Movie Reviews: 500 Days of Summer

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Boy meets girl.

Boy falls in love with girl.

Girl breaks up with Boy.

We’ve seen this all before, but not quite in this non-linear way. Many times, movies are told in a total flashback, where the beginning of the narration is really the end, but that isn’t the case here at all.

We see the highlights and the low points and know mostly one side of the story. It’s ultimately his story, and his journey, so it works, despite being a somewhat sad watch.

The famed “expectations vs reality” scene reflects something we’ve all gone through. Life sometimes doesn’t measure up to what he wanted. Outcomes are not quite achieved. Hope is sometimes lost.

But as long as we get through that dark tunnel, we might find some hope again.

Seasons change, and time heals.

It could be the best Zooey Deschenal film before her move to TV. She plays it as cold and irrational as you’d expect, or as you remembered from your own experiences, when you are not the one.

Movie Rating: 8/10 Shower Curtains

Movie Reviews: Logan Lucky

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If I was to assemble a dream team to rob a Nascar race, what would be my top 3 draft picks?

1)Thomas Crown

2)Danny Ocean

3)The Joker (Dark Knight version)

I understand what happened. Instead of one James Bond, they replaced him with a newer James Bond. Instead of one heart throb, they replaced him with Magic Mike. Instead of one over-the-top villain, they replaced him with Kylo Ren.

I’m sure the movie pitch was something like “Magic Mike plus James Bond plus Star Wars meets Nascar meets Oceans 11 meets Little Miss Sunshine. “Cinematic gold,” the group of producers would exclaim before high fiving each and heading off to their lunch meetings at Nobu.

I saw how the other half steals. To me, it seemed just like how regular criminals steal: with a bad plan. In movies, bad plans are often replaced with overtly ambitious plans executed by underachievers. This is because boring plans by overachievers is too serious. It’s Heat. It’s the opening of The Dark Knight. The protagonist is typically the authority chasing them.

The movie itself is worth a watch. The gimmick is watching Daniel Craig play an American down on his luck. Channing Tatum does a serviceable job in his performance but it was hard to believe Adam Driver was his brother. Part of me thinks the movie would have worked better if Adam Driver was the main POV. The obstacles would have been even more challenging, and maybe with the war backstory there would have been a more clever ending.

Movie Rating: 7/10 John Denver songs.

 

Movie Reviews: Logan

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Logan is the movie everyone wanted to see at the beginning, not the end of the series. There is probably the least amount of special effects in this time than its predecessors that used it extensively in trying to hide poor acting, writing, and directing.

Logan is a adult film. Maybe not the first comic book adult film as many bandwagon fans seem to point out. At the core of the story, it is a character study of one man.

A broken man.

A man with claws. A Weapon X survivor. A man cursed by his healing powers.

He didn’t need to fight some old Samurai or Deadpool on top of a nuclear reactor to show who he was. He simply needed to fight for a reason. Something beyond himself. To become bigger than one character.

Wolverine needed to become Logan.

The film is great. The acting is great, even including the teenagers in the film. Just because it is a comic book movie doesn’t mean it is automatically made for easy translation and worldwide markets for teenagers around the world. Themes can still be dark. Acting can still trump special effects.

Maybe this is the last time we see Wolverine on screen. With Disney buying 20th Century Fox, I see it going two different ways. Either a full character reboot, or a boatload of cash for a couple more with Hugh Jackman.

For me, it will kind of be like Han Solo. There is only one in my book. It takes nearly flawless writing, acting, and directing to make us forget the previous role. The last time this happened for me was Christian Bale supplanting Michael Keaton as Batman. Then, in the sequel, Health Ledger supplanting Jack Nicholson. This was astounding to me. In the J.J. Abrams Star Trek reboot, this didn’t quite happen with Chris Pine and Captain Kirk. I’d describe the feeling as a cool rendition of the old man in the Captain’s chair. The movie was still good.

Logan was great. Maybe it’s the last time we see Hugh don the claws.

Maybe he saved the best for last.

Movie Rating: 10/10 Claws

Movie Reviews: Hell or High Water

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This movie was good in the boring Old-Cop chases young-robber sort of way. It harkened back to No Country for Old Men to me, except the anti-hero was actually likable here.

To me, I never understood why people resorted to a life of risky crime where you area asking to get hunted down by armed cops with a major ego trip. All the risk for a few thousand bucks, which could be made manning the counter of a convenience store or working at Taco Bell is a much more peaceful way to get by where the only people to rob you is the tax man.

This movie didn’t answer that question.

Instead, it is a well acted movie with an ending that leaves us a little unfilled. They try to tell us the “why” but never actually do outside of serving a plot line that was supposed to be a mystery of motive the entire film. I felt annoyed. Like what a bunch of dumb shits.

There was a little depth a moments in the film. To me, the Native American partner and the allegory of lands being conquered over and over was pretty deep … but then they pretty much shit on that irony by FORCING and ending.

Chris Pine is good. Better than as Jack Ryan.

Ben Foster pretty much plays Ben Foster.

Jeff Bridges kind of does a dumb accent like he did “The Seventh Son.” It was annoying and didn’t necessarily add authenticity.

It appears they spent a bunch of money on Ford F-150’s, and zero on a cinematographer. Shit, all the angles and close ups and lighting seemed off. It is so much cooler watching the shots from behind a shooter, if shots are being made. Better to see the car from overhead when in a chase and making a huge turn (not a close-up of the tire, steering wheel, outside landscape moving). This is basic storytelling. When it all looks fake as hell, nobody believes it.

If there is one lesson, tip your waitresses well.

Movie Rating: 8/10 Sniper Shots

Movie Reviews: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is for folks with an IQ of One

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Directed by Gareth Edwards and Tony Gilroy

It’s not surprising to find why Rogue One needed to pay another director $5 million bucks to swoop in to “save” the film. Simply put, Rogue One is a very PG story that is essentially what you get when the focus is on mindless diversity for the sake of diversity to execute a very basic plot. There isn’t an ethnicity not filled here, almost in a Hollywood way to say the strongest teams is when everyone is different (despite the only asian guy in a galaxy far far away doing martial arts, the leading lady being a spunky white chick, the black guy being crusty and angry, the middle eastern guy being resourceful, etc). As we learned from the last election, people are tired as fuck from getting social engineered by the media and Hollywood that only diverse teams and harnessing everyone’s unique talents that impossible obstacles can be overcome.

I say bullshit.

Go to the majority of high school cafeterias, restaurants, churches, small businesses around the world and you’ll see this simply doesn’t exist in 90% of culture. People tend to stick to people similar to them, unless forced into some sort of draft or military conscription. But we are talking about Rebels here. What rebel group in the history of the world been this diverse? (Study history, because none of these writers/execs do) Usually rebels have narrow sets of ideals. In A New Hope, almost everyone on Yavin was white. Everyone in the Empire was white and spoke like a Brit. I don’t know, maybe everyone different were busy doing the real missions. (And yes, I know, in ROTJ, the rebels even has fish admirals against the white imperialists in the Empire).

I’m not totally against women leading the SW universe, but at this point, it feels forced as fuck. At least Captain Janeway had a purpose as the leader, and was legitimate because she rose up the ranks through hard work. Commander Sisko survived Wolfe 359 and was eventually assigned to Deep Space Nine to oversea a giant wormhole. Neither of them were artificially contrived for their roles because they were the son or daughter of anybody. Why couldn’t she have been just a badass? Maybe the baddest of the bad.

Despite very nostalgic visuals that are cool to see and a story where we know the ultimate ending, the story itself is made for 12 year olds. I guess they know who will buy the video games and see it 3 times over christmas break and will ask for the toys for Christmas … despite all the marketing toward girls.

Where is the Intergalactic Saving Private Ryan we were promised? Where is the darkness? Why do people talk in short sentences as if the film has to be dubbed in 38 languages? Why is the dialogue so damn simple, and frankly, dumbed down as if there can’t be any confusion to offending the “fake outrage” groups.

Fucking Disney, come on.

I sensed things had gone to shit when I saw all the action figures filling up the shelves. This is The Force Awakens Fiasco all over again. At least the overall plot here isn’t as batshit stupid as Episode VII.

The film is better than any of the prequels (except for the Darth Maul vs Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan fight, and the Jango-Obi-Wan fight, and the first 2 minutes of Revenge of the Sith).

I recommend you see it, because if you read this far, you’ll see it anyway. Just post a comment how you agree that Disney is turning Star Wars into a marvel universe where everyone is so damn likable that they want fanboys and fangirls to cry out for six thousand spinoffs so we can explore each backstory so that eventually we’ll have a thousand different characters to know and love. How can they not? Nobody says anything offensive as a rebel fighting for the galaxy. Few characters act like they have a braincell, including the oh-so-tough leading lady.

Please GRR Martin, don’t ever sell the rights to Game of Thrones expanded universe to Disney. I couldn’t imagine the “reimagining” version they would do to Westeros.

Movie Reviews: A Bigger Splash

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As many who know me can attest, I am a fan of foreign films. Usually, I would even admit that English films that take place in Europe usually get a pass from me for effort. In some regards, it is even more relatable to watch the cultural fish out of water story than something more authentic and locally made. You can read my review of Lost in Translation as an example of this. It had an impact on me that a Japanese made film with Japanese actors could not.

To a certain degree, most Science Fiction works this way. We want to see humanoids battle space dictators and enter light speed. Seldom are the protagonists in film a six foot one-eyed blob called Qloip.

Simply, we want to relate.

A Bigger Splash basically throws those principals out the window. Most of the characters are so unlikeable  an uninteresting that they might as well be Qloip. I was incredibly bored most of the movie, despite the effort Ralph Fiennes put in to try to make it entertaining. There is a limit an eccentric character can save a film if it isn’t a comedy.

Then, there were the flashbacks as if it would reveal some secrets that audience couldn’t infer from the acting and dialogue.

Tilda Swinton, despite being a decent actor, is pretty unbelievable as a rock star. Matthias Schoenaerts is pretty unforgettable in playing the boytoy boyfriend that represents a physical outlet.  Dakota Johnson is just as convincing as she was in Fifty Shades of Gray.

Ralph Fiennes is decent, and maybe it would have been a better story if it just followed him  in his POV the entire time, even to the splashy ending.

This movie simply will be flushed from my mind, which is a rather difficult feat with an interesting environment.

Movie Rating: 2/10 splashes

Movie Reviews: London Has Fallen

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London Has Fallen directed by Babak Najafi

Just in case moviegoers were confused whether or not London Has Fallen was a sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, the marketing folks made sure to clarify that. With White House Down, Air Force One, the last season of 24, and Vantage Point all telling similar stories, the movie populace could have easily confused this for one of those Redbox Ripoff movies. You know, the low budget films shot for under a million bucks in an attempt to bait and confuse people.

To me, I think I might have been more entertained with the Redbox Ripoff flick.

I mean, how many times can a President be put under siege with the only guy to save him is his best friend and secret service agent. What are the odds? And let’s be honest, what is the point of it all when there is a line of succession? (Ironically enough the plot of the latest Jack Bauer Keifer Sutherland TV show) Heads of State are important people, but in Democracies, there is really little point.

I know, the classic “Revenge at all costs” plot makes it clear that logic isn’t the point of motive.

If you want to watch this film, go ahead. Turn off your brain. You might as well play some Call of Duty in my opinion because at least that has some inventive storytelling.

The movie does have some pretty kick ass special effects, mostly in the attack sequence. But with that said, some of the effects were downright CGI-ish. Morgan Freeman was pretty good playing himself. Gerard Butler picks up another paycheck. I assume he has pretty much given up trying to be a real actor. Aaron Eckhart plays the typecast role that was predominant of the 80s and 90s.

I did beat Call of Duty Advanced Warfare on the same night I watched this. Kevin Spacey made for a better villain.

Movie Rating: 2/10 London Bridges