Archive for the 'Movies' Category

23
Jan
16

Shame Should Be Ashamed of Itself

The movie Shame is a nihilistic, pseudo-intellectual garbage bag of a film. It’s one of these movies that thinks if it’s about something controversial, that alone will be enough to make it good. Well, it’s not. You can’t just make a movie about sex addiction and have it automatically be good. It still requires all the other components of good movies: plot, acting, directing, pacing, etc. You can’t just film Michael F. Assbender’s giant dong and expect people to automatically love the movie.

One person may look at a nihilistic movie and declare it to be utterly brilliant. For me, just being nihilistic doesn’t make it good. Shame is a crushing black hole of bleakness without any attempt at having a message or moral or even a fucking theme.

Continue reading ‘Shame Should Be Ashamed of Itself’

16
Jan
16

Homefront, The Descendants

Homefront

The screenplay for this movie was written by Sylvester Stallone about 10 years ago. He put it on a shelf, and when he finally dusted it off, he realized he was too old to play the part. So, it got handed to Jason Statham who stars in this abysmal failure of a movie.

Statham stars as an ex-Interpol undercover agent or some stupid shit. He infiltrates a biker gang with the worst toupee I’ve seen in a long time. After taking them down in one night, he retires and settles down in the Deep South. Two years later, his badass daughter beats up a bully at school. The bully’s mom gets mad and hires her brother Gator (played with aplomb by James Franco) to get revenge. He, in turn, tells the biker gang where Statham lives so they can get revenge.

The whole movie feels like a setup. It’s like a trailer for a movie that never happens. You keep waiting and waiting for something to happen but it never does. The bikers finally show up when there are only about 15 minutes left. Statham kills them and saves his daughter. That’s it. Everything that came before was all a lead up to that, but there was no sense of dread or suspension or anything else. Nothing happens for the first hour and a half except for two really horrible CGI explosions.

Stallone left the script on the shelf for a reason. He should have realized that he didn’t make it 10 years ago because it sucked. Too bad his poor judgment got the better of him.

Verdict: Shitty

The Descendants

George Clooney plays the head of the King family, a wealthy white family in Hawaii. The rest of the family has squandered their inheritance, and they pressure Clooney to sell their undeveloped land in Kauai to hotel developers so they can continue their lavish lifestyles. Meanwhile, Clooney’s wife winds up in a coma, and he learns that she was having an affair.

The movie is a dramedy with heavy doses of drama and light bits of comedy sprinkled throughout. The story really works and, despite being about rich people, is highly relatable. We all have dysfunctional family members, and we all have faults. This movie portrays real people in a realistic way that makes them into easy touchstones for the viewer.

Clooney expertly maneuvers his way through the chaotic family. His acting skills are in top form as he is able to switch from drama to comedy with ease and not make the changes jarring.

The Descendants is an expertly written and directed movie. The lush Hawaiian setting makes for a nice change of pace, as well. It’s a great dramedy, one of the best examples of the genre. It is definitely worth checking out.

Verdict: Good

09
Jan
16

Star Wars VII: The Remake

Disney: We want to make a new Star Wars movie. Who’s the most generic director working today that won’t offend anyone with a unique style?

Lucasfilm: J.J. Abrams.

Disney: OK, hire him.

Lucasfilm: Done. Here he is.

Abrams: Hi.

Disney: We want you to direct a new Star Wars movie. But you can’t do anything too crazy like the prequels. They have to be exactly like the original trilogy, you know, the movies that people liked.

Abrams: Sure, no problem.

Disney: What ideas do you have for Episode VII?

Abrams: The main character should be a kid who is a genius pilot living on a backwater desert planet.

Disney: So, Luke Skywalker on Tatooine?

Abrams: No, Rey Noname living on Jakku.

Disney: And who will train Rey in the Force? Luke?

Abrams: No, we won’t waste the audience’s time with training sequences. Rey will become a Force master in about five minutes.

Disney: Okay, sounds great. What else have you got?

Abrams: How about a struggle between the First Order and the Resistance for control of the galaxy?

Disney: So, the Empire versus the Rebellion?

Abrams: No, no, this time it’s totally different. You see, the Galactic Republic exists again, and the Resistance backs them. Although why the Resistance would be called the Resistance when they are upholding the current regime is anyone’s guess. And the First Order are super-powerful bad guys who have Storm Troopers and Sith Lords and everything.

Disney: You’ve got to bring back the old characters. People won’t see if it there aren’t any familiar faces.

Abrams: Oh, I ‘ve got that all figured out. We’ve got Han Solo and Chewbacca ready to go. Han looks so decrepit he’s got one foot in the grave. Chewie looks good though. Not a gray hair on him. He hasn’t aged a day.

Continue reading ‘Star Wars VII: The Remake’

13
Dec
15

Magnolia, The Grand Budapest Hotel

Magnolia

Magnolia is another one of those movies that showcases a ton of actors in a ton of different storylines that are supposed to intersect in interesting ways. The movie even says so itself. In the introduction the narrator says that this movie will show us the intersections, but they are more than mere coincidence. Well, that’s fucking great and all, but guess what? The stories don’t fucking intersect at all. There are no coincidences, either. There are very, very tangential interactions, for example, John C. Reilly’s character dates a girl who is Phillip Baker Hall’s daughter, and Reilly meets up with William H. Macy at the end. That’s it. That’s how the stories intersect, two of the characters from different storylines meet. They don’t actually do anything interesting. One person’s unconscious decisions don’t affect another character’s life. And then, when you get to the end of the film, suddenly it’s raining frogs everywhere for some fucking reason. And this shit goes on for three fucking hours. Ugh, what a bunch of bullshit.

Verdict: Bad

The Grand Budapest Hotel

With the exception of Rushmore, I haven’t liked any of Wes Anderson’s movies. I couldn’t finish Bottle Rocket, Moonrise Kingdom was a giant fucking turd with horrible child actors, and let’s not talk about the abysmal The Life Aquatic. Finally, though, after years and years of middling shit, Anderson has finally put together another good movie. This film has the usual whimsical characters, tweeny charm, quirky stylings, and perfectly symmetrical framings as his other films. However, the big differences here are that the story is actually interesting for once, the acting is pretty good, and the humor lands effectively. Ralph Fiennes anchors the story allowing for a plethora of cameos of Anderson’s friends (e.g. Owen Wilson, Bill Murray) along the way. I don’t really have any complaints about this one. It was good, so you should check it out.

Verdict: Good

22
Nov
15

I Liked The Hunger Games Better When It Was Called The Running Man

The Hunger Games is a best-selling franchise of books and movies, which has taken the world by storm in recent years. After watching the first movie, I thought to myself, “You know, I liked The Hunger Games better when it was called The Running Man.”

I’m referring to the 1987 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which is the exact same fucking thing. It feels like whoever made The Hunger Games was just doing a shitty fan-fiction set in the same universe as The Running Man.

Let’s do a head to head comparison:

Round One – Premise

The Running Man takes places in a dystopian society under marshal law, in which the public is pacified through the use of a televised game show where criminals are murdered for sport.

The Hunger Games takes place in a dystopian society under marshal law, in which the public is pacified through the use of a televised game show where children kill each other for sport.

OK, so, they’re basically identical. But what’s more fun, watching criminals die gruesome deaths or children? Obviously, it’s children.

Winner: The Hunger Games

Continue reading ‘I Liked The Hunger Games Better When It Was Called The Running Man’

15
Nov
15

A Spectre of My Former Self (James Bond 24)

Daniel Craig returns as Ian Fleming’s James Bond in Spectre, the latest in the long-running film series. After the incredible highs of the previous film, Skyfall, people were eager for the follow-up. And since the same writers, director, producers, and star were returning, it had to be great, right? Right?

Unfortunately, Spectre rehashes the same ground that was tread in the previous film, and does so with less finesse. While it certainly has fantastic action, the rest of the film comes away as forced, leaving us with a middling Bond film.

I’m going to make a lot of references to Skyfall in this review of Spectre. Since pretty much the entire crew came back for the sequel, I think it’s fair to do so. There was a lot to dissect in the latest Bond outing, so I’m going to break down my thoughts into three categories.

The Good

I was immediately pleased to see the opening gun barrel scene at, you know, the opening, after two films shunted it to the end.

As has been the case for all of Craig’s Bond films, the action scenes in Spectre are top-notch. The most incredible takes place during the pre-title sequence. Bond is thrust into the crush of people in Mexico City’s wild Day of the Dead parade. He takes out some bad guys, and gets caught on a helicopter which is careening out of control. The loop-de-loops were thrilling, and the visuals of the holiday festivities alone were worth the price of admission. Bond looked cool as hell in the skeleton outfit he dons in the opening minutes.

Continue reading ‘A Spectre of My Former Self (James Bond 24)’

07
Nov
15

James Bond Pre-Title Sequences, Ranked

As a long-time James Bond fan, I’ve seen all the movies over and over again. The series is famed for it’s thrilling pre-title sequences which precede the story. I’ve listed all the sequences in order from worst to best. Check it out and let me know what you think!

22) The World is Not Enough It isn’t a surprise that the worst Bond movie also has the worst pre-title sequence. It’s absolutely bloated with excess. It starts off promising, with him fighting some people at a bank in Spain, but quickly spirals out of control as he goes on an overly long speedboat chase on the Thames River, and ends hanging off a hot-air balloon. It’s like a parody of a James Bond intro. It personifies the over-indulgence of the Pierce Brosnan era.

21) Die Another Day This intro is also pretty bad, but fares slightly better than the previous entry. It starts out completely cringe-worthy as Bond surfs into North Korea, moves along to a ridiculous hovercraft chase scene, and ends with Bond getting captured. The only reason I ranked it higher than The World is Not Enough is because they blended the opening song with the pre-title sequence. They had never done that before, and it kind of worked.


20) Quantum of Solace The crappy Bond movies keep on coming. I almost ranked this one at number 22, but I decided it wasn’t that horrible. It’s a car chase, which is cool in theory. Unfortunately, it’s schizophrenically edited. No shot lasts longer than two seconds. The camera is constantly switching from Bond’s face to the car to the tires to the road and back again. Making matters worse is the shakey-cam in which it was filmed. So, you have shakey-cam with jarring editing. If that doesn’t make you puke, I don’t know what will.

Continue reading ‘James Bond Pre-Title Sequences, Ranked’




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