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Lucy

Lucy

(2014)
15 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

So Luc Besson graces us yet again with another femme fatale flick. Honestly, I was never a big fan or his, apart from Leon.

I didn't pay much attention to the developments around Lucy, apart from partial plot details here and there. I went into this movie with literally zero expectations.

Now, I have to confess, the visual representations and cut-aways throughout the movie got me. I'm a sucker for these kinds of things, sue me. In terms of cinematography, I was thoroughly impressed. The vivid imagery caught me off guard at points and it was a nice experience, being visually stimulated like that.

Unfortunately that's where the good stuff end. I don't think Lucy knew what it wanted to be. At one point it was this science fiction thriller about a woman trying to survive a horrific ideal, and next it was a philosophical documentary narrated by Morgan Freeman. It felt as if Lucy was trying to deliver a bigger message then it actually did. Scarlett's transition from whiny and nervous girl to totally stoic killer was a little to understated and might have been lost on some. And the sudden influx of dues ex machine style abilities that came with every rise in percentage of brain control just felt cheap and confusing at times. I'm all for taking movie plots on face value, but even I need exposition at times.

The supporting cast in this movie felt as though they were brought in for the sole purpose of marketing. Morgan Freeman was Morgan Freeman, and Old Boy was, well just another Asian mobster. Even the cop that was supposed to be Lucy's foil felt out of place at times.

All of this, has led me to believe, that a movie like Lucy, would make a great indie film. Unfortunately, Hollywood is in the business of making ridiculous amounts of money, and not so much the entertainment of a fussy movie goer.
All in all, an ambitious movie that will make more money than I'll ever see in my lifetime. Help me fight that by not seeing it in the cinema, but wait for the DVD instead.

Base Score - 5
Plot - +0
Directing - +0
Acting - +0
Score - +0
Rewatch value - +0

Total - 5/10

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

(2014)
15 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The biggest problem I've always had with any Marvel Studio production (post-IronMan) is the constant need to shove fan service and lame jokes down the viewer's throats. And full disclosure, when the "Hooked on a Feeling" and "Spirit in the Sky" trailers hit the web, I was as sceptic as ever. I even told my friends, that Guardians was most probably going to be another piece of generic shite on offer by the Marvel Machine. That wasn't to say I was rooting against it. I have been a Chris Pratt fan from day one, and I always hope that I leave the cinema a satisfied customer.

Now, as always, I don't know if this reduced level of anticipation helped my enjoyment of the movie in anyway, but the moment the opening to "I'm not in Love" played on the screen, my head lifted and my interest was piqued. When the perfectly synced music and Marvel Studios logo came on, I was foaming at the mouth. By the time Pratt was dancing on screen and the words "Guardians of the Galaxy" came on the screen, I was ready to enjoy myself.
And enjoy myself I did. In my mind, what separated this movie from all the other Marvel templates was that the actors were genuinely funny and this made the jokes infinitely more organic for me. I didn't have to cringe through Thor and Cap trying so hard to pull off a scripted joke and failing miserably. Another thing that the movie had going for it is the fact that it didn't have the burden of being a well known property, yet at the same time having the backing of Marvel's gargantuan budget, kinda like the first Iron Man. And it helped that apart from Thanos, nothing from any other movie was shoehorned in.

The movie, like any other movie, isn't perfect. It still had the Marvel cheese in it here and there (inevitable), but it was perfectly nullified by the sincerity of the people pulling it off. I mean, come on, the ending literally came out of something like Captain Planet or Thundercats (with the dancing and hand holding) but I still loved how it was executed and it felt like something that could actually happen. Even Ronan who was a filler villain if there ever was one was portrayed perfectly, unlike that Dark Elf from the Dark World which I've already banished to the Dark Recesses of my "Unwanted DVDs" bin.

The mixing pot that was the supporting cast, in my opinion was brilliant. I say this because I felt that Marvel always tend to capitalize on the crowd liking a supporting performance, and then proceeding to shove it in our faces for the rest of eternity ie. Loki, Pepper, Kat Dennings etc. In this movie, the support cast was just that. They played their parts perfectly, no more, no less.

All that being said, I did realize that the magic was lost on me the second time round. The jokes weren't as funny, and the plot was predictable and could have been fleshed out a little more. Thats not to say it wasn't funny anymore because it still was.

I don't think anything needs to be said about the soundtrack for this movie. The number one rating on itunes speaks for itself.
Overall, a definite MUST WATCH for everybody. The visuals are stunning, which means that you probably should watch it at the cinema, if you still have the chance.

Base Score - 5
Plot - +0
Directing - +1
Acting - +1
Score - +1
Rewatch value - +0

Total - 8/10

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes

(2014)
46 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

***WARNING POTENTIAL SPOILERS***

I was in the not so small camp of people that were sceptical of this franchise sequel. Did that scepticism ultimately help in my overall enjoyment of the movie? I would say yes, seeing as I enjoyed this movie thoroughly.

I admit that I don't recall much of the first movie, save a couple of moments that I saw on HBO here and there. And I can gladly say that this did not detract at all from the experience. Of course it would be advisable for one to watch "Rise", but it you haven't, no worries there.

The movie starts of with one of the coolest acts I've seen in recent cinema. The creation and depiction of the inner workings of Caesar's "little" empire was captivating and so kept on sucking me in with every scene. Something made even more impressive by the fact that the entire act was effectively a pantomime. Each grunt and hand gesture of the apes flawlessly conveyed the message. Not once did wonder what was going on, and it was done in such a way that I didn't feel like a stupid movie goer being force fed exposition.

While the apes obviously steal the show, the humans didn't lag to far behind. Gary Oldman's performance is a good example of how an extended cameo can be more than just a big name showing up at the set and premieres. *cough*godzilla*cough. The human characters were well played out and developed just enough for us to care about them, and no too much that they would have detracted from the apes.

Plot wise, it was a fun ride that thankfully wasn't some generic invade the smurfs script and had some great suspenseful moments which were very clever. Caesar's apparent death being a case in point. Even the little subplot with Koba and Blue Eyes' uprising was very well fleshed out. I liked how Caesar was not some ruthless ruler, but a wise but flawed leader that everyone respected and trusted. So many human elements can be seen in Caesar that made him so very easy to relate to. And a it also had a nice ending that served as a good indication of what's to come.

All in all, a must watch movie for moviegoers, casual and buff alike.

Base Score - 5
Plot - +1
Directing - +1
Acting - +1
Score - 0
Rewatch value - +1

9/10

P.S. I will be watching this again and I might revise my score rating. Didn't really pop out to me the first time round.

Transformers: Age of Extinction

Transformers: Age of Extinction

(2014)
2 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

***POTENTIAL SPOILERS***

For a moment, I allowed myself to hope. Hope that Michael Bay would return to form and provide us with a Transformers movie that would leave us all with a burning need to go to the nearest Toys R Us and buy every available Optimus figure there was and make a shrine for them. I hoped.
But then, Bay took my hope, slipped it a couple of roofies, took it into a dark room with stale musty air, ripped off its clothes, and proceeded to violate it. Violate it hard, leaving my hope in a crying, broken heap. And for good measure he threw in a copy of Iron Man 3, and charged me matinee pricing for the whole ordeal.

This movie is long. This movie is too long. This movie is nothing but a Michael Bay wankfest filled with idiosyncrasies that you think would only be present in a Michael Bay parody. After 3 movies of virtually the same thing, I still somehow could not be more poorly prepared for this installment.

We now have a new team of Autobots that we have no connection to. (Am I the only one who found the Samurai one a bit racist? Oh well, Michael Bay...) We have new humans that we're supposed to root for. And we also have a bunch of new villains that are just, well, there. The characters in this movie as a whole, both CG and live, all suck. The redeeming quality is that the human team this time aren't as annoying as the Witwicky family. I for one liked the family dynamic between Walhberg and the now grown up Katara. Thank you Google Images. And you know a movie is bad when Stanley Tucci and Kelsey Grammer are just as expendable as everyone else.

The CG in this movie is bad. The green screen is very noticeable and the Transformers, apart from Optimus, don't really transform on screen. And just like I predicted, the Dinobots, if you could call them that, were only in there so Hasbro could have something new to sell. Dues ex Machina if there ever was one.

Sometimes I wonder if we're unfair to the Transformers franchise, buy trying to review it on the same scale we use for other more cerebral movies. Then I remember the shot of Nicola Peltz's long legs, and remember that Michael Bay is capable of so much more, and think, "Naaaaah".

All in all, a movie that you should only watch out of obligation, not anticipation.

4/10

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow

(2014)
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

***POTENTIAL SPOILERS***

All You Need is Kill. The first time I heard that Sakurazaka's light novel was getting the Hollywood runaround, I was again moping at the thought of mass produced movies being churned out by the machine. That being said I wasn't too attached to the source material and didn't pay much attention to any developments. I saw a trailer here and there. I've seen Source Code, I've seen Aliens, and I've seen many of the like. So walking in the Hall 5 I had the "Here we go again" button polished and turned sideways.

Walking out of Hall 5, the combination of practically no expectations whatsoever and the fact that the movie itself was so damned good made me a very happy customer. Its no secret that I haven't been entertained by the recent movies available. I endured a poor start to the year, which picked up recently with Days of Future Past which I enjoyed for the most part. So I have been pining for that Instellar moment that is inevitably coming. But lo and behold, Christmas came early in the form of... er... Tom Cruise. And a yoga practicing Emily Blunt whose GIF will live in my mind palace till I die. And repeat.

Exposition to my life's problem's aside, the movie was your run of the mill time loop groundhog day plot device, apart from the fact that it was done extremely well. Not once did I feel, "Shit here we go again." The loop were done extremely well, alternating seamlessly between humor and heavy handed. And the loops weren't repetitive, with Liman knowing when to put it into play, and when to progress the story. At the 60 minute mark I felt that I was in there twice as long, and that wasn't necessarily a bad thing.

Acting wise, Tom Cruise will always be Tom Cruise and that actually helped in this movie as we saw his character progress from cowardly smug to time looping bad ass. Emily Blunt. Oh Emily Blunt. The action movie version of Kristen Wigg. Her and Cruises' character were practically the only two that are worth mentioning and the chemistry that they shared from the first time they laid eyes on each other was very believable and pleasant.

My only qualm with it, which shouldn't even be a factor in the first place, is that this particular source material, in the hands of a Spielberg or Cameron could have been a science fiction masterpiece worthy of a 10. Also the ending was kind off a cop out seeing as a happy ending wasn't necessary at all. That being said, the DVD will still have a place in my cupboard.

All in all, this is surprisingly my favorite movie of 2014 so far. A must watch for action junkies that also crave, as japan would put it, a Type A story.

Baseline Score - 5
Story - +1
Directing - +1
Acting - + 1
Rewatch Value - +1
Score - +0

9/10

P.S. I would have liked to have known exactly how many times he looped. Emily Blunt said she saw someone die over 300 hundred times, so did Cruise spend more than a year looping around???

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