Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oz the Great and Powerful

Oz The Great and Powerful is the number one movie in America at the moment as it tells the story of how Oz got to Oz. The film stars James Franco as Oz who, after a Tornado, is taken to Oz where he is seen as the great Wizard who will stop the wicked witch. Overall the movie delivered on its goals, as it serves as a nice prequel and sets up a sequel nicely. 

If you are going into this expecting anything but a kids movie with plenty of holes you will be sadly disappointed. This is a kids movie, first and foremost as evident by its incredibly "wow that was pretty dang convenient" so if you cannot get over that fact then do not see this movie.

James Franco was actually good in this movie, which is shocking because the only other movie I have seen him in where he did a good job acting in was Pineapple Express because well he played a stoner and the guy always looks like a stoner. Yes I saw 127 hours, and no I couldnt get past the stupid expression he had on his face the entire time.

The movie spends some time in Kansas before going to Oz, however this small time in Kansas is necessary as it sets up Oz the character and others. There are some great parallels between the characters from both places, and it works out nicely. For instance the little girl, his assistant, and "the one that got away" all have parts in Oz which is a positive for the film in my book. 

Once he gets to Oz he first meets Mila Kunis and then goes on his way. I will not spoil anything, but the scenes with these 2 really work as the background with Oz in Kansas nicely sets up what will happen when he is with Mila.

Oz then goes on his journey, and picks up companions along the way towards his ultimate goal of getting all that gold! The movie really picks up when he meets the doll. I mean honestly she steals the movie with every scene she is in. From the moment you meet her you cannot help but feel bad for this doll and then she just owns every moment she is in. The fact that she was voiced by the same girl from Kansas is just icing on the cake. The flying monkey is hilarious as well, so they do a good job of balancing each other out. The supporting cast is just awesome. Everyone he meets on the way serves a purpose, especially the town outside of the Emerald City it was nicely done.

The movie moves along at a nice pace, the reveal is predictable but hey it is a kids movie so you will forgive that. The movie then leads up to characters changing who they are and becoming what they thought was impossible to become. It harkens back to the theme of the original movie and is nicely done. 

The final battle also tries to do a bit of a twist, but again it is predictable and does not come as a twist at all. However that doesnt stop the final battle from still being full of emotion and character redemption/growth.

The movie did a great job of building up this characters you want to cheer for, however like most kids movies the motives of the villians are unclear at times at worst and at best incredibly simple.

The first Oz was highly regarded because of its technicolor, however this movie's special effects leave much to be desired. It is almost as if they were not sure if this movie would be profitable so they did not go all out on the graphics which look pretty fake at times. It is a shame as there were plenty of opportunities to do it.

If you are looking for a nice fun kids movie about redemption go see Oz, it does a great job of doing that. However being a fun kids movie does not make it a good movie overall, as there are several way too convenient and flat out dumb moments done by characters. Warning Spoilers: For instance Glinda just happens to be in the dark forest for well no real reason, Theodora doesnt realize a bunch of flying monkeys coming in and out of the city? honestly? These people living outside the emerald city in oz have a shield to protect them against wickedness and Glinda is clearly flying in and out and yet NO ONE IN THE EMERALD CITY BEFORE OZ ARRIVED SEEMS TO EVER HEAR ABOUT THIS!. End Spoilers.

Overall the movie is a fun kids movie about character redemption and finding out who you are, while done better in Wreck it Ralph this movie was still fun. However due to the holes I will give it a 7.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Lincoln Review

Lincoln was a fantastic movie and one of the best movies of 2012, and probably should have won the Oscar.

Lincoln was done phenomenally well and unlike the other historical films, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, Lincoln had a wide range of material for which it could be based on and that also put a responsibility on Stephen to go through and pick out what he wanted. SS did a great job directing this movie and putting everything together.

What I liked: Everything in the movie(aside from the end) was just outstanding. The music. The acting. The fact checks for history. The plot. Everything was just outstanding. Historical movies sometimes suffer from the whole "oh really how does it end"? syndrome in which we know how it ends. However Lincoln did a fantastic job making us care about everything. Daniel Day Lewis did a fantastic job in the movie, just go watch it and  you will be amazed at how wonderful of a job he did portraying Lincoln. Sally Field was amazing as well, and I am biased against his wife to begin with because of history, but she was outstanding in the movie. Even his cabinet actors and the congressman did an outstanding job, especially Tommy Lee Jones. The actors portraying the congressman who were opposed to the passage also did an amazing job, I mean you genuinely hated those people. They were outstanding.

The movie was pretty accurate in terms of history as well, all the events and whatnot was very true to form. Now I know the dialogue is embellished a bit, but it worked out well and you have to give SS some leeway here.

The movie was sprinkled throughout with Lincoln stories, and does a good job of showing that this man had immense pressure on him and came through. It also does a great job of showing that Lincoln was not perfect, that not everything he did was amazing. It showed some genuine issues with him that you can only imagine what today's press would have exposed.

But most of all the movie did a great job showing lincoln the father. It showed his family, it showed his heartbreak, it showed everything that helped us sympathize with the character.

What I didnt like:

My only complaint about the movie is it should have ended 10 minutes sooner, when he puts his gloves down. The movie trailed off after that, and we dont need to see his son crying, or his wife mourning, or a funeral. We all know how it ends( Unless you are the Lakers).

Lincoln was a good movie, and deserved more awards. I give this a 9/10. 

Side Effects Review

This movie tried to be a great psychological thriller, but it really missed the point.

The movie prides itself as being a suspenseful thriller with an intellectual aspect and twists before arriving at the ultimate end.

What I liked: I liked the acting, first and foremost. Jude law is fantastic in it, as always, and you genuinely feel his pain throughout much of the movie. The movie also has good pacing, as I think it was the perfect length and it moved along nicely and didnt drag too long on any one point. Channing Tatum did not really have much to do in this movie, which could be good. Rooney Mara continues to prove that she is a good actress, with this and the girl series under her belt she has proven to be a very capable actress.

I also liked the supporting characters throughout, even the attorney, the wife, and kid did a decent job of at least putting everything into perspective. Every character had a purpose and everyone did a good job fulfilling that purpose.

What I did not like: The movie tried far too hard to be a great thriller, but after the first hour you knew exactly where it was going and it turned into a typical movie. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but it really took away from the tone. I mean it was painfully obvious, then the movie told you, and then it just kept with it. It felt as if the movie was building towards an end it never quite achieved, not to mention the wtf moments like jude law still being allowed to be the shrink to rooney mara and him not really suffering from the loss of income.

I also saw this with my girlfriend, on a scale of loved it, eh or i hated it it got an "eh"

This movie tries to be something that it ultimately failed at being, I give this a 6/10

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jurassic Park Review

Yes I have never seen jurassic park until recently, and no I do not have an agenda against Stephen or anything, I just have not seen the movie. And to be honest rightfully so.

This movie is vastly overrated int he minds of just about everyone who saw it when they were younger. It is meant to be a kid movie, however it goes on for far too long and leaves much to be desired at the end while resorted to lazy storytelling.

What I liked: I loved the special effects. The dinosaurs, the setting, everything in the movie was done with attention to detail and they spared no expenses with effects. It really was astonishing that even all this time the effects stand the test of time. That really was all that I found enjoyable in the movie.

What I did not like: The acting was terrible, particularly the kids. The kids repeatedly made stupid decisions to advance the plot, which was also bad. Also you know a storm might be coming, why not delay the visit of the kids? I understand the lawyer but the kids honestly just push it back! And the fat guy just decides it would be a good idea to shut down all the power systems, in the midst of a storm, while kids are there? I find it hard to believe the party giving him 1.5 mil couldnt just wait. Also the ending was incredibly predictable and did nothing of any sort that was noteworthy. Mix in cheesy dialogue and you have a real stinker.

The special effects saved this movie, however I would give it a 4/10, as everything else just brought it down. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Primer Review

Primer is a low budget psychological thriller that is not for people to watch when they are are either tired, drunk, or trying to multitask. This might be the most confusing movie I have ever seen, and it does not explain too much. After you watch it, just google it and you will want to rewatch it.

What I liked:

I liked the narration of the movie, it set a nice suspenseful tone. I also liked the science for everything and the convoluted story could allow for many viewings to try and figure out everything.

What I did not like:

The characters, the rushed pace of everything, the acting, and the production costs. So essentially everything else. The characters were not really fleshed out nor were there interests and the kid was very seldom referenced, as were the 2 other original members of the group. The acting was just bad on all levels and that does not have to be the case in a low budget movie. The movie was essentially a "have power, they lose it" but without any character development to get me to care about really anyone in the movie. It was an 80 minute bleh movie with some complicated time travel aspects to try and overcompensate for a general lack of poor plot, character development, and acting.

I give this low budget movie a 5/10

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Jaws Review

 I had never seen Jaws before yesterday for one reason or another. This was seen as a tragedy by most so I ended up watching it with a group of friends. It was better than I expected to be quite perfectly honest.

The movie has truly held the test of time, as the suspense was built throughout with the music and superb camera angles. It is no wonder why this movie helped launch Spielberg's career. Also a movie that has been parodied so many times and originated so many references has to be fondly thought of. For instance it was nice to finally understand what so many people are referencing with the creepy old man in the room drawing attention to himself, bad hat harry, and we are going to need a bigger boat.

What I liked:

As has already been stated I liked the camera angles in the movie. The underwater shots with Jaws helped add to the suspense and gravity of the situation. The music was very well recognizable and did a great job of building the mood of the scene. What Spielberg did a great job of doing was realizing you do not need to show the villian of a horror film in order to establish the threat level of him. To be honest I thought the shark was most menacing when we did not see him, the movie did a wonderful job of building the suspense.

The acting was cheesy at times, however that was more of the era the film was shot in. The main character was your typical hero, off to do the right thing and always does his best because of some moral standard he possesses.

What I did not like:

The supporting cast was eh, the shark "expert" was a bumbling fool throughout the entire movie after his initial inspection. I mean that guy cannot hold on to ANYTHING in water. Also the mayor was just illogically dumb whenever it was convenient to advance the story.

I also felt the movie was about 30 minutes too long. They should have cut some stuff out, most of the "shark is in the pond" scene could have been avoided if they would not have relied on such lazy methods to keep the story going. The scenes on the boat were well done, however you could have wiped out one singing scene and probably cut a good 5-10 minutes off the hour they are there. Also why did they bring the old boat instead of the new superior one?

Jaws was good and the dialogue provided many timeless references and built good suspense, however the movie lasted too long and relied on some lazy plot elements to advance the story. I give it a 8/10.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Les Miserables Review

Les Miserables assembled a great cast that delivered, however it failed in the third act which hurt the movie as a whole.

Things I liked:

The movie follows Hugh Jackman and Russel Crowe primarily throughout the movie with a cat and mouse game, however because of the amazing character development and plot movements early on this is disguised and you genuinely feel for Hugh Jackman and sympathize with the character. Hugh Jackman is outstanding in it, and does a great job of delivering his lines through song while using great facial expressions. Likewise, Russell Crowe is a great villian who develops throughout the movie.

The movie starts off with Hugh Jackman as a prisoner who is released on parole and then skips town after a turn of events. His character(as stated above) is outstanding, and he meets up with Anne Hathaway whose struggles are documented throughout the movie to the point which some were reduced to tears. Hathaway also does a fantastic job in the movie, as there is nothing but raw emotion in her character and she does great to further the plot along.

The story was also convincing, while there are some complaints about it the overall journey and triumph of each and every character was really well done and justified. The movie does have slight pacing issues and does repeat the story a little bit, however the pros do outweigh the cons. I cannot go into detail without spoiling something, however you truly do care about the characters and the resolution at the end.

Even the supporting characters of Borat and Helen Bonham Carter are entertaining and serve a purpose throughout the movie. Along with the kid at the end, and the priest at the beginning  these supporting characters throughout only help add to the movie.

And of course I loved the music used throughout the movie. The delivery was great by the actors/actresses and the continuous uses of certain aspects throughout was very well done.

What I did not like:

There are certain things you can do with a movie that you cannot do with a play. A play is limited to a stage, a movie is not. Therefore during a play when a character is on the other side of the stage and singing about the two characters you just assume that they cannot hear her and go with it. In a movie, you could put that character elsewhere and just shoot back to them. It is a minor complaint but there were many times a person woudl be singing right by a group of people who would not hear her.

Also, singing every. single. line. throughout the entire movie was just too much, the music was not nearly as good as the big songs and detracted away from the power of some of the scenes.

The entire french uprising sequence was just terrible, throughout the entire movie you have great characters developed throughout and then you do not care about the french revolution at all. It also starts off with ANOTHER gap in years with Crowe finding Jackman. Its like really? We JUST saw that done. None of the characters aside from the kid are developed, and the love story is worse than a comic book love story. No spoilers here, but it is "I saw her, I love her time to risk everything for her." I am sorry but if you are nominated for an oscar you should not have that in a movie, this isnt Dredd, this isnt Spider-man, this is Les Miserables. Also, someone with a bullet wound is being dragged through the sewers and is covered with feces, but is FINE! That makes no sense. 

My Girlfriends take: Ranked from Love it, eh, Bad she gave it a Loved it.

Overall Les Miserables does a great job of setting up its scenes and delivering a believable plot with good character development. However it ultimately has one glaring hole in it which does harm it. I give this movie a 8/10.