Saturday, December 27, 2014

My Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2014

It is once again that time of the year to celebrate film and to look back upon what films you remember to be the best of the best of that year. Sadly, I was not able to watch some films that are said to be excellent, films like Birdman, Foxcatcher, Under the Skin, Grand Budapest Hotel, Inherent Vice, The Babadook, Snowpiercer and Locke. Though, I hope my list will suffice anyway.

In just a little while, you'll see what my Top 10 movies of the year are, but just a reminder that this is my personal Top 10 list. It's the Top 10 movies of the year in my opinion, so please, if you have your own version, don't get mad that mine is not similar. Just voice your opinion in the comment section.

Let's get to it. My TOP TEN MOVIES OF 2014:

10.) Chef

I feel as if Chef is a movie about two stories. It's the story about chef Carl Casper (director Jon Favreau) and how he grew tired working for the classy restaurant (the big name movie studios) and their inability to try new things. Soon, he wouldn't even like the same tired food he was making (Iron Man 2 and Cowboys & Aliens), so he quits and goes off to do what he loves to do, cooking (directing) for himself. This is Jon Favreau's passion project, this is him doing a simple little movie about food and family, but he does it with a lot of heart and a lot of skill that I hope he never loses as a director. Smartly written and creatively crafted, this is one feel good movie that just oozes satisfaction.

9.) Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

It feels good when you're most anticipated movie of the year doesn't let you down. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a thrilling and engrossing summer blockbuster movie, packed with action and full of emotion. I love that they gave more depth to Caesar as a character by really challenging him as a leader and as a "son" of two worlds. Of course, the extremely talented, motion capture expert Andy Serkis portrayed Caesar excellently, but newcomer Toby Kebbell also gives a jarring performance as the villain Koba. With all those and Matt Reeves' phenomenal directing, this movie just becomes another great chapter in the Planet of the Apes to commend.

8.) Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Yes, my readers, out of all the five Marvel movies that came out in 2014, this is the only one that makes the cut. Why? Because it's just that great. Captain America: The Winter Soldier had, like, four villains, three different storylines, a ton of supporting cast members, a super soldier, and it still managed to throw all that in together and come up with an exhilarating political thriller that has a thematically coherent story that really goes into, with great depth, the character that is Captain America. This is not just the best Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, but it's also one of the best comic book movies in general. 

7.) Nightcrawler

I'm not morbid for saying Nightcrawler has one entertaining as hell story, right? Well, it does. It's also a sharp, unsettling story about #1 sociopath of the year (or is it number #2?) Lou Bloom. There just is no stopping Jake Gyllenhaal from performing his absolute best every single time. Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom is definitely my favorite performance of the year, but let's also not forget how good of a debut in directing this is for Dan Gilroy. This movie so engrossing, so thrilling, and so insane that you yourself will actually get that big Lou Bloom smile on your face.

6.) Interstellar

Remember when Anne Hathaway's character gave a speech about love transcending all things, and then it actually did?  Interstellar is Christopher Nolan science-fiction film about love. The film just works on so many different levels; technical, acting, directing, directing, and of course, an emotional level as well. It's jaw-dropping, intense, impactful and emotional. It's more than the spectacular visual experience, and even more than the amazing theater experience, it takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride through the dark and dangerous outer space.

5.) Godzilla

GWWWOOOOAAAGGHHHH. Coming in at number five is the King of the Monsters and the 2014 Summer Blockbusters, Godzilla. Gareth Edwards directed the hell out of this movie. He knows how to handle scale, and he made it tense, epic, disastrous and awesome. That's basically the exact way I'd want my Godzilla movie to be made. Many people are complaining that it doesn't give the human characters enough depth while that's the entire point of the movie, to show that we humans are insignificant when it comes to the clash of giant monsters. I'm sorry, I'm not going to rant about this again. I freaking love this amazing, wonderful, gorgeous movie to death, and you bet that I cheer everytime I watch the finale. That's just a must.

4.) Boyhood

What is Boyhood? Boyhood is life. Literally life. This is Richard Linklater's 12-year masterpiece. It follows the story of a young boy through childhood in the suburbs, elementary school, high school, relationships, college, moving out, growing up. It's a film that depicts life and growing up like no other film because it really is life! You see the child actor grow up in a span of hours, you see Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette give fantastic performances, and you see flashbacks of your own childhood. It's such a beautiful and emotional indie film that I hope a lot of you check out, because it's certainly going to go down as one of the all-time greats.

3.) Gone Girl

This movie pretty much seals the deal on the whole not-getting-married thing, right? Gone Girl is Gone Girl, man. If you've watched it, you know what's up. David Fincher masterfully directed this movie, Affleck is great in it, and Rosamund Pike is *shudders* scary good (sociopath of the year #1? Maybe.) It's an engrossing as fuck movie, terrifying and heartbreaking, thought-provoking and discussion worthy, and executed near-flawlessly. If you haven't seen it, please just contact me  immediately so we can video call and watch the movie together. Admittedly, I saw this film three times in theaters just to see the different reactions.

2.) The LEGO Movie

Everything is awesoooooooome. Damn, I love The LEGO Movie. It's just one of those animation movies that stretches the boundaries of imagination. It's another self-aware, fun, and hilarious adventure with tons of heart brought to you by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. The voice cast is amazing, the characters are charming and full of life, a lot of eye candy, and some pretty complex themes I'd never imagine seeing in a kids' film. PLUS, HOW CATCHY IS THAT SONG (until you realize the song your singing is the robot slave song). 

The LEGO Movie is amazing, and it almost, just almost, became my favorite movie of 2014. That was until I saw... (drumroll, please)

No, not X-Men: Days of Future Past. It's

1.) Whiplash

The best movie of 2014 is, in my opinion, Whiplash. Holy crap, this movie. Where do I begin? Miles Teller is amazing, this is him at his best. J.K. Simmons delivers such a commanding and intense performance that it still deeply implanted in my memory. I don't think any horror movie in the past two years has kept me on the edge of my seat, scared, as much as J.K. Simmons' delivery of the line "not my tempo". The movie is fan-freaking-tastically directed by Damien Chazelle too. This is the only movie in 2014 to emit energy. This movie makes you feel energy. True story. It's very much a thriller in some ways. It's sharp and to the point, and it'll keep you on the edge of your seat. Whiplash is electrifying, an intense and exhilarating emotional ride, and will absolutely leave you breathless.

That about raps up my Top 10 Movies of 2014 list. This year was such an amazing year for film. I myself still absolutely loved the film I put around the 15s, 16s and 17s, so you can imagine how much I love these ten films I just ran through. 

You can check out my ranking of this year's films (from best-worst) by clicking here. You can also read through the normal reviews of the films in this Top 10 list by clicking on the pictures. I thank you all for taking the time to read it, and I look forward to read through some of yours. You can voice your opinion down in the comment section or you can tweet at me. Thanks, and I guess my next post will be in 2015!

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Middle Earth Chapter III: Revenge of the Orcs

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the third and final installment in The Hobbit series, and is the final film set in Middle Earth. The film continues mere minutes after where The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug left off. Smaug is about to attack the city of lake town and an army of Orcs is on their way to the Lonely Mountain. Meanwhile, Bilbo still has the One Ring, and Thorin and the company of Dwarves have taken back their Mountain. However, a battle between five major armies of Middle Earth is set to take place on the front yard of the Lonely Mountain.

I'm a huge Lord of the Rings fan, and I quite like The Hobbit films. I do admit they have many problems realted to pacing, character development, and going overboard on special effects, but I still find them quite entertaining. It's definitely not Lord of the Rings quality, but it's a pretty fun watch every December. Now, we have the last installment, and I'm quite satisfied with it.

On the bright side, I predicted that I'd love the first twelve minutes of the movie, and I was right. I still would have preferred it if those first twelve minutes was the finale of the last movie instead of being treated like an after thought in this movie. I mean, I would've liked it if I had time to digest that battle scene and let it sink in before I was thrown into the next event.

One thing this movie, and the previous two Hobbit movies did right, was the Bilbo and Thorin storylines. Yeah, they kinda mucked up their film series by giving us a fellowship that consisted mostly of interchangeable, unmemorable dwarves. However, they did manage to deliver on the Bilbo and Thorin storylines. Both their story arcs come full circle in this movie, and it was executed pretty well. It's definitely no Aragorn becoming King nor Frodo living an adventure, but it did round itself out in the end. Hats off to Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage, they've proven themselves the best thing about this trilogy.

To my surprise, some sequences were better executed than I thought they would've been. I thought the really weak set-up or the bad characters would really affect the conclusion of some storylines, but they managed to make the best out of it,

That's not to say that I was disappointed with other sequences, because I was. Peter Jackson and his pretty bad editing has once again caused a film of his to contain a lot of fat on it. It happened with King Kong, and then again with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, and I honestly thought it fixed when there was less fat in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but no there's so many cringe-worthy, pointless scenes scattered throughout the movie. Most of them containing, the painfully unfunny Alfrid character. My biggest critique of The Hobbit series is that it sometimes gets too caught up on focusing on the bigger Middle Earth that it loses focus on Bilbo, Thorin, and the Dwarves. I get you want to set up Lord of the Rings and build up to this big battle, but don't sight of your characters. It's why we're invested in the journey in the first place.

Speaking of the big battle, the actual Battle of the Five Armies was disappointing. I found it to be cluttered, unfocused, and overly reliant on special effects. It's all over the place, really. Well, for one thing, most of the battle doesn't really focus on characters you're rooting for. Instead, it focuses on the side characters who can really kick ass in a fight, the cool visual effects of giant troll and orc things, everything I didn't want to focus on. There was no real flow through to the battle too. It was basically jumping from one battlefront to the next, getting the best looking kills as possible. Not really the stuff of epics.

I know that made me sound like I didn't like the film, but I actually did find it entertaining. I realize these films have major flaws and the films suffer for it, but I don't hate any of them. The film still has excellent acting, turn-your-brain-off entertaining sequences, and the Bilbo and Thorin stories were quite well done actually. It's not the epic finale to the Middle Earth saga as it was hoped to be, but it still manages to be pretty good and entertaining.

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Flash/Arrow crossover event review

Who ever thought that DC's first live-action crossover event would be between two television shows on the CW?

The Flash vs Arrow and The Brave and the Bold are a two parts of a special crossover event between CW's The Flash and Arrow, and of course, I'm here to share my opinions on it. 

I've been a fan of both shows for quite some time now. I survived through the dark days of Arrow Season 1, back when the show was still trying to find its footing, and I was there for the awesome-fest that was Arrow Season 2. As for The Flash... it's basically my favorite comic book television series currently airing. I had pretty high expectations for this crossover, and it absolutely did not disappoint at all.

Kicking things off last Tuesday was the accurately named Flash episode, The Flash vs Arrow. In the episode, Barry is tracking down Prism, a metahuman with the ability to induce rage in people by simply looking at them. During his search, he finds that Oliver Queen aka the Arrow has come to Central City looking on a case. The unlikely duo team up, and Barry soon realizes teaming up with Oliver isn't all fun and games.

This is a crossover event, so there's not really a lot of plot going on in the episode. Other than the regular villain-of-the-week formula The Flash has been using lately and the small Eddie plotline, the episode is mostly dedicated to the team-up of the Flash and Arrow and showing the huge contrast between their characters and the worlds they live in, and that's honestly what I really loved about it.

The Flash has made a small reputation for himself as the hero of Central City. He's been good, and it's been fun for Barry, but then now comes the Arrow. He brings his seriousness and his brutality to Central City, and it causes quite a bit of conflict for both main characters and the supporting characters as well. Much of the episode is also dedicated to Oliver teaching Barry the importance of slowing down and thinking before rushing in head first.

That first half of the episode was followed by an extremely fun second half where Barry just goes full-on rage mode on his friends, on Eddie, and on Oliver, which leads to the versus part of the episode. Wow... that final action sequence was the combination of the amazing stunt choreography of Arrow and the special effects-heavy action sequences of The Flash, and it was amazing. 

Of course, Barry learns his lesson by the end of the episode, and that's really one of the main strengths of the series. You see Barry develop from this average, likeable dork to the hero of Central City. It's classic origin story formula, and it's being delivered extremely well so far.

Following that was The Brave and the Bold, where this time, Flash is the one doing the visiting. Team Arrow is still tracking down Captain Boomerang when Barry and his Star Labs friends come to town to help them out with their case. The episode starts out really well too, and it only escalates as soon as Flash shows up after the first fight between Oliver and Roy and Captain Boomerang.

This time, it's Flash doing the advice-giving as another huge contrast between their characters and worlds is presented. Barry is used to fighting silly, super powered criminals in the bright and sunny Central City while Oliver is used to beating up and shooting through organized crime members and assassins in the dark and gloomy Starling City, so when Barry and Oliver team up yet again, Barry discovers he's not exactly a fan of the way Oliver gets his results. This is where Barry tries his darndest to convince Oliver that deep down, even though he doesn't believe it himself, he is a hero.

The flashback sequences also helped really send this message across, because the flashback sequences focused on Oliver's humanity and his faith that people could still do good. Oliver feels like he has been lost in the Arrow, but then Barry comes along to bring forth his inner good. The flashback sequences worked so well with the rest of the episode, which makes the episode a real standout in the season, because it's so far the best flashback this season.

Another thing I liked about the episode were the interactions between Team Arrow and Cisco Ramone and Caitlin Snow. It's just nice to see a fresh and cheerful face in Starling City (other than Ray Palmer. He's awesome), you know? 

Yeah, the CW is pretty much doing DC a huge solid by getting me pumped about their properties. They quite hit their mark (pun very much intended) with this crossover event, because I'm super stoked about the next episodes of The Flash and of Arrow, and OF COURSE, I'll be game for the next time these two Christmas-colored superheroes team-up.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 movie review

I'm trying to imagine how much better The Amazing Spider-Man 2 would be if Jamie Foxx was playing his character in this movie rather than Electro.

Horrible Bosses 2 is the sequel to the 2011 film Horrible Bosses, a surprisingly funny comedy (at least to me, anyway) about three average dudes he form a plan to kill their bosses. A few years later, we have this movie, where the same three average dudes form a plan to kidnap the son of a rich businessman who stole their new business from them.

As I said, I quite enjoyed Horrible Bosses unlike most people, so I was pretty optimistic going in, and honestly, I had real nice time with this movie.

The thing that makes this movie is the cast. This movie has assembled an excellent team of comedic actors. The three leads, Charlie Day, Jason Bateman and Jason Sudekis, just kill it. They're chemistry is good, they're just terrific on screen, and it's just all laughs with them. Jennifer Aniston and Jamie Foxx return from their roles in the first film, and though they're not a big part of the movie, they really were funny in it. I really missed them playing these types of roles. Speaking of which, finally! Chris Pine returns to a role that showcases both his charisma and his charm on screen. Of course, he plays a douchebag, but he's a likeable douchebag. He kills it, and I really hope he does more of these roles, no more glum and serious spy roles please. Sadly, I got to say Christoph Waltz and Jonathan Banks were super underutilized in the movie. They had Christoph Waltz come in, and you don't even give him that many good lines nor a lot of screentime? Seems like a waste of an opportunity to me. Also, Jonathan Banks phoned it in. I only remembered he was in the movie while looking at Wikipedia looking at how to spell the cast's names... yeah, that's how forgettable he is. However, those two underutilized actors don't get in the way of me praising this excellent comedic cast.

Now, there's a lot of slapstick and dumb humor and this movie. It's some pretty dumb people doing idiotic things. Some people might not find that funny, but I found the way they executed it to be in the "safe zone"of dumb humor, not too Three Stooges-like. There's a lot of really good jokes in there, and I laughed quite a lot. There's only one really big laugh though. I'm not going to spoil it, just saying that it was worth the ticket for me.

Another thing I admire about this sequel is that it doesn't retread the same plot as the original. We saw with The Hangover Part II how the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" schluck can ruin the series, but we also saw with 22 Jump Street how "being self-aware and making fun of the fact that you're a retread of the original" works. This movie is neither, because it plays it safe, and does something different. Nothing wrong with playing it safe, but it's nothing memorable either.

 There are a lot of funny parts, true, but there are also a lot of dull moments, moments you wish you could just fast forward through. This happens a lot, but luckily, not a lot consecutively, because that would've really killed the film more than it did.

Horrible Bosses 2 is a fun enough comedy sequel. It's got a great comedic cast, a fun and new premise, a lot of entertaining scenes, and a lot of boring uninspired scenes. Still a fun time at the theaters, mainly because good comedies are always fun to watch in theaters.

Friday, November 21, 2014

MOCKINGJAY - PART 1 movie review

Ah, another young adult novel adaptation series concludes, and... What's that? Wait. "Part 1"? What the

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 is (haha, you guessed it) part one of the final story in the Hunger Games series. Here we're reunited with Katniss after the events of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and we find that she's in District 13, the supposedly destroyed district of Panem but which actually is a secret underground facility where the rebels are biding their time to take the Capitol. Katniss is once again thrown into action when the rebel leaders ask her to become a propaganda piece for them and to become the symbol of their rebellion, their Mockingjay.

I quite like the Hunger Games series. In my opinion, it has the best YA novel adaptation movies post-Harry Potter, and they work just as well as popcorn flicks. That being said, I wasn't really looking forward to this film mainly because I didn't really like the book it's based off of.

But man, does this movie deliver.

The film turned out better than I expected, and that's mainly due to the talent behind it. Returning to direct the film is Catching Fire's Francis Lawrence, and he does the best job bringing a lot of what I liked about the book to life. He made a good film that brought us out of the arena into the real world. The scope of the film is much bigger, a lot of beautiful shots and set designs, a lot of bigger and more riveting action sequences, it felt like it was on a much more grander scale while still staying true to its roots.

Jennifer Lawrence is also back for her third outing as Katniss Everdeen, and she's still amazing. I do believe that she gets better in the role with each outing. Liam Hemsworth gets a bigger role in this film than in the past two, and it's serviceable. He doesn't have the charm nor charisma on screen as his brother does, but I accept that he's there to add to the love story, and I can live with it. Also returning is Philip Seymour Hoffman, now with his new partner in political shenanigans, Julianne Moore. These two are great together, they play off each other really well, and they're a nice addition to the film. Josh Hutcherson gets less screentime this time around, but he delivers one of the more powerful and more moving ones. Most of the film, he gives a subtle and emotional performance that only works because of the build up of the Katniss-Peeta relationship of the last two movies.

The acting is fantastic, and it's very well directed, but the film does suffer from the studio's decision to split the movie into two parts. Now, I'm not entirely against the idea of splitting source material into two parts. I believe parts one and two of Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows worked really well individually and as a pair, I also believe splitting The Hobbit into three parts was justified, but the problem with this film is that there really isn't a clear need to have to split it into two parts other than more money and yet another cliffhanger. 

The problem is that Mockingjay the book clearly doesn't have enough substance to stretch two movies, yet they still tried to stretch out every single plot detail of the book to add screen time, but those stretched out plot details don't really add anything to the overall film. 

The film doesn't totally suffer from it, I still liked it, a lot more than the first actually. It serves as nice build up, but nothing more than build-up. I question why we couldn't just have one solid two hour and forty five minute movie with the solid build-up immediately followed by the meat of the story. I don't know, maybe I'll warm up to this movie more after I see part two, but it just really sucks that I have to wait for one entire year before the story and the character arcs that I'm invested in get become well-rounded and resolved storylines.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 is still a more than welcome entry into the series, despite some flaws. It's a damn good YA novel adaptation that's has stellar acting, fantastic directing, and some really intense action. Now that I know what I'm in for, I can't wait for Part 2.

Monday, November 17, 2014

NIGHTCRAWLER movie review

I swear, Jake Gyllenhaal blinks not more than 10 times in this movie.

Nightcrawler is the debut film of Dan Gilroy, and starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom, a very driven, creepy, and at times frightening man who stumbles upon the world of L.A. freelance crime journalism. He discovers this, and realizes it can be something he can really be good at, so we follow his character as he climbs his way up the career ladder, doing anything necessary to get to the top.

This is a pretty unsettling film. Director Dan Gilroy did a phenomenal job on this film.The commentary on the current state of new outlets was very well handled. It wasn't so much of commentary on media manipulation, but more of how much they can show and how much they want us to see, how the media sees these injured and deceased people as stories rather than human beings, and also media vulturism. I thought that Gilroy handled those really well.

The film is also very sharp and sleek. It's very well paced, not a lot of fat on it. The way he handled the dark humor, the still moments of horror throughout, and also some the rapid car chase scenes. The score by James Newton Howard was great, really complimented the tone of the film. The cinematography by Robert Elswit is just amazing. The tagline of the film is "The city shines brightest at night" and now I believe it. He captured that perfectly and so beautifully. He literally lit up the screen. 

Also, Jake Gyllenhaal, man. Throw all your gold statues at him, because wow, that was an extraordinary performance. He just became the character, a character I can best describe as a ticking time bomb that you're just waiting to go off. He was so creepy, calculating, insane and disturbing, it's just hard to get that smile out of your head. I mean, Lou's just talking about his work plan, and I'm going back and forth between cowardly leaned back and curiously on the edge of my seat. Probably my favorite performance of the year so far.

It goes more than just the performance too, his character was also really well-written and presented in the film. He's a sociopath, there's no real debate on that, but the film never really punishes him for you. Noooo, you do that in your head. It allows you to be the one to judge him.

Nightcrawler is creepy, unsettling, and an insane thrill ride through the the nighttime world of L.A. crime journalism. Jake Gyllenhaal gives probably the best performance of his career. Dan Gilroy gives us the ideal directorial debut, and I'd say Nightcrawler is a must-see film.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

INTERSTELLAR movie review

Christopher Nolan's 2014 space odyssey.

Interstellar is the ninth film directed by Christopher Nolan, known for films such as The Dark Knight and Inception. The film stars Matthew McConaughey as Cooper, a farmer in a not so distant future Earth, where the few surviving humans are struggling to live in a world running out of food and full of dust storms. Cooper is soon invited to join the crew that'll go to another galaxy in search for a new home and become mankind's last hope for survival.

I was very much looking forward to Interstellar, because Christopher Nolan is one of my favorite directors working today. I haven't seen all of his films, but four of his films are probably in my Top 30 of all time, so Interstellar was on my radar. I didn't want to know a lot going into the movie, so I avoided all news, all trailers, basically everything, because I wanted to experience everything for the first time while watching for the first time, and boy am I glad that I did.

Nolan succeeds in making this film an experience. It's so rare these days you're sitting there after watching a movie, and you say "yeah, I experienced that," and that's honestly how I felt after watching Interstellar. Nolan is a fantastic director, and he directed this amazingly. So many jaw-dropping moments of wonder and imagination, so many intense moments that'll leave you breathless, dialogue that leaves a lasting impact on you, just pure emotion. You can really feel the sincerity and passion Nolan put into this film.

The acting as well, just terrific performances across the board. Just Matthew McConaughey looking at a screen will break your heart. Anne Hathaway almost stole the movie with her monologue about love. However, the breakout star of this movie has got to be a child actress by the name of Mackenzie Foy, who steals nearly all of her scenes, and is the real emotional center of this movie. Without her giving a good performance, the whole movie may have failed, but she absolutely nailed it. There's a huge supporting cast, too many to go into detail specifically, but all fantastic nonetheless.

Jonathan Nolan does an excellent job writing too. Excellent, excellent job. The film is rich with themes of human nature, hope, and more importantly, love. Interstellar is the Nolans' deconstruction of something as illogical as love, and IT WORKS. (I'm not going to go into that, because if you haven't seen the movie, I want you to grasp and understand the themes yourself and your own way, so I'll leave it at that.) It's also brilliant how they used the premise of an "outer space adventure" as the backdrop for a real emotionally intimate film.

Speaking of outer space adventure, let me talk about the film on a technical standpoint. It's a visually beautiful film.The score by frequent Nolan collaborator Hans Zimmer is eargasmic. It was so powerful in the scenes that were already so emotionally powerful.

The cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema was freaking beautiful, and dare I say it, out of this world. So many of the wide shots in outer space is so hauntingly beautiful, it just leaves a last impression on you. Aww, and combined with the breathtaking visuals, it just made me feel awe and wonder. Awe and wonder were on the big screen. There came times where I was actually convinced that this was real footage taken from a space craft or something. The movie is just so beautiful on so many different layers.

The movie is not without its flaws, that's for sure. The dialogue is hard to follow sometimes, at times it will feel melodramatic, and especially, a last twenty minutes that'll leave audiences divided, but I don't care.

Many of the flaws of the film are on the surface. You'd be shocked that they got past a director like Nolan, but you see, Nolan is more focused on the emotion of Interstellar. He's more concerned about what you feel than how this plot point makes sense or how this does that. Interstellar is a movie that'll make you think, sure, but it's more of a movie concerned on how it makes you feel. It's an experience. That's why some people will like the third act, some people won't. It's all about how you experience it, and that to me, is why I love it.

I can analyze movies all I want. I can learn new things about them, I can debate over the facts and the events that happen in them, but in the end, I go to the movies for the experience, the feeling you get after watching them. I go to the movies to go to that little happy place. That's what makes Interstellar a real special treat. It's a movie that puts emotion first.

Interstellar is a flawed movie where Christopher Nolan puts his passion, sincerity and emotion first to give us a great cinematic experience. It's beautiful and well-crafted on so many different levels. It's a movie that teaches us that love, hope, and optimism will transcend all.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

BIG HERO 6 movie review

A Marvel Comics property brought to you by Disney Animation that comes across as a mix between Terminator 2 and The Incredibles. Sign me up.

Big Hero 6 is the Disney Aniimation film that loosely adapts the Marvel Comics property of the same name. The film centers around Hiro Hamada, a child prodigy that can do wonders with robotics. Hiro is struggling with a recent tragedy that happened, and when a terrorist threatens the safety of San Fransokyo, he assembles a team of robotics experts and his brother's robot, Baymax, to take him down.

I was really looking forward to this movie, ever since they announced this somewhere around a year and a half ago, mainly because it's a combination of two things I love: Disney Animation and Marvel based movies (both of which are on a hot streak right now). That really proved to be the case with this movie, because if I were to describe Big Hero 6, I'd say it's structured/packaged like a Marvel movie and with the heart of a Disney movie.

This was an absurdly fun and entertaining movie, and that's one of it's biggest strengths. It's action packed, like most superhero films, and it's not even the punch-smash-destroy action. The action sequences are pretty creative thanks to the different abilities our heroes have, and it's very entertaining. Hell, I'd even go as far as to say the final battle sequence of this movie is the best final battle sequence in a comic book movie we've had all year. 

All of our main characters are all full of energy, fun to watch on screen, and all have personality. The voice work is really good too. The characters also really fuel the goofball comedy this movie has, and the comedic timing in this movie is just gold. If the actions sequences, characters, and comedy don't leave you with a big smile on your face, I don't know what will.

All the characters in the team are full of spirit, but the film's focus really isn't on the whole team, but Hiro and Baymax. Hiro and Baymax's friendship is the real heart and driving force of the movie and Hiro is the only character who really goes through an arc, to my slight disappointment. Don't get me wrong, I loved Hiro and Baymax and they're relationship. There were some emotional and beautiful moments with them throughout the film (specifically a flying sequence), but I personally would have liked to see the rest of the team get a little bit more substance and depth. 

The rest of the team were mostly absent from the real emotional moments, and that bummed me out. It felt like they were sidelined into supporting character territory (not that I'm undermining the supporting character category). People will be putting this film along the lines of The Incredibles or this year's Guardians of the Galaxy, and I'd have to disagree with that, because those films had the characters grow as team. The story here was really more about a boy and his robot, sort of like a G-rated Terminator 2.

Big Hero 6 is a super fun and entertaining movie. It combines what I like about superhero movies and Disney movies. It's hilarious, action packed, and the characters have personality, though lacking a bit of depth, but it does function really well with its boy & robot story, delivering quite a few emotional and beautiful scenes, and tugging on your heartstrings the Disney way.

Friday, October 31, 2014

JOHN WICK movie review


John Wick  is a new movie starring Keanu Reeves as Joh Wick, an ex-hitman who has retired and has now settled down to a peaceful life. However, events happen that lead him to get back into that life, and... well, it makes for a pretty awesome action movie.

John Wick is easily the best pure action movie of the year for me. The film has really good action, like, insanely good action sequences. A lot of wide and continuous shots and camera angles, so you can actually see the action clearly. The fights are still rapidly paced and the fight choreography is mindblowing (Gun-fu. Yup, that's a thing now). The movie really is 65% action (hence, it being categorized into pure action genre), and that 65% is amazing.

However, I didn't like it just for the action. It actually has some depth and substance to it that I didn't expect going in. It has a pretty damn good revenge story some really good worldbuilding skills. The film sets up the world, its characters, and plot devices really well, and it's interesting and creative enough for me to ask for a sequel. That's good worldbuilding.

In terms of story, it has a pretty simple and basic plot, but it's executed very well. Like its main character, the movie has a hard shell, but a very soft interior, and I'd say the movie has some pretty touching moments. The movie knows what it is, and gives you exactly what you're expecting... and then some. There's enough simplicity there to make it very entertaining, but also enough new things added in order for it not to feel generic.

Keanu Reeves just brings it, man. Whatever bad dialogue you give him, he'll nail the delivery, and it will make you giddy in your seat. The other actors do a really good job as well, with the fight choreography (Gun-fu... wow, still can't believe it) and the actual acting. I also really dug how campy and over-exaggerated some of the characters are. Not campy in a bad way, no. The actors played it at just the right level. It's almost as if they were making fun of 90% mob/hitman movies.

As for the negatives for John Wick, there's hardly any I could think of. Actually, the only one I can think of is that I wish the movie would've been 10-15 minutes shorter. Yeah, compared to the first hour and a half, the last 15 minutes weren't all that nicely put together. It felt rushed and sloppy, but not too much to ruin the whole movie. It's just a minor, minor problem I had with this entertaining movie.

John Wick is the best pure action movie of 2014 in my opinion. With its mindblowingly amazing action, pretty good worldbuilding, its touching moments, and its fun characters, it's pretty much the ideal popcorn flick to look out for.

Monday, October 27, 2014

THE JUDGE movie review

"Judgement is Coming"

The Judge is a film starring Robert Downey Jr. as Hank Palmer, a big shot city defense lawyer who has to return home for his mother's funeral. While there, he has to spend time with his father (played by Robert Duvall) whom he hates, but because of a case brought up against his father, they must learn to put aside their differences to clear his father's name.

I've been looking forward to The Judge ever since I saw the first trailer. Not for the story, but for the stellar cast they've assembled. We've got Robert Downey Jr, who is finally in a starring role outside of Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes, Academy award winner Robert Duvall, Emmy award nominated actor Vincent D'Onofrio, the wonderful Vera Farmiga, etc. There was a lot going for this movie, and it just didn't deliver for me.

Not acting wise though, it did deliver in that department. Robert Downey Jr. is really good. He has quite a few incredible scenes with Robert Duvall, that reaffirm to me that he can act outside of the usual smartass character. Robert Duvall is also really good, not Oscar caliber performance, but certainly more than just fair. His on-screen chemistry with Downey Jr. really worked, and they played off each other well in most scenes.

The supporting cast is also serviceable. Vincent D'Onofrio and Billy Bob Thorton aren't nearly in the movie enough for me to really appreciate their presence, but they were serviceable in the scenes they were given. Vera Farmiga, Emma Tremblay and Jeremy Strong may have been the best out of the supporting cast, but don't expect any big scenes from them. Dax Shepard may have the character I least liked throughout the entire movie. He plays the small town lawyer, who was probably there to add some comic relief, but actually wasn't any funny at all. 

What did not live up to my expectations? The writing, mostly. This feels like a really good movie made for cable television. That really isn't a compliment. I was prepared going in for a generic story, but I know it's all about execution. That being said, it wasn't well executed. The Judge is a film that retreads many of the usual drama movie tropes, and, to be honest, forces it upon you and expects you to feel emotion for these characters.

The film delivers quite a few emotional and powerful scenes, and hits the right emotional beats, but everything else in between is dull, pointless, and sloppily put together. Had the film shaved off at least twenty minutes and took away a few pointless character plotlines, then it'd have probably turned out a better film. Many of the characters plotlines are sloppily written as well. Some characters you'd forget were even in the movie because of how many times and how long they're off screen. Also, the endings to each plotline are poorly made. You'd be tricking yourself to say that was actually a resolved emotional arc for the character.

The Judge is a film that can boast its two leads (Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall), who are incredible in the movie, but in the end its two leads and its sometimes beautiful cinematography don't make up for how poorly written, dull, and generic its script is.

Friday, October 24, 2014

FURY movie review

Tank missillleeeee.

Fury is a war movie written and directed by David Ayer, and starring Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Peña, and John Bernthal as a tank crew operating during the final weeks of World War II. You follow this tank crew as they are assigned missions to clear towns, rescue soldiers, and more.

The biggest strength of this movie is the main cast. Everyone turns in one hell of a good performance. Brad Pitt, once again, is incredible in the main role. His on-screen presence is felt, and he just commands the screen. Michael Peña and John Bernthal were also really good in the movie, both stealing a few scenes themselves. Shia LaBeouf was great in the movie. It's comforting to know that he can still turn in some great performances. Rounding out the cast is Logan Lerman who may have probably given the best performance of his career so far. His character's arc may have been shaky throughout the film, but I thought he gave a strong performance,

The cast (and the movie as a whole, really) wouldn't have worked without David Ayer. Ayer really excels at creating a believable comradery among his characters, as shown in End of Watch and now this film. This film wouldn't have functioned without the comradery Ayer established among the characters.

The other thing that I really liked about Ayer's directing was his depiction of war. War was shown in this movie as dirty, disgusting, bleak, and well... terrible, and that's really the direction you have to go in with a movie like this. He also was able to show the psychological effects war has on a person really well. Ayer's directing is hauntingly beautiful, as he didn't glorify war instead showing how bleak and glum it is.

In a tank movie, I understand it's really hard to make some really good action sequences, but that isn't the case here. The action sequences in this film are quite well done actually. It really made you feel cramped inside the tank with these characters, and it brought that claustrophobic feeling to it. Also, the battles are slow moving yet intense. It's not a rapid fire, jump cut firefight. It's tanks slowly moving forward shooting one missile at a time. Yet, it was still very intense and gripping to watch.

Fury is a bleak, dark, and dirty war film that's well-acted and well directed. It's moving and touching at times, and the action sequences are very intense as well. It's not one of the best war films out there, but it's certainly not one to miss out on.