would be a slow succession of deaths as each person gets picked off in some new way.
That was partially true, but the ending did have a twist. The twist made the entire movie pretty decent and brought everything together. It returned to some horror clichés pretty quickly mind you.
I'm giving this movie a 6 because I liked the twist. Without that, it lands at about a 3.5. If you really like horror movies this might give you a couple jumps, or if you really like asylum movies the characters are pretty interesting. Otherwise, I'd suggest you pass.
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012)
I love the Resident Evil films. This one I was particularly excited for because of the return of Michelle Rodriguez, who I always love.
The good? There is very little downtime here. If you're looking to watch an hour and a half of shoot outs and explosions, this movie is for you. As always the actors are great, (and lets face it, great to look at). It had a cool intro as well.
The bad? The plot. Why? Because there basically isn't one. There is no character development (although there was some fun in seeing different characters). For all the action that does occur in the film, the plot could be done within five minutes. This movie is very obviously a filler, just a short piece of blood and explosions to explain how Alice and the others fared from the end of the last movie to the start of the next. Moreover, after this many Resident Evils, most of the fighting techniques have already been seen.
In the end, if you're a Resident Evil fan I suggest watching it simply so you'll know where you stand when the next movie comes out. If you're not, you might want to pass.
The Unloved (2009)
Okay, but not Great
IMDb suggested this movie to me somewhere along the line, and I added it to my watch list. I love watching movies about the foster care system simply because it is a life very different from my own, and as a writer the stories fascinate me. Intense emotion is essential for me in a book or movie, and for obvious reasons the abuse of children is sure to create that tone.
As my title suggests, The Unloved is okay, but not great. The acting is very well done, everyone is believable and fits very well into their roles. I was pleasantly surprised to find Lauren Socha, as I love the show Misfits. Her character added a small subplot, which helped with the pace of the film. The pace is where the film lost me. It started out pretty good, and had a few pops of intensity later on, but for the most part there was a lot of watching people stare off somewhere.
If, unlike me, you don't get bored by a lack of dialogue, then I would recommend it. If you're looking for something with really high emotion and a thick plot, I'd suggest skipping over this film.
I didn't regret it, but I won't be watching it again. 6/10
Never Let Me Go (2010)
Loved it in Theory, Bored with the Reality
I decided to watch this movie on two premises: 1) It has Keira Knightley, who I adore in nearly everything I see her in, which is basically everything she's in. 2) While the preview made the love story seem pretty slow paced, the dystopian twist in the description drew me in.
Lets start with what I did like. The acting was superb, from the big names such as Knightley and Garfield, and those who I had never heard of before, such as Carey Mulligan. I also very much liked the idea of the movie and the themes it presents, such as love, envy, and greed.
I had two major problems with the movie. The first, is my unwillingness to accept the premise of the danger. Many movies have considered the same ethical issues, but have done so in a way that the mass population is not aware of the breach in ethics, or the lines are blurred because for instance, the protagonists are not fully aware. In this movie however, everyone is fully aware (although not right away), which I don't believe to be possible.
Then perhaps, you can accept this as an exaggeration, the outermost limits of what is possible. Fine. My other issue, is that for the most part even I did not care what was going on. As I said above, the acting was very well done, so this is not a point of being unable to connect with them. The pace is extremely slow, for the entire film, no matter the emotion we are meant to feel. Even when they face the danger, it is done with a pitiful acceptance of their fate. There is only one moment from Garfield when I truly felt something. Nothing changes, in fact there are hints that the system has become even worse ethically.
In the end I give this movie a 6/10. I loved the actors and the potential story, but just felt numb with a hint of depression for the constant, monotonous, doom. If you like movies with a slow pace, a strong character focus, and can easily accept the unlikeliness of the plot, then I recommend it. If not, don't bother.
Perfect For Some Laughs
I'll admit, when I watched this I didn't have particularly high hopes. I never put much hope into a comedy, because so often they either aren't funny at all or put every joke in the preview. However, I figured it deserved a chance considering my love of Olivia Wilde especially, but also the other big names like Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Garner, Ashley Greene, and so on.
Now, be warned, this is not the movie to watch if you expect to take anything seriously. That isn't to say it's a comedy about people doing stupid things and being immature, quite the opposite, but everything is taken in exaggeration. After all, it is a movie about sculpting butter, so don't expect some pulse pounding drama.
That being said, if you have a good sense of humour, and want to laugh, then this is the movie to watch. The acting was amazing from everybody, Garner gave me chills when angry, Wilde had me in tears from laughing, and Yara Shahidi was unexpectedly amazing in her role as the young foster child. I absolutely recommend it.
Not Worth It
IMDb suggested this movie to me, and so I figured, why not, it looks pretty decent. According to this site, this movie is a drama thriller about a father, his two sons, and their uncle when things go awry. In the most basic sense, that is true.
The problem? A thriller should thrill. It's not enough that something bad occurs, you should be on the edge of your seat, panicked about that bad thing. Throughout this entire film, I could barely muster interest, never mind panic. The characters rarely show any strong emotion. Even in scenes where you would expect great anger or sorrow, they seem relatively apathetic and rarely change facial expressions. There is no twist, no mystery, just 100 minutes of talking calmly, a few minutes of running, and a few minutes of fighting.
This movie is by far the greatest let down I've had for a film in a very long time. If you are extremely patient and are able to connect with the most unbelievable characters, then by all means, go ahead and watch it. If not, don't waste your time. I certainly wish I hadn't. 3/10
The Hunger Games (2012)
A Good Adaptation
For those of you who don't know the basic story line: There are 12 districts controlled by the Capitol. Every year a boy and girl, aged 12-18, are chosen from each district to fight to the death for all to watch.
There lies the biggest problem with this adaptation. It is about the brutal slaughter of nearly two dozen teens by each other, and yet the movie has been watered down to be PG-13 appropriate, most likely to expand the potential audience. Unfortunately, this means that the true brutality of the games is somewhat overlooked.
For people who have read the novel(s), there of course are changes made. Having read the books when they first came out, I only noticed a few changes. Fortunately, these new ideas don't impact the overall story line that much, making for a good book to movie adaptation. However, the changes made do ignore some of the more subtle ideas of the book. This is especially true for explaining the relationship between Katniss and Gale, which is a minimal part in the movie because it occurs mostly in the opening of the book.
Overall, the movie was well done. The camera work was often shaky (on purpose to create drama), which worked in some scenes but became tedious in others, especially when it was simply used to cover up deaths. The actors worked better than I had originally thought they would. Josh Hutcherson is a little too boyish in my opinion to play Peeta, especially since all of his work has been in children's movies, but he did pull off the role. Fortunately, there were no actors who simply could not act or just did not have the ability to fill the role.
I went into this movie slightly terrified that they would ruin one of my favourite novels and was very pleasantly surprised when I left to find myself happy with the adaptation and with plans to buy the movie when it comes out on DVD. I definitely suggest seeing the movie, and reading the books of course.
I rate this a 9/10.