Showing 1 - 4 of 4 Reviews
Posted on 7/06/13 12:09 PM
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Posted on 4/07/13 06:21 AM
Believe it or not, I have never seen this film in its entirety and I heard from reviewer Chris Stuckmann that the 3D conversion in this film was spectacular, which it was, but I'll get to that later. I went into this purely off of these reasons, because, in fact, I was planning on doing Spring Breakers instead of this so I could do a more modern movie review, but with the lukewarm Rotten Tomatoes score and the polarizing reviews from friends, I decided to steer clear and do this.
First off, let's get into what I consider the most important parts, the acting and writing. The actors do a splendid job on screen, particularly Sam Neill and Richard Attenburough, playing the stern and serious Alan Grant and the lively John Hammond, respectively. After watching the Nostalgia Critic's review of The Lost World (this films sequel), I can say that it dampened my liking for Jeff Goldblum, even though his performance is fine, especially with the role he's given. The two children, played by Joseph Mazzello and Ariana Richards, also do very well in their roles, matching the likeness of their much more experienced actors.
The writing for the film itself is also very cool, with an interesting premise, some pulse-pounding action, and some great character arcs. The character development and progress of Alan Grant was very nice, playing a serious and dedicated paleontologist with a distaste for children (due to their lack of appreciation for dinosaurs) and having him be the father figure for Tim and Lex (the two children) when the three of them are forcibly separated from the other characters, resulting in some funny and/or heartwarming banter. The other character arcs include Hammond, who goes from an eccentric and excited planner of the park with no real insight on the ethical values he's breaking or the lack of power he has over his new world to learning about how how south bringing an extinct species back to life can go.
The action and tension in the movie becomes nonstop during the second half of the film as Jurassic Park slowly crumbles around the characters as they try and find a way to seek rescue and prevent being a dinosaur's dinner. And being that it comes from Steven Spielberg, who's no stranger to monstrous creatures as he's shown in Jaws, he's a natural at keeping the suspense going and having it look as real as possible.
Speaking of, that brings me to one of the films highlights: the technicals. The special effects (along with Sound Editing and Mixing) were awarded with an Oscar in 1993, and rightfully so. The film blends animatronics with CG imagry with peerless detail, making the dinosaurs look as real as the people they're chasing. The island setting and set designs of the park building itself are beautiful and the score by John Williams is timeless and unforgettable. The 3D is also rendered wonderfully, looking just as good as Avatar or Titanic did in their respective years.
However, there are some gripes I have with the film. I've never liked it when a character is a supposed genius in their field yet go around bumbling like an idiot, and this is all too true for Wayne Knight's character, Dennis, one of Jurassic Park's architects with ulterior motives that eventually doom the park. Despite being the one that kills the park through hacking, he manages to bumble to his death like no smart person would. Lastly, I felt the ending was too sudden, like there wasn't a real climax to the film; it just kind of ended. However, it's very minor.
All in all, Jurassic Park continues to be a visual treat with (mostly) great characters and and plot, and if you've already seen it, I recommend it once more.
Posted on 3/21/13 09:02 PM
As a child, I hated horror films because I was a huge scaredy-cat. After getting older and wisening up, I still tend to hate horror films, but for an entirely different reason. With copious amounts of blood and cheap, unsuspenseful jumpscares, the films that would leave me sobbing in tears now bore me to tears. It really uplifts my spirits when horror films can transcend these cliches to make a well-made and actually suspenseful film, which Mama undoubtably is.
The film (for its first two thirds), makes the wise decision of keeping its star spook, Mama, in the shadows for the most part and leaving the audience alone in the unknown. Scenes including a split second of a girl flying on the ceiling or one of the girls impaired vision (seen through her POV) blurring Mama's definite features are what provide the scares and tension, even if it's all thrown out the window in its final half hour in a silly and over-the-top climax that shows too much of Mama and her eventually silly design. The ride before all that more than makes up for it.
Eddie Murphy blew his chance at Oscar gold in 2006 after starring in the dreadful Norbit, and lead actress Jessica Chastain had an equal opportunity to lose it here after her brilliant performance in Zero Dark Thirty. Even though she still lost to Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, this is still not the case. One of Chastain's greatest strengths is her flexibility as an actress, playing the peppy and childlike Celia Foote in The Help to the cold, hard, and determined Maya in Zero Dark, and this is no exception. She plays Annabel, an apathetic bass player of a punk-rock group whose forced to look after the two ominous kids (who were both fantastic for their age as well) and possibly learn how to become a mother-figure to them. As she did with Celia and Maya, you can hardly tell its her behind her short hair, and its easy to get pulled into her role. Everyone else is okay. Moving on.
The cinematography is also great, providing the perfect shadows to hide Mama behind and setting the perfect lights to bring focus to the right thing at the right time. One particularly amazing shot occurs near the end of the film where, in one whole two-minute shot, the girls and Annabel run from the wrath of Mama, showing the competence of the filmmakers and talents involved.
While this film won't rank in the horror classics, Mama is still a refreshingly, dare I say, scary horror film with plenty of things going for it that would easily warrant a rental on a dark and/or rainy night.
Posted on 3/21/13 08:59 PM
I've never been fond of people who place recent films among the list of their favorites (proving their inability to treat films as something other than a fad), but I can't help myself when I say that Seven Psychopaths is one of the greatest comedies I have ever seen in my entire life. And this ranks up there with It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and Blazing Saddles, it's really that good.
The best way to describe Seven Psychopaths would be like if it was a Quentin Tarantino film that was actually passing itself as a comedy. The (massive amounts of) blood and gore of this film is clearly inspired by him, and it's used to great comedic and dramatic effect.
While many people expected Christopher Walken to (pardon the pun) walk away as the film's highlight after they saw that one scene in the trailers (you know the one), it's actually actor Sam Rockwell that takes the film by the reigns and drives it with full force. He is absolutely hysterical in this film, his character's insensitivity and idiocy being entertaining enough to carry the film all on his shoulders, even with the added efforts of co-stars Colin Farrell, Walken, and Woody Harrelson, who are all funny (and in some cases, very powerful) in their own right, which only heightens the scope and hilarity of the film.
You couldn't believe the shock I felt when Flight received a Best Screenplay nomination over this film, because other than Django Unchained and Argo, this was easily the best script of 2012. Along with the funny, likable, and memorable characters that Farrell, Rockwell, Walken, and Harrelson played, the film has fantastic jokes that will leave the audience hacking a lung in laughter to some very poignant scenes that are actually very powerful, including and especially Walken's final monologue at the end of the film. Not to forget the scene in which Sam Rockwell, firing all comedic cylinders, proposes his version of the ending the film which Farrell's character is writing. I laughed so hard in the theater that I fell out of my seat because I was literally doubled over. That scene in itself should have been nominated for an Oscar.
I tend not to exaggerate when I write my reviews, and I mean when I say that Seven Psychopaths is a pinnacle of comedic filmmaking. With a criminally underrated performance by Rockwell, a dazzling screenplay, and highly memorable characters, it's a film I can only hope will be seen as the cinematic achievement that I do.