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Need for Speed (2014)
Amazingly... good movie?
I was stunned. No seriously. I started watching this movie with low expectations, as I have been dreadfully disappointed in game based movies in the past. The Fast and Furious syndrome, which I have seen in all other street race movies,further made me wince as I started watching this movie.
I was pleasantly surprised. Aaron Paul has some good screen presence, and his 'sidekicks' bring a lot into the game. The brit lady is incredibly smooth in her interactions with Aaron, and the villain is believable and scum enough for us to not care that he loses the final bout. As most race car movies are, it is predictable when it actually comes to how it ends, but it has enough twists and turns that it has you guessing more than you'd think.
The races are realistic, and exciting, the cop chases a bit less realistic but with the commentary of both the Monarch and Aaron's sidekicks it makes it fun to watch. It was an enjoyable movie that doesn't try to be anything that it isn't. Not a new Citizen Kane, but enjoyable enough to be recommended.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
Think about it. The books were loosely based on the romanticized life and works of Carlos the Jackal. And while a masterpiece in literature, in my opinion, it revolved more around Jason Bourne. It was a Psychological Thriller and remained a classic for that reason.
So, for obvious reasons, they couldn't adapt the movie directly from the book. The several names are there and people are there, but most of it had to be modernized and personally, I loved the way that they did it. The story remained about Bourne and how he is clawing his way out of his mind to try and remember anything and everything about his past life, not only out of sheer curiosity, but because, well, people are hunting him and he has no idea why.
Which is why I give this movie a damn good review. Everything else they could have tossed out of the window, but that psychological part, the part that I think most Bourne fans will agree, was the most crucial and they nailed it to the effing tree. Marie is there to help the damaged killer to find his human side and realize that not everyone in the world is after him. The acting is superb, the fight scenes are gritty, brutal and realistic, the plot, if basic, is strong and to the point. Only a few side plots are added and everything is neatly wrapped up at the end.
2012 meets Spartacus
With too much 2012, and too little Spartacus.
The Story itself is nothing new. This is, after all, one of the oldest stories to be put to screen. I remember finding the black and white version in the Video store, I remember finding the series... somewhere, and I am sure there are a handful of other depictions out there.
But seeing it, I entered the theater with some hope in my heart. It had everything to become an epic, something to launch Harington's career past Game of Thrones. The plot is there, the actors are there, the setting it there.
I mean, how the f*** can you f*** up Gladiators, Roman Empire, disaster love epic? Seriously?
The first impression that I get from it is that it is way too rushed. They are covering too much time in too little time. The work of the Romans over the Celts is instantly forgettable, despite the constant attempt to remind us of it, lighting and editing sucks, acting was just barely average, and the love interest is, again, rushed. You only find out the Main Character's name halfway through the movie, for crying out loud. I get the feeling that it is supposed to make the main character mysterious in some manner, which is half the battle, but it just seems like a oversight. The characters can be likable, and I promise, I tried, but if you have to try to like a character, the movie has already failed.
Of course, this movie wasn't all bad. The acting, again, is average. The sweeping views of the countryside, while suffering with the poor lighting, is neatly done. CGI is well done, and despite my spoiled nature when it comes to fight scenes, either having to be epic, ala 300, Spartacus or Wuxia/Jet Li movies, or Jason Statham types, with quick, brutal and realistic. Pompeii nails that last one to bloody perfection. Some people might complain of them being a little confusing, but it is quick and not always easy to keep up with, having to run your mind back over it once you've seen the effects.
So, Kudos to the stunts and Choreographers.
Another thing that I like about it is the ending. Not what you would expect and, in my humble opinion, how the Titanic should have ended.
So, nothing new, nothing epic, nothing classic. I wouldn't recommend it, but I cannot honestly say that there is nothing good about this film.
4/10, not being skimpy or generous.
Drive Angry (2011)
To Watch When Drunk or in the Mood For Mindless Fun
Let's be honest. We have long stopped expecting Nick Cage to hammer out Oscar nods in movies like this. Drive angry is pure entertainment. If you are religious and easily offended by Religious content in movies, you shouldn't watch this. If you are expecting something that will be a classic to last the ages like Citizen Kane, you shouldn't watch this. If you were expecting the film to take itself seriously.... you probably knowing where I'm going with this right?
Milton (Cage) starts out with a bang, quite literally, hammering up a bunch of crackheads over something we're not quite sure about. I'm sure they mentioned something about a child, and then boom, scene changes.
Milton meets someone in a diner, kisses her, gets information, and leaves. Piper (appropriately named, Head) Is the hot girl of the movie, and with a temper to match her long, tanned legs. She quits her job, gives Milton a ride after the cheesiest meetup/dialogue in the history of cheesy meetup dialogues, and they head off to where Piper is heading.
Piper breaks up with her boyfriend, and Milton steps in to help her escape his wrath.
If you have left the Movie Theater by now, you are missing out in a huge treat.
The Accountant steps in. His lean, gaunt, bored-yet-classy style immediately captures the attention. His lines are shot off quickly and off beat, like he is getting used to his mouth again, not really caring. He has done his job for God knows how long and this is just another run- of-the-mill job for him.
I particularly love his encounter his encounter with Frank (Piper's ex) and subsequently the cops. I think he would have been the best choice as Two-Face of the Batman franchise.
But I digress.
We go back to Milton, with some forgettable conversation, tits, guns, blood gore, etc, and the movie moves on at a good pace, not letting you get bored for a second. I won't put too many spoilers around here, but yeah, that's all you need to know going in so far.
My advice? Stay away from this film if you are looking for anything more meaningful than empty entertainment. If you are braindead from a long day at a mindnumbing job or studies, and all you want to do is watchsome action with some funny, watch this. I smiled and enjoyed the ride.You should too.
Now You See Me (2013)
The movie starts out with an interesting premise and an intriguing cast of characters. I am not a fan of Jesse Eisenberg. His quick talking, over confident jerk does not get me all that much (although the scene where he gets his card is hilarious). I do, however, enjoy the performances of Woody Harrelson and Isla Fisher. The interactions of the two are near on perfect, getting me to chuckle more than a few times. Dave Franco is practically nonexistent, for everything that he brings to the film. Melanie Laurant is there to be a pretty face and go oooh and aaaaah over the magic tricks. Mark Ruffalo's character is a bit harder to judge, as the character is acting, after all. The scenes where he is being his normal natural self, like the end, seem a bit more natural, so yeah.
A lot of people are complaining about the character development, but seriously... you are walking into a movie with Eisenberg and Harrelson as the main actors. Were you really expecting something deep and meaningful, with the world rocked over the magic mystery that this film is?
No. I saw those two names among the cast, and I went in knowing that it would be a shallow magic flick. And I was pleasantly surprised. Not about the shallow flick part, but because I found myself actually enjoying how... meaningless it was. They had the chance to make it deep and meaningful with the whole 'Eye' aspect, but they decided not to. This film does not put out any serious message, Oscar-nod-worthy portrayals. It is simply there to make you get lost in this fictional world for about two hours and nothing more.
Of course, there are plot holes and the capability of a watcher to suspend belief is a little stretched at times, but do you seriously go to see a magic show because the magician is a deep and complex character, with a tragic backstory and is capable of change if only the right woman were to step into his life and set him straight through a long and drama filled quest to find out the true meaning of life?
If so... don't you ever talk to me. You sound like a very boring person to be around. This movie, when it comes to pure entertainment value, I give it a ten. Acting I put on an 8. plot comes at an even 6, which makes for an 8 average, and that's what I'll give it. Fun to watch, but don't watch it if you are looking for drama or Nolan-worthy plot twists and character development. That's for other genres.
Unbiased View of this Film
I just have to start out by saying: I loved this film. It had me gripping my seat. It had me chuckling at the one liners. It had me punching my fists in the air at the hand-to-hand action sequences. It had my blood pumping till the very end. I even smiled and felt satisfied when Anderson was finally approved at the end, even though it was obviously how the movie was going to end.
But as I said, an unbiased review is needed, and I shall do my best:
The make of the movie is like a first shot at a FPS game. There's an opening sequence in which you are taught the controls, as well as enough backstory to get you going. The plot isn't something out of a G.R.R. Martin book. It is simple, and to the point. Bad guys introduced promptly, and the way that the plot will go along is hardly rocket science. Bad Guys did a bad thing. Badass character to reach bad guys and kill them with prejudice. A gazillion small-time baddies to kill before we get there. Better get rolling.
Next we introduce Rookie Anderson. A young pretty girl that initially failed the test to become a judge but is given a second chance because well, she's a psychic. Who doesn't want someone like that on their team? Dredd is not amused at being the one to score her performance, but he follows his orders to the letter, and not one step beyond. At first, you think that this movie will succumb to what many others have and make Anderson something of a Love interest for Dredd. I am happy to say that this did not happen, and we can move on.
Ma-ma, played brilliantly by Lina Heady, is a sadistic bitch that rose to control of her area by sheer brutality and intimidation tactics. Beginning her career as a criminal as a hooker that effeminates her pimp while giving the guy a blowjob is street cred anywhere you go.
The special effects were gritty for a reason. The budget was lower than a sci-fi usually gets, so they needed to make it believable without having the money to make something like the Avengers. It 'looks' like a FPS game. The gore is in good amounts but not delayed upon. It cuts short, brutal and quick. The editing on the Psi scenes is brilliant, cutting through unnecessary dilemmas and going straight for the nitty and the gritty. The interrogation sequence between Rookie Anderson and Jay is particularly terrifying. The slo-mo scenes are so good I could talk about them all day.
The morality of the movie, which was what had most liberal critics' panties in a twist is, of course, an issue. Cops that don't need to rely on courts and juries to execute judgement does in fact raise a few questions. But think about it: You are living in a brutal world, where the criminals have taken brutality and violence to the next level. If Police were forced to maintain order under those circumstances, they would quickly lose the battle for the city.
In essence, the plot is simplistic and to the point. Character development is weak, but that s mainly because Dredd has none. The arc for Rookie Anderson is well made though. The bad guys are bad, no questions about it, and you feel no remorse when you see Ma-ma plummeting to her death at the end. The effects were the best that could be made out of a low budget.
To wrap things up, it is not a movie to watch if you are looking for romance, love, touching scenes and plot twists. It is a testosterone packed flick that is to be watched after a long and tear-filled evening of watching 'The Notebook' and Twilight, just to get your manliness reaffirmed. Enter expecting lots of gore, brutality and ruthlessness, and whatever the bad guys have planned. Don't watch it if weak of heart, politics, mind or stomach.
Let's start where all TV Shows should be judged: The Plot.
Wait, let's try again. A bit more detail this time.
Okay, so, Detective Hottie (Let's just call her that) is part of a government police force that hunts down terrorists. Now, lets stop there. The government is purchased by corporations, and is now a totalitarian government, one that does not allow freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of well... anything. And, let's face it, we have seen this stuff in Sci-fi movies before right.
Wait, what? They're the good guys? We are supposed to side with them? Well, apparently, as the hot chick that we are supposed to sympathize with thinks so. Huh. Who'da thunk?
She helps capture a bunch of 'evil' freedom fighters, and sentences them to the future's equivalent of the firing squad, but first they somehow manage to get their hands on some sort of magical time traveling device and travel back in time to today.
I know this was somehow supposed to be a sort of depiction of blurring the lines between who are the good guys and the bad guys, but yeah, one the one side, we have the super woman (Hottie) That has a little boy and has the puppy-dog eyes and the very philosophical and witty one-liners. One the other side... we have a bunch of bloodthirsty psychopaths and rabid killers. Okay...
I don't know if I should be intrigued by this new and obviously risky move by the producers, or if I should be insulted. I keep on watching, and see Det. Hottie easily infiltrating the PD, threatening one of the men she helped capture with the death his innocent ancestors, somehow working with the PD to catch the rest with the help of some hacker teenager that... I guess is gonna be the dictator of her time?
Yeah, I'm going with being insulted.
But let's not stop there. After all, crappy plots can be salvaged by good acting. It has happened before, and can again.
Not a chance. More detail? Okay, allow me:
Rachel Nichols (AKA Det. Hottie) Has never ranked very high in my books. Wooden acting, crappy movies, more wooden acting, cliché characters... yeah, she isn't really good. But hey! Everything is better with nice, skin-tight red clothing that is more for show and tell than use!
I was talking about acting skills here, not cleavage. And she has none. Acting skills that is.
Victor Webster was obviously chosen for his good looks, and that's about all he has going for him. Again, wooden, cliché acting, trying to keep up with his female partner (And yet not his partner) with witty one- liners that make you cringe from how out of place they are, he somehow manages to make Hottie's acting passable.
We don't see much of Eric Knudsen except for him trying to understand the meaning of life and how the hell he, a geek, managed to get Hottie talking to him, but from what we see, he somehow overshadows the other two main characters in this series. It's like Agents Cho and Rigsby from the Mentalist being more entertaining to watch than Jane and Lisbon. Seriously folks.
I would go on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on..... but that would be a waste of my time. To those that like this show, get your moral compasses working and the rest should come naturally. To those that haven't watched it here's my warning: Watch Almost Human. Better acting, plot, and everything. You won't be disappointed. To those that didn't like it: Congrats on having something between your ears that isn't cotton. We should totally get a drink later.
Time and Space Stopped for the Second Time
The first time I saw Statham at this caliber was Revolver. I will come out by saying that I like his movies because I like watching this guy kick ass. He has a badass spirit to him that makes him regularly act in violent movies, and I accept that not many people like this. However, here was a different Statham. While he still presents that one side of personality, the angry, all the time guy. But here you find out why he's angry, and the way out. He gives himself in, turns himself around (granted, by becoming a pro hit-man). Then again, as a soldier, it's practically all he is capable of doing, so it makes sense. The only reason I don't like it is because of the nun. She... ruins the plot by being a love interest.
So yeah, a new side to Statham, where he puts aside his machismo and sheds a few tears. The fights, although not many, are gritty and rough, no high kicks or Wuxia-based flying action. The plot is gritty and not too hard to follow, and the acting is superb.
And for the people thinking that others are stupid by liking this film should get their heads out of Twilight and 50 Shades and try to see an action/drama movie for what it is.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
I was Blackmailed into Watching this...
Seriously. I wouldn't have gone any other way.
At the persistence of a die-hard fan girlfriend, I read the books. While cheesy and obviously not my style, I could see how it would appeal to the Prince Charming fantasy that most high-school girls like. As I got the ending I was gradually wanting more and more bathroom breaks. It's just not my thing. And having it drawn out through not one, not two, but four books just made me... irritable.
Then I watched the movie, with the same girlfriend.
I could sigh here and rub my temples, but let's get this over with. I don't think we need to harp anymore on just how horrible the acting of Kristen Stewart and Bobbie Patinson was. Taylor Lautner deserves some credit too. Obviously picked to be eye-candy, this dude cannot act. He looks sarcastic or angry through the entire film. His attempts at dialogue are pretty sad, and his hatred for vampires somehow makes you think he is a closet sparkly fan. I think he has a crush on Alice.
Speaking of... well, Alice was dainty in the books, but here, they turn her into a pretty little butterfly, flitting and flying, huffing when she doesn't get her way. Jasper was supposed to be intense and controlled, but he comes off more as bored to be here, the same for Carlisle and Esme. Rosalie is a bitch, and even though her acting makes everyone else seem like drawings, she is still irritating and grating and you hate her anyway. The only good thing about this movie is Emmett. He seems to be having so much fun that it just makes us wanna know about him.
The plot makes a sad Kristen Stewart sad, or, in her case, bland. The heartbreak would only make a three-year old cry because he/she has a dirty nappy, and well... even in the book, she seemed like she spent the entire time just... moping. And if anyone did that in real life, if a friend, I would sit her down, and have a serious 'get over him!' talk, and since she doesn't have any friends, all you can do is just pray for Laurent to kill her. Another decent casting choice, in my humble opinion.
So, she is drawn to Italy, where she flies off because Edwards is, yes, gonna kill himself because he realized he sparkles in the sunlight.... no wait, because Alice saw Bella jump into the water, and for some under explained reason she can't see what happens when the wolves are involved. I really didn't get that, in the books or in the movies. Meyer has a lot of these plot holes in her work.
And here we get to the only good side of the movie: The Vulturi. While their build-up is pretty weak, Micheal Sheen, Dakota Fanning, and whoever it is that plays Felix are incredible. Putting fear in the people's hearts, and well, during the Edward-Felix fight, I was chanting 'Felix, Felix, Felix,' In the movie theater, you kinda wished that the series was about them. They have the history, they have the background and something to build with. Hell, even as the bad guys, Meyer could have built them up a bit more.
In the end, nobody dies, and Bella and Edward are back together again even thought nobody understood why they broke up in the first place, Bella goes home to her ever-bland daddy-o played by Billy Burke, who went on to a stunning performance in 'Drive Angry' who, wouldn't you know, grounds his 17-year-old daughter for eternity. The end.
And it couldn't have come sooner.
I would have given this movie 1 star, but due to the excellent casting by the under-developed villains, as well as a couple others, I decided not to drop it down all the way. Overall, not a movie you want to waste your time with, considering the only good thing about it was a few of the side actors. Made for, by, and to honor the fans, and nobody else, which in my opinion, is a blatant lack of respect.
Hammer of the Gods (2013)
I wasted my time watching this.
Okay. I have just watched this movie and, by all Gods, I will forget it. The first place that this movie went wrong was that it tried to follow too many plots at the same time. If they had managed to follow these plots, or at least explain why they were presented, this film would have been made into something great. Unfortunately, they do not. They bring in characters, and, with a teaser of a presentation, they are discarded and never heard from again. The action scenes are average at best, and the movie seems to spend more time looking over the impressiveness of the set rather than developing the characters. In the end, you are left frustrated and with a giant question mark over your head. What happened here? Who is he? Why did he do that? Apparently this movie needs no explaining, and they just pass right over that without telling us what on earth we just saw.
To it's credit, there are a few castings that are pretty good, and the last fight scene is pretty visceral and brutal, and pretty fun to watch, if it might have a bit too much MMA mixed in, but it's still pretty good.
Overall, a very sub-par movie that had great potential, and with good build-up and good planning, could have been a classic. But as it was, poorly produced and poorly presented, it will be a movie that these actors will be asking to be destroyed and never seen again in the next millennium.