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American History X (1998)
Are you serious
Okay, I get this movie was trying to talk about important subjects about racism, how people are conditioned to hate others, etc blah blah... But this movie... this movie fails so hard at everything it's actually astonishing how bad it got. Don't get me wrong, it had a strong opening, and a lot of the visuals are very striking. Perhaps the most powerful image is of Edward Norton walking towards the camera, hair buzz cut and swastika tattoo popping against his skin. There was good stuff like that in the movie. Bad stuff was that this movie should've been about the younger brother. I mean, it starts with him narrating, it opens with him. Is he not the main character? Why is Ed Norton here stealing every scene like it's his movie? Get the eff out of here Norton. Uninstall yourself from this film. It becomes glaringly clear that this just another dramatic vehicle for Norton's career, and any statement it was trying to make was lost in that horrendous ending. I have never been so disconnected to an ending of a film, but this movie tries *so hard* to have this bull dramatic ending where the little brother gets shot, and I couldn't care less. I could not care less about this guy, his dead brother, and I blame the movie for creating a complete emotional dissonance within me. Eff you American History X, I thought you cared.
All Set-Up, No Pay
It must first be said that this film is superb in terms of visual quality. Opposed to many opinions, the film is well edited, well animated, and is essential perfect in the details pertaining to image and sound.
But the major problem with this film is that it is completely filled with set-ups that do not pay off. Which basically means the entire film is one big tease.
Much of the controversy and anger surrounding the latest Rebuild stems from the fact that it felt incomplete. And although other Rebuild films have ended on cliffhangers as well, 3.0 specifically is frowned upon.
The difference with 3.0 and previous entries in the series is that the previous films still fulfilled a basic arc of some sort for the characters to develop by the end of the film. They overcome an obstacle and move forward as people, and the audience gets to witness that. But by the end of 3.0, we're left with what feels like half of the story. Although the story certainly spans all for movies, this felt like a baby step compared to the leaps and bounds that were 1.0 and 2.0.
The Movie That Could
I think it's a rare thing for the Korean Film industry to come out with a movie that depicts Korean girls as care-free as they are (in "Sunny), and that same movie to become extremely successful.
What I mean is that the ideal Korean girl is quiet, innocent, and practices proper etiquette at ALL times. But the girls in "Sunny" are anything BUT those things.
Yes, it's true that the movie may not have an over-arching "thesis", but this isn't that kind of film. This is a movie that is absolutely in love with it's story and characters, where the majority of the film is spent building this friendship, and putting that friendship through trials. It may not have the noir, pessimistic tone of most popular Korean films, but it's nice to have a movie with a happy ending. Because although happy endings may not be gritty or realistic, it's definitely worth it when you whether the trials and all the whistle-dicks that get in the way when you do it with the company of those you care about.
And if anything, maybe that's what "Sunny" is about.
(On a side note, the movie is beautifully shot, has excellent writing, beautiful sets, staging, acting... it's really just a beautiful movie. Cinephiles, eat your heart out. I daresay it's kind of like the Breakfast Club of Korea in the sense of all that youthful angst. It's just a piece of fun cinema that really resonates with that heart- warming-goo)
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
Spectacular Adventure, Great Movie
My opinion will be unavoidably biased as adventure films are my preferred taste.
If you're a lover of Lord Of The Rings, Star Wars, and any film that raises the stakes on unlikely heroes, then this is the film for you. It's definitely not a gritty film, but what it lacks in being a methodical, realistic movie it makes up for in charm, exuberance, and genuine care for the story. Sure it was probably only made for the brand recognition the title carries, but it was done in a real classy way, so kudos to you Mr. Raimi.
(And personally, I really enjoyed Kunis' Wicked Witch)
Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)
A Classic Retold
"Jack the Giant Slayer" is an unexpected gem (albeit, not a very shiny one) in a sea of poorly made fairy-tale-re-imagining-rip-offs/cash-ins. After seeing both Snow White reboots, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, and whatever garbage Hollywood sees fit to release, this Jack and the Beanstalk movie isn't really all that bad.
It's a classic retelling of the Hero's Journey taking the classic tale of a young boy who climbs a beanstalk to steal from giants, to a boy who climbs the beanstalk to save the princess and win a war instead. It doesn't reinvent any wheels here, but it's simply a story that's well told and perhaps elevates the original source material from which it pulls from.
If you're looking for a classic adventure (which I feel has been sorely missing from American cinemas for a long time), give this film a watch. It is akin to Star Wars and Lord of the Rings in the fact that it's an age old tale of small people overcoming great odds.
The Last Stand (2013)
Boring bullshit are you serious
This movie is a Korean dude trying to make an "American" movie with an Austrian dude. Arnold gives great performances when he doesn't have to actually act. That's what this guy is, and you gave me what felt like 3 hours of Arnold trying to be a rounded character.
Sure, the action was fun, but that's like say "The entire time we had sex was painful because I had a splinter in my penis... but it felt good when I came." I'm sorry, that's really vulgar, but yeah.
4 out of 10. Action was decent, was not worth the whole film, tonally out of place because it tries so hard to be a film for Americans. Huge disappoint as I enjoy the director's past work far more. He has a dynamic and fresh style/approach with action in films and he shouldn't be wasting it on this bullshit.
The Movie Event Of The Year
This movie is an experience you do NOT want to miss out on. Cast aside all your worries about 48 FPS because what Peter Jackson has done is truly revolutionary in terms of visual media... IF you're willing to accept what you're going to see. It's undeniable, the movie initially looks like a bad fantasy soap opera when you first start watching, and it's at that initial moment you have to decide whether or not you're going to accept this new frame-rate or not. I highly advise you commit to immersing yourself in it, because if you do, you will experience a film like no other. The realism of it all really kicks in and turns the dial for visuals up by 9000. There will be moments in this movie where they capture such scope and beauty that it will leave your jaw on the flipping ground. The only problem with this new frame-rate is that it hasn't been perfected yet. Some props look terribly cheap, some sets do not have the effect they should, and sometimes make does look poor in such a clean image. But these are such minor complaints against such a grand movie it's almost a disservice to yourself if you skip out on the 48 FPS just because it's not without fault.
Now whether the movie was good or not? Yes, it was pretty good. It's a much funner movie then the Lord Of The Rings, and it doesn't have as serious a story. You won't feel too emotionally attached to some of the characters, but with all good trilogies, it's all to build up to something bigger and better than ever before.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gets a 7/10 in my book. This is the cinematic experience of the year... do NOT miss out on it.
Not A Twilight Fan- Still Enjoyed It
Now look, I'm no Twilight fan. I watched the first movie and forgot it after an hour. I talked to some Twilight fans in the theaters to fill me in on what the movie was going to be about. I came in with prior knowledge of what imprinting was, what Bella's daughter was like, all the good stuff. From what I understood, this movie was basically The Deathly Hallows Part 2(a terrible movie by the way). My thoughts were, "Oh no! Not another fan service movie with no soul!" I sat down and awaited the eventual sleep that would take me out of the boredom I would experience from such a bland movie.
BOY was I wrong. This movie was FUN. It had a quick pace (which I think was by accident), fast editing (again, I don't think they intended such a blatantly quick movie), and absolutely ridiculous situations. Now I am of the belief that you can make anything stupid look really cool. This movie took that idea and made them look really funny. Bella jumping up and biting a cougar on the neck? That is hilarious to me. The audience thought so too because they erupted in laughter, and it seemed to me that this was a theater full of Twilight fans (it was the showing before the midnight premiere... I know, that doesn't really make sense). Were we making fun of the movie? No! We were all just having a good time. The movie can be really funny sometimes and thats OK. Its a movie that I felt understood the criticisms around it and just ran with it. This movie was 2 hours long, but it felt like 1! If any movie does that for you, that is an impressive feat.
The audience was such a big part in making this such a fun experience. There was so much laughter and enjoyment that it made everything feel as though it were a part of a bigger event. It felt like I was sitting in a room with a bunch of good friends who were enjoying this movie with me. And it wasn't jerk laughter that was disrespectful to the movie and it's fans, it was the sort of laughter that just sparked out of people just having fun. I haven't seen a single movie in theaters that did that this year, so kudos to you Twilight.
Now, the actual movie, was it good? Well... it's definitively something. There are definitely redeeming factors of it that make the movie interesting, but in the end, it feels like giant B-Movie without blood. It just does things that I feel only films that understand they're going to be ridiculous or terrible will do. Kristen Stewart continues to disappoint me with her acting (Snow White would have been a much better movie if she wasn't in it), the characters don't really make sense to me other then the fact that they just want to be beautiful and sleep with each other all the time, and the way it was filmed was just... horrible. I don't remember if the first movie looked so bad, but man, what the hell did they do here? It looks like they shot the entire movie against a green screen with my friend's low-end DSLR. I absolutely can't stand it when a movie looks like it was shot on video. Skyfall was partially (or wholly, not really sure) shot on video and it looks drop-dead gorgeous. And the script... OH the script... That oracle, the one who can tell the future is THE worst storytelling tool in the world. She absolutely takes the drama out of EVERYTHING. And drama is the most important tool a movie has! Don't trick me into feeling sad when a character dies only to find it was vision. Don't tell me what happens down along the line with Jacob and Whatever-Her-Name-Was. Don't tell me... don't tell me stuff I don't need to know! Now look, I don't think death is necessary in every story (a la Dark Knight Rises) to make it good. But this movie uses it as an emotional adrenaline and give the audience both the battle they've been waiting for AND the happy ending that they want. It's... after all... a business.
But hey, in the end, I needed to just sit and enjoy it with the people I was watching with. It's by no means the best movie ever, and it's debatable whether it's a good movie at all. But this movie is bigger than itself for all the people who love this series, and I was glad I could have shared in an experience that they thoroughly enjoyed and thought was really good. Because hey, who's to say it wasn't?
Step Brothers (2008)
Emotion VS Comedy- Where "Step Brothers" Fail
"Step Brothers" may seem like a completely dull comedy film with an overload of physical humor and vulgar jokes, but if you're willing to invest your time into the story and characters, you'll find that there is an actual heart to the story with themes that resonate on a transcendent level. The film, overall, is about maturity. The movie tells you that maturity doesn't necessarily mean you have to work hard and never play to be an adult, but that you have to do the right thing when the time comes, even if it means putting some of your own desire and aspirations down momentarily. I would say that the only thing stopping this movie being really good is that it constantly treats its audience with extremely unfunny comedy whenever there's a touching moment that slows the story down for an emotional note. It's a good story, but it's not a very good movie. It trades emotion for gags that never seem to work (although, Adam Scott was pretty damn funny as the alpha male douche bag).