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CHAPPiE: Flawed But Fun
Neill Blomkamp captivated all of us with District 9. Elysium was a disappointment to be sure. I went into CHAPPiE with hopes that Blomkamp would return to form.
And he does. And also doesn't.
The first half of the film is a disjointed mess. Through most of the half, I kept wondering where the film was supposed to be going.
Then, the film finally found what it wanted to be, about halfway through the movie. But once it got it's way, it felt like what we all hoped Blomkamp would give us. Unfortunately, the stumblings of the first half demand to be tied up in the end, resulting in several plot points that we don't actually care for.
The good: Sharlto Copley is wonderful as Chappie, the special effects are spot on, with some wonderful cinematography that makes the action sequences captivating.
The bad: really disjointed pacing, indecisive editing choices, and a poorly written (though wonderfully acted by Hugh Jackman) villain who seems to be there for the sole purpose of having a villain.
Overall, CHAPPiE is enjoyable enough to warrant the price of the ticket. Is it as good as District 9? Not by a long shot. Does it show that Blomkamp has improved since Elysium? Yes, but he's still got some work to do before the Alien movie.
The Call (2013)
Do Yourself A Favor, and Don't Waste Your Money
I saw this 2 days before it was released because I won a free screening of the film, and I figured it couldn't be that bad. I went in with low expectations and this movie met those expectations. I'll try to avoid doling out spoilers, but just be wary of the next few paragraphs.
Simply on a plot based level, its very cliché. Halle Berry is a 911 operator in LA, who just happens to look so much better than everyone in the building, who makes a serious mistake that gets a caller killed. She ends up being emotionally scarred from this. Wait- stop me if you've heard this one.
Then, Abigail Breslin gets kidnapped after exchanging some terrible dialogue with another similar aged girl-the dialogue sounds more like something you'd hear from teenage guys on an irregular basis with lines like "I'm starving like a motherf**ker" and "He totally wants to bone you." So Breslin calls 911 and gets a newbie operator. The newbie freaks out and so Halle Berry steps in, begging the question of why anyone in their right mind would let someone take a similar call to the scarring call that happened only 6 months ago.
There are plenty of moments like this in here where the viewer is left to wonder "Does that even make sense?". There are cops overreacting, irrational and risky moves by the heads of the 911 operator office, and the movie tops it all off with Halle Berry making the dumbest decision anybody could make, which is something that everyone has seen in these movies before and not many will be surprised by it.
Speaking of surprises, the big plot twist of the movie is in the plot description here on IMDb, even though the twist was a fairly predictable move in the beginning. The whole movie ends up playing out like a bad episode of Criminal Minds, trying too hard to be a psychological thriller.
The ending is terrible, by the way. My father, who I saw this with and actually somewhat enjoyed it (his exact words were "It wasn't bad for a free movie") admitted that the ending was hokey and bad. It suddenly changes both Berry's and Breslin's characters and takes away any protagonistic features they possessed with one action. When the screen cut to black and the credits showed, somebody stood up in the audience and screamed "That was the worst ending ever!" and many laughed in agreement. As I left, I overheard people pointing out many of the logical flaws I too had noticed.
So go see this if you don't mind having your intelligence insulted. But if you're like me and plan on only spending your money on things that are worth it, do yourself a favor and don't see this.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The perfect ending to a perfect series
This film is spectacular, the closest thing I have seen to perfection in film since the good ol days of filmmaking.
If you're hoping its better than The Dark Knight, your hopes have been answered. Christopher Nolan somehow outdoes himself once again, delivering a fantastic plot with great action, character development, and direction.
The writing itself is a wonder. The dialogue in this film is outstanding and perfectly fits each character.
Heath Ledger set a new standard for acting talent in comic book films. TDKR definitely meets that bar, possibly surpassing it. No single performance is better than Ledger's but everyone gives 110% in this and it comes together nicely. Christian Bale gives perhaps his most heartfelt performance in this one, and Tom Hardy is terrifying as Bane. Other regulars such as Caine and Oldman are just as good as ever. Joseph Gordon Levitt is a breath of fresh air and plays his part to perfection. However, I give it to Anne Hathaway for stealing the show. She is seductive, sexy, and dangerous as Catwoman, and becomes the very essence of the femme fatale.
Hans Zimmer continues to be my favorite film composer. His score simply blows me away, especially the way he uses the chants from the trailers as Bane's theme. Zimmer promised us an epic score, and delivered.
Editor Lee Smith and Director of Photography Wally Pfister both continue their win streak, as well as production designer Nathan Crowley and Costume designer Lindy Hemming.
All in all, TDKR is the best of this series. It is emotionally gripping and, at times, gutwrenching. As a current film student, I can honestly say that TDKR possesses all of the essential qualities of an Oscar for Best Picture. If you have seen the previous two Batman movies, you will enjoy this film so much more than you ever have. It truly is a whole new cinematic experience.