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Moving, dark, morose and fantastic story telling
I have been truly taken by surprise with The Hunger Games movie series. When the first one came out I knew nothing about it except that the books were quite popular. Needless to say my first viewing of the first one I enjoyed it a lot but also was disturbed that it was considered a story for young adults. Now skip ahead and I loved Catching Fire and for me Mockingjay part 1 is every bit as good as Catching Fire in its own ways. It may not have the action that made the first 2 such good movies but where it lacks in action it makes up for with excellent acting and a compelling story. The war is beginning and the finale looks to be glorious. This is a dark and morose movie. You wont find hardly any smiles and very few laughs but thats not a bad thing.
We are being thrust into a world where the Government is corrupt and a civil war is brewing, it would seem odd if it wasn't occasionally if not mostly depressing. But its not the kind of depressing that is going to make you leave the theater sad, no its going to make you leave the theater hungry for more. I care so much for these characters that I am finding myself heavily invested in their struggle. Katniss is in a dark place in this movie as she finds herself the reluctant symbol of the rebellion against the Capital. Its odd that after all she's done she doesn't realize her importance or at least doesn't seem to want the importance. She's the reluctant hero and Im starting to get a martyr vibe. It was a treat once again to see Phillip Seymore Hoffman grace the screen in what is his last fully completed movie. He filmed all but one scene for the second part. Julianne Moore joins the cast as the leader of the rebellion, President Coin and she is a welcome treat. It's nice this franchise was able to lock in such powerhouse actors, just shows that they believe in the material.
This movie isn't going to satisfy action junkies and some may feel that overall not much happens to move the story forward but I believe there is enough going on here to keep you entertained from start to finish. I didn't want it to end and am not looking forward to the long months of counting the days until I get to see the finale to this brilliant series.
King of the summer
And the winner of the summer is, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This is a smart, entirely grossing and heart warming follow up that surpasses its already seller prequel. The characters in this movie are so well done from the apes down to the humans. You understand the motivations here and you feel what each character is feeling. I feel I got a very realistic portrayal of the inside of an extra intelligent ape community, their complexities, their similarities to us. Just stellar film making all around. Caesar has more depth here than he did in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, here is a father a husband and a leader. He is the mosses of the apes and you see his importance to the tribe every time he steps on screen. These apes owe him everything. I thought I would miss James Franco here but Jason Clarke provides plenty of interesting moments here to make you fall in love with his character just as much as you did with James Franco. The action here is well done and the villains really stand out, you've got Gary Oldman who is sorta a play or more a mirror of Koba the villain on the Ape side. These two men are both similar in their one sided view on each others race. Its only Ceasar and Jason Clarke's characters who see the possibility of peace between ape and human. The movie leaves an obvious opening for the clearly bound to happen sequel. Just as I had dubbed Xmen Days of Future Past king of the summer this movie came and stole the crown. This truly is one the greatest years for movies I've ever seen. Even surpassing 2012 with The Avengers and The Dark knight rises. i highly recommend this to anyone who wants to see a great movie.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Oh what a sweet ride !!!
Summer movies rarely get better than this just let me say that. The X- men series has been plagued by inconsistent changes from the comics that rarely even make it from film to film. Making any true continuity between each film very wishy washy at best. That being said I have enjoyed all of them despite sometimes taking liberties with the source material (X-Men The Last Stand). X-men The Last Stand by many hardcore comic followers is a big let down for the liberties it took and while I admit being disappointed with how they handled the Phoenix Saga I did find it overall very enjoyable. But I wont lie and say X-men Days Of Future Pasts had me very excited with its promise to go back and fix some of those liberties that were taken in The Last Stand. This is very much Xavier's story as it was in First Class, here we see a broken and unhappy Xavier who is dealing with the events of First Class. The dynamic between James McAvoy Aand Michael Fassbender is just awesome. Michael Fassbender brings so much intensity to his role as Magneto that he nearly steals every scene he's in. And of course we have probably Hugh Jackman's most human and caring portrayal of Wolverine ever seen on film. Jennifer Lawerence does a great job capturing the complexities of an angry and fed up Mystique who is very much essential to the story here. We get some amazing action scenes featuring the original cast in the future scenes and it all lends itself to the story very well. This is a dire situation that has come about and you certainly see quickly that something has to be done to fix it. Wolverine is an essential piece on the chess board in this film but it is truly Xavier who is the King. The movie fires right on every cylinder and delivers perhaps the best superhero movie since 2012's The Dark Knight Rises. We've had some great comic book movies since then but none of them were on this level. This isn't trying to be a comic book movie full of action its trying to be a story driven by comic book characters and the end result is one of the most satisfying chapters in the X-men Saga.. I can say when the movie ended the only emotion I felt was dread. Dread that I had to wait 2 more years to revisit this great characters.
Aaron Taylor Johnson with a small side of Godzilla
There is a fantastic Godzilla movie here....Unfortunately its mostly left in the background and you only get glimpses of it. For the rest of the time you're focused on Ford played by Aaron Taylor Johnson aka Kickass. His character is a army bomb diffuser or disposer I cant recall which one for sure. He has been separated from his wife after going on a risky trip with his estranged father played by Bryan Cranston. Now he is trying to get home but he's stuck in between 3 giant monsters all duking it out. I failed to take much enjoyment from the humans in this movie and the star of the show was present so little I couldn't get much enjoyment from him either. I felt like the movie kept teasing me and teasing me, showing you brief glimpses of Godzilla and showing you a few seconds of a fight here and there. The method would've been fine if the final battle was epic enough to justify all the teasing. Unfortunately the true finale of the movie didn't reward my patience the way I would've hoped. The special effects here are amazing and Godzilla looks so awesome. And you need to watch this in IMAX to truly get submerged into the sheer scope of this movie. There are defiantly hints at a sequel and a possible reference to the next monster to show up but ultimately this movie left me feeling like I had a boring orgasm after 2 hours of foreplay. I came home and wanted to watch Cloverfield which in my opinion is a superior monster movie. In Cloverfield even with the lack of the monster I cared enough about the humans thanks to the filming style to still really enjoy it. Godzilla didn't give me enough monster and it gave me a so so human story. I cant help but feel a little underwhelmed but this is still a great movie and there is a lot of fun to be had.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
A welcome step up from the first
Well I've been looking forward to this one since the credits rolled on the first one. This series excited me from the moment the reboot was announced because I felt like I might get more the the comic book feel Spider-Man. And the first one The Amazing Spider-man delivered that but was hindered by small problems mostly due to trying to retell a familiar story in a fresh approach. I knew the sequel would probably be better and Im happy to report that it is in almost every way.
First the 3D is better than ever let me just get that out. The romance this time around felt way more believable and kept me interested. Unlike the soap opera feel that Toby and Kirstin had this romance feels fun and interesting. People have been complaining the movies tries to juggle too many villains. I can say for sure that this is Electro's show and Green Goblin has a minimal role as well as Rhino. Jamie Fox as Electro is a genuine creep. The kind of guy you want to know about when he moves into your neighborhood. He is such a lonely man that it has twisted him into a man who is too weird not to be alone. The fight scenes between him and Spider-Man are truly awesome to behold. Andrew Garfield is having more fun here and he has fully settled into his tights. His Spider-Man continues to be more fun than Toby's spider- man. I felt Spider-man seemed even more appreciated in the movie than any of the other films and that combined with Hans Zimmer's new score make for a movie that is hard not to sit there smiling.
There is more heart to this sequel. For a movie boasting bigger action and special effects and villains I found this to be up there next to Spider-Man 2 for having a heartfelt story. Although I still rate Spider-Man 2 as my favorite in all the Spider-Man movies this is my second favorite. It almost feels unfair to compare the 2 series as they are both trying something different. This sequel is defiantly the most fun I've had watching a Spider-Man movie. At the end of the day comic book junkies will complain and critics will complain about the comic book qualities but if you just want to have fun and see a great Spider- Man film this wont disappoint. Don't walk in expecting an Oscar movie and you wont walk out disappointed. If you do then its your fault for not liking it and who cares about your ranting wont change anything. When the credits rolled I was upset knowing I had to wait 2 more years to see the next. 8 out of 10 for me. Thanks for reading.
Just when I thought Marvel was only trying to be a joke this movie blew my mind
Marvel has truly outdone themselves with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There is really no bad things I can say about this movie other than the fact that it ended with an amazing end credits scene and now I have to wait till next year for The Avengers. The acting here is top notch, Chris Evans kills it as Cap and Scarlett brings more depth to Black Widow than ever before. Robert Redford also delivers an excellent role and Sabastain Stan as The Winter Soldier delivers a excellent villain. Of all the marvel villains from the movies, Winter Soldier is the only one who made me nervous when he was on screen. It brought me similar feelings as The Joker and Bane did for the Batman films. The movie is a spy thriller and it serves so perfect to throw Cap into this kind of story line. The events of this movie will forever change the Marvel Comic universe in film. This film also delivered Marvels best fight scenes out of any of their films. No powers or weapons just good old fashioned throwing big punches. This is Marvel reminding us that they can actually be taken seriously which after Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World it seemed like they didn't want to be taken seriously. This is a fantastic film and without giving too much away I can say there were some awesome twists revealed that show some familiar faces.Defiantly go see this movie if you have not yet.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
Heartbreaking, powerful, phenomenal....Oscar material for sure
What a powerful and haunting movie. Very hard to watch at times but so well done and well acted that its hard not to be moved by this very heartbreaking story. Compared to last years Django Unchained, this slavery story doesn't make you smile or laugh, this is not a feel good movie. Chiwetel Ejiofor gives one of the most powerful performances I've seen in a long time. Even Michael Fassbender does a great job creating a character that you will hate. Hans Zimmer provides a haunting score to a haunting movie. This is a very sad reminder of a very sad time for this country. A time that in my opinion was never made up for by this country. Brad Pitt's role while small is just amazing and one of my favorite times seeing him on screen. He is playing much more interesting characters as he's aging. Its been a long time since a movie brought tears to my eyes, this movie will bring you tears
A worthy follow up to District 9, cant say much more though
Elysium is a worth follow up to Neil Blomkamp's District 9. Its got thrilling action, awesome visuals and a couple of really good performances. However it doesn't quite reach the level of greatness that District 9 achieved. Is that a bad thing? That depends, they are 2 separate movies, but with Neil Blomkamp's premier movie being so amazing you really cant help but walk into this movie with very high expectations. If there's one thing that I didn't find overly compelling about this movie is that the story just didn't impress me. The concept is excellent and a very scary view of what our future could very well look like if the gap between the middle class and upper class continues to grow but the story that was wrapped around the concept for some reason didn't fascinate me. The film has a great message and is very entertaining but the overall feeling I had when I walked out was "That was a movie." This film defiantly deserves to be watched as its very entertaining and fans of Matt Damon are sure to enjoy this film. District 9's Shartlo Copley does an excellent job as the films villain. I'd say in my opinion you could be fine waiting to just rent this one.
The Conjuring (2013)
Excellent scary movie, right up there with Insidious
Yet another excellent scary movie from james Wan. I truly do trust this man's style for horror. Like Insidious this film is high on scares and awkward thrills to keep you on the edge of your seat. My opinion with watching scary movies though is pretty much its gotta be at home to be scary. So due to whispers and popcorn chewing I didn't find myself scared watching this but im positive i wouldve been at home in the dark and silence. There is a lot to be terrified about here. The film builds up perfectly to me, I think the current formula of the slow build up to the real terror works well to help keep you nervous. I really enjoyed this film and look forward to experiencing the terror again on blu ray.
Iron Man Three (2013)
Okay movie with an excellent cast
This is a movie that falls under the category for me as needing 2 views to fully appreciate it. If your a devoted Iron Man fan familiar with the comics and the many cartoons he's been in you are likely to want to walk out halfway through. If your only experience with Iron man is the current Marvel movies you'll love it. The movie has excellent action, excellent special effects and Robert Downey jr is at the top of his game with his best performance yet. The advertising of this film is its main fault. The trailers promised a more serious movie and the arrival of the long anticipated nemesis of Iron Man, the Mandarin. Without giving much away it fails to meet both those things which is why I have to dock a star for the deception and for the lack of interest in pleasing the hardcore fans who after all is why these characters got popular enough to bring to the big screen. That being said this movie is a lot of fun and better than the second although still cant top the charm and perfect balance of humor and action the first movie had. There is a lot of fun to be had and aside from some small plot holes and one shockingly odd twist its one of the better marvel movies to date. Im not your movie goer whose is woed into loving a movie due to its action content or special effects as many people are, i look for character development and good story and this movie has all of that and some great action as well. I will say I felt Iron Patriot ( formerly War Machine) was yet again not given his due which is a bummer since this is the last solo Iron Man movie. Hopefully he turns up in the Avengers 2 and is given the role he deserves. Well worth the watch, skip the 3D though...not noticeable in the least bit and I have a 3D TV so I know good 3D versus bad and this qualifies as bad.