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What If

What If

(2014)
3 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This is a likeable, forgettable, excruciatingly predictable and formulaic romcom. Girl meets boy but she's got a boyfriend. You spend 90 minutes waiting for them to inevitably get together. If you feel like there's not enough stuff like this out there already, go nuts. Me, I saw it yesterday and it feels like a century ago.

Godzilla

Godzilla

(2014)
15 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Okay, basic logic ascertains that if you're making a film revolving around giant CGI monsters fighting, you need some good human characters to ground the whole thing, or it'll wind up being very silly. Right? Bryan Cranston was cast in this, and that was a great idea. He's a phenomenal actor. Problem is, they run out of ideas for Cranston's character and [SPOILER] kill him off, very boringly and meaninglessly, 40 minutes in. After that, with the only interesting character wastefully removed, you're checking your watch. All the air slowly leaks out of the film and it spends the next hour slowly deflating into a crumpled heap as you try desperately to connect to Aaron Taylor-Johnson, our protagonist for this remainder. Sadly, he's fucking useless. He's not so much phoning it in as using semaphore; apathetic to the point of comedy - you will never see a leading man give less of a shit about what is happening around him than here. Ignoring the acting, some points are salvaged for some genuinely impressive cinematography and also for a really great score which belongs in a better film - but maybe I'm just past the point of caring about CGI monsters having a fight, Cranston or no Cranston.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

(2014)
16 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A clunky distillation of every mediocre, directed-by-committee superhero blockbuster you can think of. This is essentially a 140-minute trailer for 'the next one'. TASM2 mostly avoids offensiveness but it achieves very little on its own merits. Nothing matters. Disappointing.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

(2014)
17 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I've been looking forward to this one for over a year, and while I am apparently eight years old and I do tend to give shooty-explodey films a fairly easy pass, this one is a very slickly-made, well-written slab of unpretentious fucking FUN. While it's *not* the cinematic masterpiece the eight-year-old in me hoped it could've been (It's let down somewhat by having a pretty cookie-cutter set of villains and a slightly generic, Star-Wars-aping plot) Guardians Of The Galaxy stands well apart from the other Marvel efforts to date not just because of its intergalactic setting and tone but because it might just be the most cohesive, straightforwardly enjoyable thing they've done. There's a nice subversive tone to much of what's going on here, from the leftfield casting to the way the story is handled - for one, it wins big points for having a damsel-in-distress plot thread which, for once, *doesn't* culminate in cheeseball romance. The whole thing just motors along powered by pure charm - the kids are gonna love this.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past

(2014)
49 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Visually impressive Hollywood franchise tentpole in "incoherent narrative" shocker! Yup, this thing doesn't make much sense, and I was a little bit let down. It's a valiant effort, I suppose - attempting to course-correct the massively garbled continuities of a very mixed bag of preceding films going back 14 years and to distill the result into a single, logical story... it's gonna be hard, especially with a story this broad in scope - I almost think this could've benefited from being split into a Part 1 and a Part 2, and the more I think about it, the more I'm surprised they didn't do that. As it is, aside from the fact that time travel rarely makes for a coherent narrative, Days Of Future Past is pretty scrappy - well-directed and well-acted in general, but sadly not well written. Characterwise, it's very unevenly handled too - Peter Dinklage's Bolivar Trask, arguably the second most pivotal character after Charles Xavier, is only in this for maybe fifteen minutes. It's marketed as being Wolverine-centric, but it's really not. Despite being in most of the film, Mr. Jackman doesn't actually have much to do - nobody does, really. Even Michael Fassbender's Magneto is a tangential, water-treading character, all but checking his watch until it's time to become RANDOMLY EVIL. Nope, this is a Professor X story, and it's James McAvoy who (just about) ties everything together. The stuff in the future with the guys from the previous films? Meh, looks pretty, doesn't mean much. McKellen and Stewart seem exhausted. Points for effort, I guess, but less pointless stadium-levitation next time.

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Intel Hollywood Star Program (July 2012 - December 2012)
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