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Rating History

Taken 3
Taken 3 (2015)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Taken 3 is Liam Neeson's third outing as Bryan Mills. These films have spawned an unwanted franchise, you can smell
the staleness. Everyone involved in this film, seems to be doing clearly for a paycheck. No heart is put into this.
Liam Neeson is phoning it in, he clearly does not want to belong in the film. His line delivery is off, his energy is low,
and he seems to have lost his particular set of skills. The set of skills I am talking about are not his ass kicking skills.
But rather, his acting prowess.

Directed by Olivier Megaton, this film is an assault on the senses. The editing is awful, the cinematography is awful,
the plot is a snoozefest. I have a specific gripe with the editing. This caters to the now generation, where everything is
about the destination, never the journey. Scenes are barely set up, and when they try and fail to set up a scene, it's poorly
done. So many characters and locations don't add to the story they are trying to convey.

It feels as if the editor of this film, spent his time mucking around, and remembered he had a deadline to make, and one day he wakes
up and goes 'Oh my, I have a film to edit.' He then proceeds to smash the keyboard, hoping to make sense of this nonsense.
This film is a pain to watch, the average running time of a shot is four seconds. It's hard to take in a scene, when you can
barely see. There is a chase on foot, which blew my mind as to how frantically it's paced. Does'nt help the film is shot
as if it's a found footage film. Why the continous handheld? No idea.

Megaton and Besson (The Writer) try to differentiate this installment from the previous two, by fusing a conspiracy angle,
it doesn't work. The film comes off as a cheap knockoff of 'The Fugitive' and the original 'Taken'. How funny.

These films will always make money, as long as people go and seem them. You want further proof that audiences are
getting dumber by the minute, the 'Taken' franchise is proof. As the credits rolled in my theater, the people in attendance
proceeded to clap and cheer the film, to my confusion. As long as people don't challenge themselves to go see better films
such as 'The Imitation Game' and 'Nightcrawler.' Cinema will be stuck in this invisible and confusing limbo. You would think
that films which are good would be massive successes, and films which are not will flop. Sadly, that's not the case, and I
place this blame squarely on the audiences of today. Wow, that was a hell of a rant, in short. Don't see TAKEN 3. Save your
money, save your brain cells, save you vision and save your taste.


Birdman (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I have seen Birdman twice. Enjoying it much more the second time. The first time it came off as pretentious and rather bland. I switched my opinion the second time. The film is a triumph. I don't care for any of the praises the world is singing, such as the way it looks like one singular shot. Those things don't matter to me. The story is all that matters, and this has a great one. A very meta one too.

Birdman follows Riggan Thompson, portrayed by Michael Keaton, an actor known for playing a superhero. He's clearly past his glory days, and now, wants another shot at glory, in a completely different medium. Everyone, from critics to his family, laugh and ridicule him for his upcoming project. He writes, directs and starrs in his own play, on Broadway.

It's a story of redemption. Riggan falls into the trap of trying to please everybody. Ever hear the quote 'I can't tell you how to succeed... but I can tell you how to fail, by trying to please everyone.' That's Riggan. Michael Keaton is magnetic, desperate and angry. He plays an actor so well, his problems, his superficial problems are relevant and funny. Like most actors in our generation. He desires another shot to escape mediocrity. Something he clearly lives in, and is reminded of everyday.

Supporting Keaton, is an all-star cast comprising of Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts. Who all carry and distribute the load well, they have their own issues. These characters could have their own story, their own film, they meld in this seamlessly. These actors and actresses know what they are doing, they know when to be loud, and they know when to be quiet and blend in the background as to not takeover the story. Brilliant effort by the supporting cast.

The most memorable scene of the film occurs when Riggan argues with a renowned critic. Who wins that scene? Still wondering.

Michael Keaton, delivers a career best performance, and is all but standing on the Oscar stage. While I do think there were better performances in the year of 2014, specifically Jake Gylenhaal and Benedict Cumberbatch in 'NightCrawler' and 'The Imitation Game'. This performance seems like one the Academy would enjoy and give the nod too, and rightfully so.

American Sniper
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

'I'm ready to come home.'

One of the many memorable lines uttered by Bradley Cooper in American Sniper. Directed by Clint Eastwood, who seems to be back in form, after a string of duds since J.Edgar, steps up to direct, the story of American Patriot and War Hero, Chris Kyle. Who was laid to rest early in 2013. Based off the novel of the same name, written by Kyle.

Bradley Cooper administers a career best performance, in portraying Chris Kyle. A soldier credited with 160 confirmed kills (Insane). Cooper put on 40 pounds to walk in Kyle's shoes. Not only does he become Kyle physically, but if you've seen any interviews of the actual Chris Kyle, Cooper also nails his accent and voice. If you close your eyes, it would be difficult for you to tell who's who. Truly chameleonic performance. Bradley Cooper could sneak in as an Oscar nominee, it will be tough though, seeing as to how strong a year 2014 was, when it came to male performances in a lead role.

The film focuses on the effects of war before and after each of Kyle's four tours. We watch him deteriorate emotionally, as he tries to balance his family life with his war life. Nothing new there, we've seen this before, but we haven't seen it portrayed this way. That's where the sound design and sound editing comes in. Impeccable. One specific scene, which is a callback to a similar moment, Kyle sits in front of his television, stares blankly. We hear sounds of the war, naturally, we think he's watching some terrifying news about the Iraq war. The camera pans around only to show the television is off. Brilliantly done. His memories haunted him, till the very end.

The film does not lack in the action department either, full of high octane, heart stopping sniping sequences and explosions. Kyle's adversary in Iraq is a man similar to his stature, (Note: Kyle was so feared, the Iraqi soldiers/extremists nicknamed him 'The Devil of Ramadi'.) he duels against him throughout his four tours. Very well shot, and situated, location is a critical when it comes to filming sniper battles, use of long lenses and closeups make these sniper battles dynamic.

This film is not just about how good Chris Kyle was at doing his job, but also how it impeded his mind set by being that good. What war does to you. The film makes the point of saying, that war is a necessity, although it only produces sorrow for both sides. There are no heroes in war.

A great film, a film that takes a part of you with it.

Boyhood (2014)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Richard Linklater's films have always been hit or miss with me, keep in mind I have yet to see the Before Sunset trilogy, simply because it's trailers don't interest me. But one day, when I am so incredibly lacking with my movie collection, I will pull the trilogy off my shelf and give it a watch. This is not a review of the Before Sunset trilogy however. This review is of one of the most unique films I've ever seen. Boyhood.

'We've seen this story being told before and hundreds of other times!' you say. That is true, this film possesses uniqueness in the way it's being told, as the title states it's about Boyhood, about the average boy's growth cycle. Us men, we've all been through these phases. The emo phase, the phase where we become ridiculously and laughably 'deep.' Ellar Coltrane as Mason is the little boy we follow through those said stages. The film made me regret a lot of things, such as when I would talk back to my mother, and clearly she was always right, so the film is about growth, physical and mental. Linklater throws in some freebies too. He says 'pfft, why watch a kid grow, when I can give you a whole family?' We see Mason's mother take one step forward and two steps back continuously, the different fathers Mason had to live through. His first father, who is played by the excellent Ethan Hawke, he's charming, funny, matured and flawed. Ethan Hawke is in that very small club of actors, who make excellent everymen. Ethan Hawke is probably the president of that club.

Mason starts off at the age of 5, and is followed till the age of 18. The film offers comedy along the way, one scene stealer involves Ethan Hawke having 'THE TALK.' With his kids in a bowling alley. What's baffling to me is, Ellar Coltrane transforms into a worse actor as he matures and grows. I don't know if I believe that fully, probably because the older Mason transformed into one of those annoying emo kids, and ended up looking a lot like Justin Bieber. So maybe it's the character, maybe it's Ellar, we'll find out in his next film whether it's him or his character.

One thing, the film could've added to it's edit would've been some timelapses and flashier transitions. I viewed the picture with a friend and he was scratching his head at moments, the film skips time and characters. He was asking me 'Wait, where'd that guy go?' The audience could've used a little help in filling up the blanks, a simple timelapse or a fade or specific insert could've made it much clearer, not that I had an issue with it, but I could see that as an improvement to the film.

Watching Boyhood, transported me to Max's house, it feels like I was walking and maturing with him. At times, I followed his parents, I made the same mistakes as Max, so I was reminded of some of my past embarrassments and mistakes. The film tells such a small story in such a grand way, while giving it kind of a big scale, we are transported from a small house, to a bowling alley and all the way to the forest. Richard Linklater has made a film that comes around once in a lifetime, I don't think I will ever be able to see a film this courageous.