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  1. Hugh Lang: The FAA placed ten pilots in simulators, recreated the events. Every pilot killed everybody on board! You were the only one who could do it!

– Quote from Flight 14 months ago

  1. Hugh Lang: This was an act of god.
  2. Whip Whitaker: Whose God would do this?

– Quote from Flight 14 months ago

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

(2014)
21 hours ago via Rotten Tomatoes

PENDING

The biggest complaint levelled at Rami's Spider-Man 3 was the amount of villains. Most blamed the 3 villains Spider-Man faced for that movies failings. While it was partly to blame there more to teh problems than the volume of enemies. And yet again now with Webb's incarnation of Spidey - that complaint has been levelled here. It's not something I subscribe to here in fact the two working created probably the best scene in the film. But it does have bigger problems to contend with than over crowding.

Divergent

Divergent

(2014)
1 day ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"I won't let anything happen to you".

Adapting teen fiction has become the new money making machine, on the odd occasion they get a hit (Hunger Games). But more often than not the lack of depth and the fact that it's specifically targeted for a certain audience gets in the way. 'Divergent' is another that can be placed in failed attempts but with admirable effort. With 2 more films to come an ending that opens it up to a bigger area there's still hope this will break free of the clichéd and rigid formula this one created.

There's an ok premise here, it's nothing new by any means. The world has been more or less wiped of vegetation and animals except for inside a city. At a certain age people are divided into different factions based on skills etc - Dauntless (Soldiers), Erudite (Intellect), Abnegation (Selfless), Amity (Peaceful) and Candor (Truthful). On the surface it sounds like a good idea but when one of them are introduced like they're from the circus or a cheap student theatrical group it's hard to take in any seriousness. 'Beatrice' (Shailene Woodley) is now on that day of choosing along with her brother. I'll maintain there are some good moments here the trials, the overcoming fears was interesting but the over-arching story is too typical - the smart ones are the danger and they want to use everyone as puppets. It's not something that took much working out. There's noting to separate from a million other dystopia stories.

It does (for now) hold back on the typical association with teen fiction - the romance. It's there but it doesn't dwell on it long enough to get in the way. But even without it, it manages to stumble on its own accord. More likely down to teh source material than anything else. The acting is fine, the direction is ok, there are consequences to what's happening. Things don't ring hollow which was probably the biggest surprise. The action is fleeting but adequate there isn't a whole lot that I can say is outright bad. However there is a problem that has stuck and now cannot be addressed. 'Four' (Theo James) and his miraculous turn-around of "What makes you think you have the right to talk to me" to I'm now helping you to pass. It's ridiculous, he's playing two different characters as far as I'm concerned - but now that ship has sailed. Possibly one the weakest and pathetically bad character progressions iv'e ever seen, it sticks out with a sore thumb.

A frustrating start to the trilogy. It may not hold anything unique but I could still take what it has and bring out more. Instead it's cliché after cliché after cliché. The acting, set, action etc may all be fine but fine isn't good enough. Especially when you're balancing it up against some of the weakest characterization iv'e seen. Here's hoping we get something more from the next film.

The Raid 2

The Raid 2

(2014)
8 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"You apologise to them?, on our land!".

Iv'e still not seen the first 'Raid', it never even occurred to me to watch it for some reason. I know it became this big thing for a short period of time. But I assumed and I still do that it doesn't matter so much. For all in tense and purposes its an action movie and that generally doesn't make a difference. But that's neither here nor there because now that iv'e seen the sequel I'm certainly going to go back and watch the first.

One assumes this starts off where it ends with 'Rama' (Iko Uwais) beaten but in tact, he's made an offer by a police officer to infiltrate a criminal underworld and weed out the corrupt police officer as well as take down the criminal syndicate. Things move quickly and at first with little information thrust into the prison and then introduced to 'Bangun' at a quick pace. It suits the film and makes sense, there's little time wasted at all. The story isn't the best, it's essentially a revenge film but it's the choreographed fight scenes and inventiveness that make this film great.

Even saying that, the story isn't bad. It plays out well and some of the actions and dialogue prove interesting. There's a 'Tarentino' like flavour going here as well - with characters that have very specific traits. There's a blind girl with hammers, a guy with a baseball bat and ball and somewhere who matches 'Rama' blow for blow. These are things I remember and it helps separate it from other martial arts films. Having not seen the first one I can't really comment whether or not the fight sequences are different and diverse enough to separate them. I can only view this a fresh experience and they're at times amazing. There's a kinetic speed, efficiency to them and importantly an energy to the way they're shot by the director. It's not just a case of, they're well choreographed they're also well put together and shot, making you feel each punch and create an intensity.

Some may find viewing it a bit queezy, even though I knew it would be violent I didn't expect it to the extent of this. But a high level of violence doesn't bother you and you're into your martial art or have seen this first one then this won't disappoint. While the story is just serviceable and not much interesting the action sequences are some of the best iv'e ever seen. While most action films these days an over familiarity this does not, the speed and power here rises it above everything else in the genre from the best years.

Rio 2

Rio 2

(2014)
8 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"Walk it off, buddy!"

Animated sequels are tricky subjects, it rarely works out well. There are some that improve upon the first - 'Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs'. And there's the exceptional 'Toy Story 3' that transcendence all I knew about animated sequels. But more often that not the 2nd outing feels inferior. 'Cars 2', 'Monsters University', 'Ice Age 2' the list goes on. Not necessarily a bad thing after all I enjoyed all those films to varying degrees. But keeping the same characterization while exploring something different isn't easy. Most fall into the trap of rehashing the first films plot. And that's exactly what happened with 'Rio 2'.

It's been several years and 'Blu' (Jesse Eisenberg) and 'Jewel' (Anne Hathaway) have a 3 kids. And when 'Jewel' learns of another Blue Macaw in the amazon she convinces 'Blu' to take a trip there. There's a nasty logging man, rival birds (who solve their differences by paying football). There's also Jewel's family but none of it is particularly interesting, at the same time none of it is bad - it's just inoffensively bland. They try and give 'Blu' a human element with his satnav and multi purpose tool but it feels like overkill. It's played for laughs but his inability to navigate isn't anything new nor was it this bad before. And there in lies the issue, there's nothing new - it's still about fitting in finding your place and about the rainforest. it's retreaded every single point from the first one but drilled into the ground this time.

There are some good points to be had Jewel's need to find other Macaws makes sense and wanting to stay with her family when they get their does to. But it should be obvious to everyone before hand that 'Blu' wouldn't fit and even more surprisingly it takes himself a while to realize - which is quite frankly ridiculous. There are more songs around this time, which is further proof of story problems - often used to cover the cracks. 'Nigel' (Jemaine Clement) is made into a joke this time and more of a clumsy idiot rather than the predator he was before. He's probably the best thing about the film, the voice actor on him is excellent and he has most of the best lines too.

It's difficult to write a review when it's middle of the road, having no strong feelings either way but figuring out why I found it so dividing. It's watchable, it has some good points 'Nigel' is by far the best thing, occasionally it made me laugh. But on the other hand the story has some serious pacing issues, a rehashed plot and too many songs that only further drive home the story problems. Kids will probably like it, it's colourful, is a fair amount of action and there are a lot songs. But for adults you're looking at 50/50, for every good thing there's a bad thing.

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