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The Guest (2014)
A very interesting movie
I have to admit, I wasn't prepared for this movie. I thought it would be a suspense thriller given the synopsis but boy, this movie was a different ride altogether! Dan Stevens plays David, a soldier looking for a place to stay overnight. He comes to the Petersons to deliver a message from their son, who has fallen. Sheila, the fallen soldier's mother is reluctant at first but allows him inside their home. After seeing a photo of him and her son on the field, she is convinced and invites David to stay at their place. A day turns into a few days. The family members slowly get to know and trust David through the various interactions with him.
David's stay soon becomes interesting with a lot of mysterious deaths. Somehow the family members are skeptical about David's involvement in those.
The suspense building up to the reveal was intense. I was thoroughly engaged in the movie and confused at the same time about David's character. Who is he? Why is he doing some things? What's his motive? were all questions running through my mind.
The movie gets slow paced for a while but there are some really interesting developments and events that make the wait worthwhile. The soundtrack is amazing and plays well with the flow of the movie. Dan Stevens acting was terrific, his portrayal of David was truly terrifying.
I see this as kind of a modern take on the thriller genre. I can't give it a 7.5 so it's a 7 for me. Don't go by the trailer and mistake this for what it is. Give it a try. Surely, a movie that ends with the line "WTF?" wouldn't be boring.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)
Fun fest with a Michael Bay touch
I was stoked for this movie since I've been a big fan of TMNT for most of my childhood. On the other hand though, I was kind of doubtful this would reach the likes of the Batman reboot.
Shredder and his Foot Clan are wreaking havoc on New York City. Megan Fox, who plays April O'Neil is a struggling journalist who is on the lookout for some exciting story for Channel 6 news. She stumbles across some Foot Clan activity and sees a vigilante fight them off. Unable to get a clear shot of him and with her coworkers not believing her story, she is desperate to find another situation. Enter the subway station attack, where she is conveniently present and held hostage by the Foot Clan who are looking to fight off vigilantes. She follows them and gets introduced to them.
How Splinter and the turtles evolved are revealed in the movie so one does not need to know their origins. Later on, we learn that William Fichtner, chairman of Sacks enterprise has devoted to fight off crime in the city. The journey then begins to fight off Shredder who with his Foot Clan are prepared to release toxins in the city.
The premise was good, however there the execution was poor. How April manages to conveniently find and help the turtles with no major brain power required, how turtles are conveniently stocked with gadgetry and knowledge about computer systems and with an over clichéd plot of releasing toxins in the city (haven't we seen it all too well before?), the movie was all too predictable. Not to mention the special Michael Bay touch, unnecessary shaky cam in some situations, an over the top fight scene on the snowy slopes of a mountain and poorly written script (Will Arnett's character was a mess).
The CGI effects were good though, the turtles didn't look like men in costumes, the fight scenes were good and every scene of Michelangelo was funny (thankfully!). Megan Fox's acting wasn't too bad either. If you want to relive a part of the childhood craze, go see this movie but be aware that this is no Oscar worthy endeavor.
There often comes a movie which is based on a ridiculous premise that is somewhat entertaining. Lucy is one of those.
There's no formal introduction of the character of Lucy except that she's living in Taipei. How she got there, who she is, what she does for a living are all left to the viewer's imagination. She somehow gets mixed up in affairs that led her to be a victim of CPH4 (blue crystals) ingestion in large quantities. (We're told by Morgan Freeman that CPH4 is produced by a pregnant woman's body in small quantities to help the foetus develop bones).
The more CPH4 gets ingested, the higher percentage of brain she uses and unfortunately, the more ridiculous the movie gets. Lucy uses her enhanced brain usage to free herself from the captors and "gather" information about whereabouts of the other victims as her body is now craving more CPH4. She can now see the inner workings of trees and people and manages to diagnose her friend as well. She then ends up in France and makes allies with a cop to track down the other victims and contact Morgan Freeman, all while bad guys are trying to hunt her down.
The visual effects and action sequences are good but they can't salvage a poorly scripted movie. One of the ridiculous moments is a call Lucy places to her mother. Any sane mother would have asked "Are you high or on drugs?". I don't know how other audience members kept a straight face through that. Plus there are numerous other hilarious metaphors.
The final moments are over the top where Lucy becomes an all knowing all encompassing monster as she devours all the remaining CPH4, while the cop is trying to fend off bad guys and Morgan Freeman and other neuroscientists are watching in awe. And then as Morgan Freeman suggests, she manages to "pass on" her information.
Scarlett's decent acting might be the saving grace for this movie. If you like movies like Crank, then this might be good entertainment. Regardless, remember to use only 10% of your brain while watching this.
Earth to Echo (2014)
Terrible shaky camera ruins an otherwise good film
I was really excited about this movie after watching the trailer. Unfortunately, I think the trailer picked up the most stable of the shots.
Although there was a strong resemblance to E.T., and I could relate to The Goonies too a little bit, the movie got off to a good start and it maintained the pace throughout.
Three buddies, Tuck, Alex and Munch are soon to be separated by a construction project causing their families to move. Tuck, an amateur videographer almost always has a camera handy and tapes all moments with his friends. A few days before the move, all their cell phones start behaving weirdly. Alex discovers it's a map and soon their last night together turns into an adventure. Tuck tapes the whole adventure and we see the story from whatever was taped (found footage).
Cons: 1. Shaky cam - I'm usually neutral to shaky cam. I know it's supposed to be amateur footage, but why subject the audience to a dizzying IMAX screen of shaky cam the entire length of the movie? I was fortunately sitting in the back but I felt sorry for the people in the front rows. If you're prone to motion sickness, do not watch this. Even I take better videos than this with my hand-held camera.
2. Screen time of Echo - Given that the movie is about an alien, the screen time of Echo is very less. I would have loved to see more of Echo definitely. The departure of Echo is rather abrupt.
3. Unnecessary character - Emma was definitely a purposefully introduced and totally unnecessary character.
Pros: 1. Good acting - By all the three kids. They did their part well.
2. Good soundtrack - I think the music plays only for a few minutes in the movie but I liked it.
3. Good graphics - The graphics were really nice. Echo and rest of the sequences were well done.
Like another review, I would consider this more of a good rental movie than one that's good to see in the theater.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
The definite blockbuster of this summer
Another sci-fi movie starring Tom Cruise didn't interest me much. The trailer also didn't give me a clear idea of what this movie was about which made it even surprisingly good to experience it! The thing about movies like these is that there's a lot of potential to repeat the same things over and over and leave the viewer uninterested. However, every time there was something new so it didn't feel repetitive. There were also elements of humor that were refreshing. The editing should be admired.
Without giving too much away, I'll say that Tom Cruise (Major Cage) is an absolute novice in warfare, who is involuntarily picked for an assault on aliens who have taken over Europe. To combat these aliens, the joint forces around the world have developed a armor suit laced with heavy weaponry. He is baffled as to why he was picked when he knows nothing about warfare. That part wasn't satisfactorily answered. The first day after combat, he begins to develop symptoms of living the same day over and over again. Baffled, he tries to explain the situation to others who disregard his views. In Rita, he finds someone who can understand his situation.
There on, it's a thrilling ride of finding out what's causing these repetitions and finding a means to put an end to it. The movie is fast paced so no mulling over. Little details of changes in the scenery, how Cage modifies his behavior both to convince others and to find an answer, and how events unfold are put forth excellently. I'm sure enthusiasts can find plot holes aplenty but I found this movie thoroughly entertaining. If you're in the mood for watching fast-paced action sci-fi, then I definitely recommend this movie!
Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014)
I did not see that coming!
I wasn't impressed watching the trailer. Thankfully, I got a chance of a pre-screening. I'm perplexed by the low ratings because I absolutely loved this movie! This is coming from someone who hasn't seen Mr. Peabody before.
Mr. Peabody is a genius dog who adopts a boy and raises him to be a genius too. Unfortunately things change when the boy goes to school and gets bullied by a girl. Mr. Peabody, to appease things, invites the girl and her parents to a dinner at their house, everything goes haywire from there and we meet some pretty interesting characters from the past.
What made this movie special is the little details that are revealed along the way like how Sherman was adopted. The animation is fantastic and the 3D adorns it. As someone who likes puns, I absolutely loved the jokes, not just from Mr. Peabody but from other characters in the movie as well. Agamemnon was hilarious! Not everything is funny though, there are a few serious and tear jerking moments that make this movie special.
My only complaint is that some time travel stuff explained in the movie can be a bit hard to understand for children. Other than that, it's an absolute treat both for children and adults. Go watch it!
Parental Guidance (2012)
Unexpected cheer for the holidays!
I was at an advance screening of this movie. I didn't keep any hopes as I thought it would be another heavily clichéd unfunny movie. I'm glad that I was proved wrong. The movie is really funny and light-hearted. What I liked is that this film did not have any poorly written lines or jokes.
Everyone played their part well. Especially the kids (although their movie names could have been better) So, Artie (Billy Crystal) is a baseball commentator who's the father of Alice (Marisa Tomei). Artie and his wife Diane (Bette Middler) are unwillingly invited to watch over their grand-kids for a week. Based on previous experience, Alice is concerned over how they would handle her kids (who are overly disciplined) What follows is a week long fun ride with unexpected situations arising due to Artie who is put at blame. The youngest is especially a challenge. There are no plot twists here so as expected everything turns out well in the end.
Don't expect stellar performances, but I'm sure you'll love the kids! I don't think this would garner any Oscars but it's sometimes these feel-good movies (genuinely funny) that make your day. Definitely a must-watch for the holidays with all your family members!
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises! But not as high as The Dark Knight
I saw the midnight screening of the movie. And interestingly enough, I was half satisfied.
Some of the elements that bothered me: 1. The terrible mumbling of characters. Seriously needed subtitles in some scenes to understand what was going on. 2. Bane wasn't as menacing as I thought. I'm not comparing him to the Joker. Hardy would have done a fine job but he wasn't giving any menacing moments like the Joker. 3. Even Catwoman didn't have a big enough role. Or probably it's just me trying to compare it to the cartoon. 4. Unnecessary loud music. I know music enhances the emotion but I felt it was too loud and unnecessary in some parts.
That said, the final few minutes were really exciting! That saved the film. Everything was beautifully tied and wrapped up. Sad to see the series end but happy that it ended on a good note.
I would say The Dark Knight was the best of the trilogy. But again that would be my opinion. There was so much emotion in TDK that was missing here, which would have made this movie epic! If you look from the perspective of TDK, it was very different from Batman Begins. I just felt this movie tried hard to imitate it's predecessor but fell short of expectations.
Just go in for the final few minutes and the climax. Although don't keep your hopes too high!
Due Date (2010)
Another hilarious adventure!
Saw it today at an advance screening in CU.
On one hand is a businessman, Peter Highman, who's trying to take a flight to LA to meet his wife who is about to have their child. On other hand is an aspiring actor, Ethan Tremblay, trying to make it big in Hollywood. They meet at the Atlanta airport and the adventure begins.
Having being denied boarding the flight, the reason for which I won't spoil here, they are forced to take a road trip to LA. Plus there's a dog with Ethan. Peter's already regretting the decision but has no choice. The next couple of days are full of surprises neither of them is ready for.
Feeling completely out of place, Peter is harassed by endless questions and embarrassed by outrageously hilarious behavior. He has no idea he will end up from a businessman in Atlanta to a guy with ripped clothes, a broken arm, a gunshot wound with handcuffs two days later.
There's never a dull moment in this movie, even though it has a few serious moments. It brings a refreshing feel to the movies this year and will make you laugh as much as, if not more than The Hangover. RDJ as always, is brilliant with the role of the utterly frustrated businessman who would kill Ethan if it was legal to do so. Zach is, well, perfect as the plump wannabe actor who says and does inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times. Get ready for another hilarious adventure from Todd Phillips! Oh and check yourself before you wreck yourself with laughter!
Intriguing story, painfully slow execution
Hereafter is basically of story of unrelated people in different parts of the world that somehow come together after being connected to death in some way. Very interesting story.
However, the execution is pretty slow. First few minutes are really interesting and may get the audience into believing that this may be a roller-coaster ride. Things kind of die down after that unfortunately, being centered on the various characters of the story. Things never seem interesting in the mundane lives of the characters until the very end where a hasty attempt of tying them together is made.
It is not heavily flawed though and has an artistic side to it. The concept of death affecting the characters in some or the other way is intriguing and we get to see various perspectives. I personally thought that the story could have been given more justice.
Not the kind of fast-paced action movie expected from Eastwood but good nonetheless and requires a bit of patience.