Posted on 8/09/14 10:56 PM
Final Verdict Unwatchable
And so it begins....
I never willingly watched this film. I just realized that. I was forced beyond my will, though I could have laid my head down on my desk. I, however, watched it in it's entirety just to write this review. In hindsight, I think I should have just went to sleep. Michael Bay doesn't really have much variety in his directing style. Every film feels the same. They usually have very sweaty guys in an overly-saturated tone, and huge explosions, some of which are CGI. Others are fireworks. Nothing is different in Michael Bay's "re-imagining" of the Pearl Harbor bombing.
"December 7, 1941. A date that will live in infamy" began president Franklin D. Rosevelt's speech declaring war on Japan, Germany, and Italy. Thus, the US officially entered World War II. Forget all the politics about WWII or Pearl Harbor because Bay doesn't care. In fact, he cares more for a "romance" throughout the entire film. A Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale love triangle. Seems as if films that attempt the love triangle aspect are 0/0 in my book. That's basically the entire film for most of it's 3 HOUR RUNTIME!!!! Normally, I wouldn't mind a 3 hour film if that film were good by any means. However, this film is a slap in my face and to the faces of those we lost in Pearl Harbor.
Problems noted from the beginning are the fact that these characters aren't memorable in any way. I don't remember their names and just see them as "Ben Affleck", "Josh Harnett", and "Kate Beckinsale". There is no chemistry from any of them, and as result, it makes their characters even more dull. It takes away tension from scenes where anyone's life is in danger because I do not care for any of them. Take for example, a film like-I don't know-No Country for Old Men. Every scene where Josh Brolin is being hunted down by Anton Chigurh is all the more tense because we actually want Brolin to succeed. With this film, I honestly wouldn't have mind if the film killed off all three characters.
The film is 3 hours long, and there was a moment when I thought the film was over. You know, after the 40 minute action scene, I thought the film would close out on the "a date that will live in infamy" speech. I mean, it would have felt rushed, but at least, the film is over. But no, there's another hour of the film left. At this moment, I felt the need to take a break, but I couldn't cause I was trapped in class. I had to endure the final hour left and continuously prayed to God that the film would end.
Honestly, while Michael Bay gets praised for his visual style, I don't see why. Every film he does looks exactly the same. There's the overly saturated tone, the sweat...the loud explosions. And this really hurts the film. For the first thirty minutes, I thought Bay had taken "liberties" with the story and set World War II and the Pearl Harbor attack in present day. Then, they throw in the occasional reference to the 1940s. Almost as if Bay was saying, "Oh, hey look! I'm making a period piece." The film feels like a modern day Bay action film, but there are occasional, and lazy, motifs to remind us we're watching a film set in the 1940s.
Did I mention the film's romance? Yeah, you know that Pearl Harbor attack? Yeah, the one that killed many people? Forget that, let's make a romance film and use that as a plot device. You have one of the greatest tragedies in American history, and you're just gonna set it as the backdrop for your romance film? That's just, for a lack of better words, wrong. It doesn't help that the romantic angle is hackneyed. We've seen this all before: There's the cheesy "I love you" dialogue, the middle part of every romance film where the main character seemingly loses his girl, and the end where he triumphs and wins her over. We've seen it done before, and I'm glad that no one let this slip by their radar.
There are some pleasant things to note from this film. For one, the 40 minute action scene is somewhat impressive. It's quite the spectacle, and it's the sole reason to watch this film. Additional things to note, is the impressive CGI. For a film made a decade ago, I have to say that the CGI holds up well. Scenes look almost practical. So, that's a big plus to the crew behind the computers working extra hard to make sure that this film looks real enough. Too bad it was wasted on an undeserving script. And the final noteworthy aspect is Alec Baldwin. For a guy that gets a lot of hate, I don't find him that terrible of an actor. He sells his role, but unfortunately, he has restricted screen time.
And thus, I have finished yet another awful film. The characters are dull, forgettable, and cliched. The acting, aside from one or two minor roles, is godawful. Seriously, why is Cuba Gooding Jr. being presented as a main character when he was only in the film for a max 20 minutes? I mean, I expected his character to have done more for how high up his name is on the cast. The only remarkable thing in this film to note is the CGI, and the 40 minute action scene. However, after a while, all the explosions got really tedious and excruciatingly boring. I was just glad the film stopped forcing it's cliched romance down our throats. So, in the end, this film is not worth it. Avoid it at all costs.
Posted on 8/09/14 10:54 PM
So I just finished Guardians of the Galaxy, the supposed 'best Marvel film to date', or at least, better than Iron Man 3, which isn't that hard a challenge...unless you're Thor. So, I'll be contemplating my thoughts as I write this, so opinions might change on a certain factor. So, how was it? I thought the film was grossly overrated and very plain. Looking past the occasional self-referential jokes, most of which are not that funny, this is just the Avengers in space. Nothing new or breathtaking is implemented, and it comes off really stale. The end result leaves for a highly flawed, generic superhero film.
First scene of the film depicts a young Peter Quill, who grows up to become Star Lord, as he watches his mother die. A scene that could've pulled more emotional weight if they-I don't know-developed her character. We're only supposed to feel sorry for him cause his mother died in his arms. Another film pulled this trick, Up, however that film had the decency to attempt to develop the wife, albeit poorly through the use of montages. And even if you felt something for this, it's abruptly cut off by Quill being abducted. Later he goes on to jail and blah, blah, blah get to the action please!
The film really attempts to blend it's comedic tone with a much more dramatic tone, and it's just as disjointed as I expected it to be. Scenes where you're laughing are cut off by a perilous action scene, which makes for a rather offbeat feel. Now, knowing that an offbeat feel can be good, this film has nothing new to offer, making it's strange vibe much more superficial. Seriously, I didn't even understand why people are praising the film for it's inventive nature. It's just a carbon copy of the Avengers only with a much more sci fi feel. So if you liked the Avengers, you'll definitely adore this film. If you're hoping for something new (and no, a talking rodent isn't new, considering anthropomorphic animals have existed in films before), then stay away. There really isn't much of a spectacle here.
The film's humor isn't really as witty as the reviews claim it to be. This is from the director of Super and Slither, two very crass films. Guardians is no different. Now, I loved Slither (as for Super....nah). I thought it took monster movie conventions and enhanced them with humor. So why the hell did I find Slither so damn funny ifIit's crass humor, which is prevalent in Guardians? Well, for one, Slither is Rated-R. Guardians is PG-13. Slither has much more freedom in it's humor whereas Guardians is much more restraint. These restrictions really do harm the film. C'mon, Marvel, just make a fucking Rated-R film (Blade doesn't count). When 'I AM GROOT!' is the most consistent gag in the film, you know you've failed. (Bobby Conway's use of it is funny, strangely)
The acting is decent from the most part. Chris Pratt plays a charming if egotistical character pretty well, though his character goes exactly where you think he goes. Zoe Saldana was personally my favorite part of the cast (OMG, I didn't like Rocket!?) as Gamora, the badass green assassin. Really, in a film filled with testosterone, is it sad that estrogen triumphed over them? BATISTA (sorry, I was a WWE fan back in the day) plays Drax, the guy who joins the group cause his family was killed by the villain (more on him later). Batista took time to get adjusted, but he played it well. Vin Diesel channels his inner-Andy Serkis as Groot, a stock and uninteresting character (seriously, why do people love this character?) And as mentioned before, a talking rodent with a machine gun is just plain dumb. The cameos in this film almost save it from being a total disaster (one cameo should make Tut jizz his pants), but unfortunately, I cannot ignore the problems.
The villain in this film, Ronan, is dull, and forgettable. His main purpose in Guardians is to A) get the Guardians to join forces and B) Set up the villain for the inevitable Guardians/Avengers spin-off. His character was basically Malekith (?) from Thor: The Dark World. He has a cool design, and you expect awesome. But in the end, he's just a face and plot device when I think about how he got the Guardians to join forces against him... Yeah, he was bad. It doesn't help that the guy portraying him played him exactly like how Christopher Eccelston played Malekeith (?). In the back of my head, I kept saying 'That's definitely Eccelston'. Only difference between Ronan and Malekith (?) is that they're design is a little different.
However, I didn't hate this film at all! I actually found it to have moments where it shined. As aforementioned, the humor is hit-or-miss, but when it hits, it hits hard. Batista's portrayal of Drax actually helps, especially his good comedic timing. The action sequences themselves are breathtaking and are the sole reason to watch this film. There's a reason Zoe Saldana was one of the best parts of this film. She can kick absolute ass. The special effects themselves are great, and I'd recommend seeing it in theaters for that reason alone. In fact, that's the only reason I am giving it a 6/10, rather than a 5/10. (Disregard the previous sentence) This film was quite the spectacle: Shallow, but still a spectacle. Oh, and I think it's fair to say Benicio del Toro is a positive, thought he have very limited screentime.
Overall, yeah, I didn't like this movie. Rocket Raccoon was being hyped up to be the next big thing in the Marvel universe, yet I saw nothing special in an talking raccoon. Groot was really a stock piece of wood, literally and figuratively. The only true standout in the film strangely for me was Zoe Saldana as she was just pure badass...and hot... Chris Pratt and Batista were good, though not great. Ronan was basically every supervillain cliche put together in one being. Nothing new or refreshing is done, plot wise. It's uses the same washed up Hollywood superhero formula that's been done to death now. The humor is simple minded to the point of where it felt unnatural and weird, especially when I saw the film's attempt to blend comedy with drama. That's why I'm giving Guardians of the Galaxy a 5/10.
Posted on 8/08/14 08:43 PM
This was a much needed refresher. Not gonna do a full review, but great film.
Posted on 7/21/14 07:30 PM
About time I watched a worthwhile film!
Akira is a 1988 sci fi fantasy epic that's drawn to life through beautiful animation and an off-beat style. I'll get this out the way: I'm not a fan of anime, really. Only two anime series I enjoy are Cowboy Bebop and DragonBall Z, along with the occasional Afro Samurai. Now, I'm not saying these are the only series I've watched. When I was a kid, I adored shows like Death Note, Inuyasha, and Full Metal Alchemist. However, as I grew up, those shows never really stuck with me and I just got over them. The only two that did stay were DBZ and Bebop. So, I'm not exactly an anime fan, but that's what makes Akira wonderful! I forgot I was watching anime and felt comfortable watching it!
Akira is a strange film... It's basically a superhero/villain (?) origin story. In the year 1988, a nuclear explosion occurs in Japan, causing World War III. In the future, 2019, neo-Tokyo is ruled by a military force and is occupied mostly by biker gangs and low-life thugs. Enter Tetsuo, a random biker who turns out to have superpowers. After a couple of government testing, things go down. The film sits at 2 hours and 5 minutes, yet it's breakneck pacing allows for a much more easygoing experience. There's not a moment in here where it feels dull (need to stop using this word) or listless. The film has to cover a lot of ground, especially considering it's rather large scope, and I felt is has succeeded it's goal.
The animation in this film is stunning. To my surprise, I found out that this film was entirely hand-drawn. Looking back at the fluidity of it, I'm speechless as to how they accomplished this, and more-so by the fact that it was made in the 80s, a time where films seemed to have a lot of effort put forth. People sat there and drew every scene, though sometimes I get the feeling they used CG for a couple of scenes. However, effort alone is jaw-dropping. The voice acting is decent at times. I watched the remastered dub, and I can say that no one did a horrible job. Sometimes they went a little overboard with the melodrama and for some reason, in a couple of scenes, some of the dialogue isn't in sync.
What makes this film amazing is it's imagination. The film begins going one direction. Then, it switches it up and now it's going in a completely different way. At times, the film can be gratuitously violent, but it adds more to the charm of the film. It makes the action scenes more visceral, and hard hitting, something that is lacking in most cartoons now. The film doesn't attempt to be something it's not. It's not pursuing to be a family friendly film, and it broke the mold of "family friendly cartoons" and really pushed the boundaries. Like it or not, this film has done more for the anime business (and even film) than most other films.
The film never takes itself too seriously, as well. It has a buoyant sense of joy in scenes not detailing the darker themes. When it does delve into it's message, the film feels a little muddled, however. Through all the rubble in the film, the film is against the thought of power. No one should have increasing power. It's an allegory on the political system of Japan(or any country) and it's corruption, but it's never fully utilizes this idea because it's easy to get lost in the violence. I know I gave the film props for it's violent tone, but I feel that it's a double edged sword. On one hand, it enhances the film's overall joy. On the other, it is distracting. Oh well, it's just me.
The film carries a surprising amount of emotional depth as well. There is an interesting dynamic between the two main characters, Kaneda and Tetsuo, and it's strange how depressing it is to watch their friendship slowly break apart. And that's what can be said about this film, there is strong characterization in this film, especially from the two leads. Kaneda is a witty, heroic kid looking to help his friend. It makes the final result more pulse pounding and suspenseful. Akira is not for everyone as mentioned before. In the first 20 minutes alone, a kid is decapitated, there's a rape scene, and there's strong language. The film is a social critique. If you see the violence there for no reason, you're missing the morality aspect of this film. Oh, there I go again. Defending the violence right after I had antagonized it. I still hold my stance that the violence does shroud the overall theme, but the violence holds it's own reasoning. Is that different enough? Well, I felt that the brutality of the film held a weight, revealing the harsh reality of what goes on in street gang warfare.
Overall, Akira is one of the hardest films I've had to review in a while. It's negative aspects can also embellish the film, making it tough to find real criticisms on this film. The dialogue can be a tad...silly. "Look! It's blood!" Yeah, thank you for telling me as if I didn't know. It's not for everyone. It's gory, sexually explicit, and foul mouthed. If you can get past that, this film is a beautifully animated, imaginative, electric film that shouldn't be missed. It has a wonderful social commentary on gangs and features a nice political allegory. This is a great film!
Posted on 7/21/14 12:31 AM
Okay, this has been on my mind for a while, and I've decided to give this film a full review, mainly cause all the mixed opinions on it really fascinates me.
Godzilla is back and better than ever in this sequel to the 1954 original, which I think ignores the ending to the original cause...yeah. Godzilla is a robust name to the film industry. He has risen and fallen many times, but in the end, he always came through and still has a strong cult following. And when the trailers for this film came out, many people instantly thought this would be a masterpiece. When the film came out, reactions were mixed. Most complaints relied on the fact that the titular character had barely any screen time, which I disagree with completely, but I'll get on that later. Another complaint relied on the weak characterization, which I do find to be a valid complaint, but still not enough to ruin the film. Maybe it was because I had low expectations, but I thought this film was good!
Now, normally I'd discuss the plot and positives, but right now, I'd like to dispute most "problems" with the film. I thought there was enough action scenes. The build up to the first Godzilla fight itself was an action scene. I enjoyed the cinematography of this film, which was very reminiscent of Jurassic Park. The acting was good as I found Elizabeth Olsen, Wantanabe, and Cranston to be great. And I think ATJ got a lot of unnecessary hate. He wasn't as bland as everyone was saying, but his character didn't really go anywhere. I do agree that the film lacked an anti-nuclear war theme (which was only in the first Gojira, to be honest). But I like the current theme they used: Nature has a course of action, and whatever happened should have happened.
I completely understand why Godzilla had to kill the MUTOs because they consumed nuclear energy, but by doing that, they're also destroying many habitats, killing animals. And the species was supposed to be extinct for a reason, and before you say "If they were supposed to be extinct, how come there were two alive?", I'll respond with one of the best quotes ever "Life finds a way". Godzilla had to make them extinct in order to restore balance. So, in my opinion, this film hearkens more to Jurassic Park, with the theme that a species should remain dead, rather than Gojira, but I totally liked that. Just my two cents.
Then, there was the complaint about the Hawaii fight being cut, which I think is just nitpicking, but I feel that it leaves it up to your imagination during films? And it's kind of hypocritical now-a-days. People complain when they show the monsters face on screen, and say "They should've left it to our imagination." But now, they want everything spoon-fed. It's strange. I also like the early death of Cranston's character, which I had spoiled for me by a lot of people on message boards. This angered people for no reason. The trailer never said "Starring Bryan Cranston". In fact, I knew he'd be killed off after watching the trailer, and not seeing him during anything outside of the same scenes over and over. Plus, you get something you didn't expect from the film. Isn't that enough? I, however, cannot defend the way he died. It felt rushed, and cheap. It was admittedly the weakest aspect.
I just fail to see how the lack of Godzilla's presence hurt. It was why the film was special to me. Thematically, it's more inclined to Jurassic Park. Style-wise, it's more of a Godzilla film. You can name many 'classic' monster movies where the monster is shown after a while. Jaws, for example. What makes this any different? It takes a longer time to reveal Jaws than it did Godzilla, and before anyone tells me "Jaws had great characters, though", I'll respond "not really". Seriously, you don't remember the Brody family from Jaws. You remember Jaws. Every character in that film felt bland, but what made that film great is the underlying sense of dread and mystery.
And if you refuse to accept that comparison, then why not talk about what this film was really going for: to be a Godzilla films. Every Godzilla film pre-GMK featured Godzilla at the final 30 minutes. This one does the same. It's a long build up, but it was worth it, right? I also felt that Edwards possibly used weak, stock characters to strengthen his point. The humans in this film are insignificant to Godzilla, much like how it would be in real life. I feel that he purposely did this just to make sure you remember Godzilla.
As for the fight at the end, I thought it was perfectly handled. Edwards purposely cut from the fight to Taylor-Johnson to show just how large these creatures are in comparison. And they are large. Speaking of which, the film doesn't really focus on the titular character as it's main monster. It, in fact, shows more of a new monster, or monsters, called the MUTOs. I thought they were a perfect addition and are worthy of being placed in the league with other Godzilla adversaries. Edwards fully utilizes his imagination for the design of the creatures and it's capabilities. However, when Godzilla came on the screen (especially for the first time), he stole their spotlight for sure. Not to fault these creatures, but rather, a high praise to the G-man himself.
Overall, I think people were being a little too harsh on this film for no exact reason other than the fact that it didn't meet their expectations. With me, I think that you should stop judging a film for what you want it to be, and judge it for what it did. In a year of disappointing sequels (Days of Future Past) and not-so-great original films (Edge of Tomorrow), I find it funny how I think the film that got the most hate was superior to them all. Yes, I think this film is better than X-Men, Edge of Tomorrow, and even Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Yes, I realize it's faults hence the 7/10 rather than an 8/10 or 9/10. And yes, the King has returned!
Posted on 7/19/14 09:10 PM
Final Verdict Waste of Time
And so...my fourth rotten score/review/rant begins... I need to start watching good films once more.
Well, I didn't go into a film about a killer who traps people into an ATM and tortures them with the highest expectations. The very low score from critics and audiences alike gave me a clear perception of what I was about to watch. Let me say that I was not fully prepared. I went into ATM expecting a cheap thrill and to waste time (What better way to spend a Saturday night than watching a low budget horror film courtesy of Netflix!?) Instead, I got a film strangely reminiscent of the Purge in the fact that the characters did very idiotic things, and many strange occurrences were thrown in just to make sure something happened. Okay, I'll be honest. I had nothing better to do than watch this film, but hey, at least I can write a rant. Oh, and there will be spoilers.
*SPOILERS FROM HERE*(Honestly, just keep on reading. It's not like you're going to miss out on a masterpiece or anything)
ATM is a "claustrophobic thriller" in the loosest sense of the words. It follows a group of three idiots, played by some unknown actor, Josh Peck (from Drake & Josh, lol), and Alice Eve, as they are trapped in an ATM due to Peck's selfishness and idiocy (He wanted food, but he had no money, so go to the ATM!). By chance, they happen to choose the very same ATM a serial killer has been stalking for god knows how long. Does this guy just wait for random people to use an ATM in an abandoned parking lot? What if no one shows for the day? Risking hypothermia to satisfy your sick desires? I must admit, that guy sure is devoted to his job.
I actually had hope for this film during the beginning, however. Before any of the torturing begins, the film relies on Josh Peck's charm and wit. This kid had talent, or at least in the first quarter. It's just that when the terror begins, his character immediately turns from likable douchebag to unlikable douche in a matter of seconds. No really, the character turns into a douche real quick. The other two actors, unknown guy and Alice Eve are horrible from the start. In the first quarter, they set up a romance for them and...yeah, let's just say that didn't really go anywhere, and it served as a reason to have Eve at the ATM.
Instantly, this film pulls a magic trick. While the trio are in the ATM, the killer stands outside. Right in the middle of the lot...in light. Then, suddenly through the grace of God, a random guy appears from nowhere and Holy Christ, this guy has the worst luck ever. Almost as witnessing a new guy in prison trying to make a name for himself, the killer instantly murders this man for no reason. The guy was going to walk off quietly and he wouldn't have known a thing. However, I guess he saw too much, even though I am sure he was just taking his dog for a walk....in the middle of a parking lot...but yeah, he was just innocently strolling through a parking lot where a murder was about to occur. But, who cares now!? His face is now one with the pavement!
The characters' plans of action just reek of ways to find them in a worse predicament. Oh my gosh! A single guy is standing in the parking lot, looking at you! Simple rules, three vs. one. Usually, the three would win, but nope. This plan is apparently too smart for them, and they end up providing the killer with his weapons, which makes no sense. So you're planning a murder, but you're not gonna bring any weapons and pray to the Lord that the victims magically leave their car unlocked so you can receive your weapon? Fool-proof plan. Then, Eve's character brings up the fact that "He has a gun", yet this is never brought up ever again. So he had no gun? Seriously, logic would indicate that he would have shot the guy who's face was smashed into the asphalt, but okay, I'll let her have her day. Did I mention how terrible of an actress she is? Seriously, the fact that Michael Bay hasn't picked her up...
And so we move on to our next kill: a security officer, who seems to be deaf. Seriously, this trope is becoming more and more annoying. You somehow hear most of the important pieces, yet you can't understand what they're saying? They were only a couple yards from him. If a quarterback can call out plays at the top of lungs in a loud arena to people who are yards away from him, I'm sure people can hear you in an abandoned parking lot. Oh yes, let's get out of the car a few yards away and curiously walk up slowly to the people crying for help! His death wasn't bad, however. I'd say it was the only decent death, even if the circumstances surrounding it were idiotic.
And cut to our killer attempting to open the backdoor to the ATM room. Does he ever accomplish this feat? Can he muster enough strength to do it? Find out next time on "ATM 2: Cash Back?"! Nah, the film doesn't end there, though I wish it did. Seriously though, the killer attempts to open the back door and he never finishes this. Why? Because it's a filler to add to the short 90 minute span and a way for him to figure out his victim's plans.
And now, we move on to the third death. No, the trio seem to have not worked up enough courage to kill the guy yet. Instead, a random guy, who somehow dresses in the same attire as the killer and just so happens to get by the killer, enters the ATM perfectly okay. That is until the due of unknown guy and Peck beat the guy up and choke him to death! Oh, so the killer is very meticulous about his plotting and somehow predicts that someone would dress in the same outfit as him and enters the very same ATM he stalks, just so that guy could get murdered and he's able to frame our protagonists!? This guy is just too careful in his plotting! I sense a genius.
And now, we move on to the first death of one of our main protagonists: Josh Peck. Peck gets fed up with everything and attempts to flee on foot! He gets far, but this is where the film seriously makes us suspend disbelief. He gets smacked down by a wire, which the killer put up when the protagonists took their eyes off him for a while. This seemingly endless wire is the downfall of Peck as after he trips, he seems to be paralyzed and unable to move. Did he break his spine? Nope because after the killer stabs him and leave him, Peck gets up and staggers. He then gets inside the ATM! Yay! Nope. Spoke too soon. The killer, through the might of some unforeseen being, is able to flood the ATM, and kills Peck through this. Oh, and Alice Eve smashes her head on a table and dies. But something that happens in this practically would have prevented this entire film. Peck had a match of cigarettes in his suit and apparently could have started a small fire, sounding off the sirens, alerting the police. Wow....
I've spoken enough on this film and don't want to waste anymore time, so I'll say this: Don't watch it.
Posted on 7/19/14 04:05 AM
Final Verdict Disappointed
Shouldn't this franchise be finished already?
The Bourne Legacy is a forced sequel to a franchise that had ended on a high note, or at least, it should have ended on a high note. Unfortunately, writer/director Tony Gilroy thought the franchise deserved one more sequel to give the Bourne series another storyline to finish. On paper, this film should have been phenomenal. You have the writer of the original trilogy along with two great actors in Edward Norton and Jeremy Renner and a very interesting premise. However, this film turned into a worst case scenario. It's dull, convoluted, and just feels unnecessary. There was never any need for a sequel to Ultimatum, which remains the best of the trilogy, so why create it? It may have been due to financial needs, rather than story telling.
The Bourne Legacy attempts to create an original story that coexists with Robert Ledlum's books and the movies. After the events of the first three movies, Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), a product of a new government operation where chromosomes to soldiers are enhanced giving them superhuman abilities, is in danger for Bourne's actions. As a result, Eric Byer (Norton) attempts to terminate all soldiers and personnel involved. That's the basic premise, but to be honest, I got that from the RT "Movie Info" section. It's not my fault either. The film's cohesiveness is faltered due to the fact that it's just exposition.
The film just isn't very interesting, to be honest. The plot advances at a swift pace, not giving details enough time to develop. As a result, the film just becomes dull. Then, the runtime for this film is extremely short by comparison of what they were trying to accomplish. Yeah, a film sitting at 2 hours and 15 minutes would seem like enough time to flesh out the plot. However, there are too many times when a certain plot point is rushed or isn't executed well. Thus, the film's plot holes are coming into high gear by the "final act", which is another problem for this film.
By final act, I mean this film has no solution to any of the problems that were presented. When you walk into this film, you'll know basically the same amount when you walk out. Only new thing you learn is that there is "a lot more than Bourne". Nothing is solved, which brings in the fact that the only purpose this film served was to garner sequels in which they will possibly solve all of this. Most likely they won't and will milk this franchise until it's dead, but that's basically the point of this film. Throughout the film, all they mention is how 'Treadstone was just the surface of everything' multiple times. Not only does it feel like a cheap gimmick to continue the franchise, but they never go in depth of this. They just keep saying that same line over and over. "Treadstone was just the surface of everything". How so? Different operations? Didn't we already know that?
Another problem is Rachel Weiz. Other than the fact that her character did nothing important besides giving Bond-sorry, Aaron Cross the location of the chems to flu-out, she was very dull in this film. Scenes with her are laughable at best and her acting talent comes into question. I usually think she's the best part of any film she does. However, it's not like the lines she were given were horrible. I could see any actress pulling her character off much better. Here, there's a distinct lack of chemistry between her and Renner. Their underlying romance seems dull and forced, especially when she does something that endangers her life over Cross. It doesn't seem natural and is all over the place.
Then, the action sequences are very dull, much like the rest of the film. Hey, at least it remained the same tone. Most of the fight scenes are under a minute and the two that are over a minute aren't anything special. Yeah, there's a moment in this film where I thought it would get better, but the film remains dull and listless. The final action sequence isn't any good, either. They felt the need to shoehorn in a villain, so that he could fight Cross, or rather, chase him around on a motorcycle, to be more accurate, and they really pull this character out of nowhere. He appears and through the magic of expository dialogue, his character has reasoning for doing his actions! I think Gilroy knew he couldn't have Byer or Cross engage in a gunfight, due to the fact that almost all of Byer's scenes force him to engage in expository dialogue, handing out what is going on to the audience as if we didn't know.
With all that said, this film isn't really that bad. With what he was given, Jeremy Renner was charming and likable. He really elevated what could have been a dull character into a human being, something this film needed a lot more. And even though his character wasn't written well, I thought Edward Norton did fine with what he had, giving his character an extra boost though how little good Byer was on paper. And there were a few moments in this film where I thought "Okay, that was cool.", but most of those scenes are just short 3-second bursts. Unfortunately, that couldn't save this film from feeling like a tacked on sequel.
Overall, the Bourne series should have just ended at Ultimatium, but no, we needed a sequel. And by "we", I mean the distributors and production company. They are attempting to milk this franchise to death aren't they? Most characters, especially Byer, are expository machines telling us what is going on as if we wouldn't have understood through simple lines. Wouldn't "Burn the program to the ground" be enough to tell us what they were doing? But nope, they had to say that they needed so-and-so dead, giving the characters a one-note feel. Jeremy Renner and Edward Norton try their best to save this from falling down, (and they really had no help from Gilroy) but alas they weren't enough. This film is dull, uninvolving, and features a terrible performance to an otherwise decent actress. To sum this film up with a word that has been appearing through this review a whole lot, it is D-U-L-L.
Posted on 7/16/14 01:15 PM
Final Verdict Disappointed
Where do I begin on this?
Deliver Us From Evil is director Scott Derrickson's 5th film in the director chair. Derrickson himself is a hit-or-miss director. When he hits gold (Sinister), it's really impressive. However, when he misses (The Day the Earth Stood Still remake), it's perplexing that a director of his talent failed to conceive a worthwhile film. After viewing Deliver Us From Evil, it's more in the ballpark of the latter. The film attempts to be many things it's not. One side is a story of redemption and struggle. On another, it's a cop investigation film. And on the final side, it's a possession story. It sounds like an original idea, and one that could be rather impressive. It starts off intriguingly, but then it devolves into a wide array of jump scares and knife fights.
Deliver Us From Evil chronicles the true story of Detective Ralph Sarchie, a tough-as-bricks cop who lost all faith in God. Then, he investigates a case that ends up proving the existence of true evil, and, of course, he slowly begins to unravel the truth of whether a Devil exists. Apparently, the film is base on real life cases that did happen and the officer did write a book on it, though the film stylizes all of it. After reading up on it, I thought the film could've been infinitely better had they actually followed the book. Unfortunately, the film doesn't go for a unique film, and end up feeling like a run-of-the-mill horror escapade.
And that's the first major flaw in this film. It takes a rather unique premise and makes it into a by the books horror film. It has a lot of horror tropes thrown in, and it's not the good ones. There's the obligatory exorcist scene. The main character regains his faith in God. All the scares in here have a big "boom". Something always happens to the cross. And that's just scraping the surface of this film. It's not necessarily boring, but it's been done multiple times and by better horror films.
The acting from the most part ranges from "Good" to "Laughable". Eric Bana is good, not great, as Sarchie. I can't fully fault him for the fact that he wasn't given anything to work with and some of the lines themselves are hilarious. "You're in my house?" Sarchie says casually as he realizes that a possessed serial killer is lurking in his home. Yeah, the script was awful. The acting from the two possessed folk is downright laughable. I began grinning at the sight of the possessed lady and her attempt at being menacing. The main antagonist, the possessed guy, is not anywhere close to being scary, and around the time he begins a knife fight with Joel McHale, I didn't laugh. Instead, I groaned. How could a film with this much promise fail!?
*SPOILERS IN THE NEXT PARAGRAPH*
Joel McHale is the only highlight in this film. He's used more as a comic relief character throughout the most part. However, he gets very limited screentime and he exits the film in the aforementioned knife fight between him and the demon. The quickest tonal shift seen in film history, I think. It goes from horror to action in a blink. It just became laughable. I thought that if you're going for a horror vibe and want to throw in a knife fight, you should make it much more brutal rather than the tactical method both fighters used.
Then, the film attempts to balance a cop investigation film with a paranormal film. Think an episode of Cops being spliced in with scenes from the Exorcist and you can get this film. Only thing different, is the locale. Once you get passed the different scenery, you get every horror film made. The ending exorcism is nothing interesting. However, I'll say that the inclusion of "The Doors" music did catch my attention...in the worst possible way imaginable. They never really explain what was the point of it's inclusion. They explained why most of Sarchie's visions were used (He had superpowers? That's just outright stupid), but they never explained what significance the Doors had. Was it there in an attempt to seem original with the unoriginal content, Derrickson?
Now, while I've been seemingly ranting on this film, there are some notably good things in this film. Whether you're laughing unintentionally or not, the film is pretty entertaining. I wasn't really bored to tears by this film, so isn't that worth something? Also, while the film did rely on a lot of horror tropes, one good deviation from the usual tropes is the priest. Usually in any horror film, the priest is some nice guy, who has barely any faults. In here, the priest is a highly flawed man, and it felt refreshing after being bombarded by the usual steps. However, there's one thing that happens to his character that makes him less interesting during the exorcism scene. And, as mentioned before, the acting is good for the most part.
Overall, Scott Derrickson attempts his 2nd homerun (after hitting it with Sinister), but strikes out. Deliver Us From Evil is just as generic as it's name(for a horror film). It relies heavily on tropes that have been done to death now, and isn't exactly new. In fact, the only inventive things to be scene are minuscule by comparison. The film attempts to mold a cop drama, redemption, exorcist themes all together and the final product is less than rewarding. Ending it on a positive note, the film isn't boring at least.
Posted on 7/15/14 03:36 PM
Final Verdict Not impressed
I think I've lost my touch with comedy. I really do believe it. I used to enjoy these Jonah Hill/Seth Rogen raunchy type of films back when they were still fresh (such as Superbad, Pinapple Express, and the 40 Year Old Virgin). However, as of late, I've stopped caring and found every new release from them (with the exception of This is the End) to be very tedious and just plain unfunny. So, seeing Jonah Hill's name kinda took me. It's not the directors' fault that I didn't really care (They really have no association with the Apatow gang), but just seeing Hill's name took me out. And it didn't help that the trailers for the film were bland. And the first one wasn't good. So it's a safe bet to say that I went in with low expectations. Thankfully, the film wasn't as bad as I thought it would. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean it was good either.
22 Jump Street is basically a rehash of the first film, but set in a different location: College. Officers Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are infiltrating a college to find the supplier of a new drug: Wyfi (Not sure I I spelled it right, but it went something like that) Same old, same old stuff. However, the film is "self aware" of this and pokes fun, which made many people gush over it. I didn't, and it's not like the film constantly poked fun at it. It was just in a couple of scenes and that was it.
I can't hold a comedy film to the same standards as, let's say the Godfather, for the simple fact that the comedy isn't going for that. This film prefers to go for a much more less serious vibe. I could point out various plot holes and inconsistencies, but I don't cause they weren't really trying to make an award winning masterpiece. However, if I don't find a comedy to be funny, then what's the point of watching it? Therein lies my first problem. The film just wasn't funny. Many jokes fell flat and the few jokes that did work were stretched out until it was just unfunny.
I find it hard to convey my exact criticisms on the film, save for the fact that it's unfunny, because there's just something about this film that I didn't enjoy. Is it entertaining? Mildly. I found some of the action sequences to be a little enticing. The two leads, along with supporting cast member Ice Cube, are very likable and have great chemistry. The film perfectly captures the essence of college. So what is it about this film that doesn't work? It's a very vague question in my mind. And I may find out as I continue to write on.
I think it might have been due to how obnoxious it was. The film glorifies it's wit to an unbearable point. When a film isn't amusing, yet it thinks it is, there's a problem to be had. That's what maddened me so much about this film. I love for a movie that has confidence, but there's a fine line between confidence and brash, and this film is brash. A film so conceited and self glorifying usually gets my blood boiling. And this film did, but I couldn't hate it cause others in my theater seemed to enjoy it, so I guess it's just me.
Now, with all that said, there are some positives within this film. As previously mentioned, the two leads do decent with what they're given. Both are likable, especially Hill, who I usually tend to find annoying. Tatum and Hill's chemistry work in the film, and even though there isn't comical gold, the film is somewhat entertaining because of them. With that said, they're not the bright spot of this film. Instead, that title belongs to Ice Cube, who actually makes the film more worthwhile than it would've been. He has one moment, in particular, that made he film much, much better, and it was one of the few comical moments in the film. Unfortunately, it dragged on a bit, ruining the joke. But, I found myself cackling during the first few punchlines.
Overall, 22 Jump Street is a missed opportunity. Very few of the jokes hit, and the film is overly obnoxious with it's self referential gags and conceited tone. However, I cannot say the film fully appalling, just bland. Lest I face the wrath of Phil Lord/Chris Miller fans, I'll just say that they did an okay job directing. The two leads make the film work through their chemistry, and it's action scenes are thoroughly entertaining. Ice Cube is also very enjoyable to watch as he literally chews the scenery up in one scene. However, the film is nothing more than an exercise for me. Partly cause it thinks highly of itself and partly because I just don't find it funny. In the end of the day, 22 Jump Street is a good time killer, but nothing more than that.
Posted on 7/10/14 10:07 PM
This is one of those films....
The Believer is a tale of hypocrisy, torment, and faith. A film that has an odd style, but an even odder story. Directed and written by a Conservative Jew, the Believer explores what it means to be a Jew and, more specifically, a neo-Nazi. This is a film that went mostly under-the-radar due to it's very sensitive topic, and many Jews have publicly came out and said the film couldn't work through this. Personally, maybe because I'm not a Jew, I thought the film was much more engaging and powerful than another film that deals with a similar topic: American History X.
Describing the Believer will be hard not to give anything away, so I'll just say that it's a tale of Daniel Balint, a Jew who lost all faith in, not only God, but in his own people. Through his anger, he resorts to a neo-Nazi hellbent on 'exterminating' the Jewish race. The basic plot sounds silly, but the film handles it well. Also, to be frank(Anne?), the film's plotting is very haphazard. However, for people who want a deep character study, this film is for you. For someone looking for a more focused plot, I suggest looking away as many things happen throughout the film (and some plot points are left in the air).
After viewing most of his films, I have confirmed Ryan Gosling, in fact, is a better actor than Jake Gyllenhaal. This is his film for sure. He owns the role of Daniel, adding a sense of torment and guilt over who he's become. It's surely the best performance he's given to date (followed closely by Half Nelson) The character is such a hateful being, and you hate him for it. However, you feel sympathetic for him due to his hatred. Many of what Daniel says in the film reveals he's insecure and lonely. It's one of the more uneasy movies I've seen. And it's very graphic in nature. Many Jews could be offended by this film (and many were), and I see why: Gosling says some very harsh things in this film.
The film itself, is odd, by nature. Much like it's main character, the film has a sense of dread and guilt. The strange musical choices, such as adding eerie music, enhance the surrealistic world. Daniel is disconnected from the world, and the film is too. This can be seen as a positive or negative by some. The strange style goes well with the strange story and I liked it. And I must say that this film has one of the best endings I've seen from a film. *MAJOR SPOILERS FROM HERE* After the bomb goes off, killing Daniel, he's seen walking up the steps of his old rabbi school. He's caught in a continuous loop, walking up and up for eternity, signifying one of either two things. A) The film coldly rejects heaven, harkening back to a conversation held earlier by Daniel and his girlfriend, where he states that there is no real God, just a Torah. Or B) Daniel, after teaching hate to his 'disciples', is in Hell, where he'll suffer for the rest of his life, knowing a heaven exists. Just my personal thoughts on the ending.
Overall, yeah, this is a mind bender in some way. It's strange and darkly humourous at moments. There were a few moments where I did laugh, and immediately regret it. This oddball film has moments where something feels off,but that's what adds to the charm of this film. Many Jews have condemned this film for not portraying the hate upon Jews good enough, but I thought this film showed a lot. Ryan Gosling is the driving force of this film, giving his best performance in a film. Writer/Director Henry Bean openly mocks the fascist ideals in many scenes, portraying them as idiots and cause more hate. The haphazard plotting may turn off some, but if you want a hidden gem, this is a film to get.