I really enjoyed Finding Dory, I did. It was a well put together film going into the backstory of one of the funniest, most memorable side characters in animation history. It's just hard for me to say whether or not it matches or tops 'Nemo'. All in all, the two are entirely different from each other though they are in the same franchise. Finding Nemo was more of an adventure with a ton of memorable characters, Finding Dory is more of a coming of age moment for Dory, as she starts to remember more and more of her backstory as the film progresses. I don't wanna say that the film disappointed me, because overall it didn't. Far from it actually. I guess I just wanted it to be more similar to the original in that we got to take in the environment and talk with a ton of different sea creatures. But alas, it's just not that kind of movie. But the new characters they give us like Dory's parents and Hank the octopus are a lot of fun, and they do add what they need to add to the movie. They just don't have as much screen time as say Crush or the three sharks in the original. But on the plus side, the animation was great as always, the backstory is interesting and serves a purpose, and the humor and climactic moments are a lot of fun. It is a great flick to put Pixar back on track, let's just hope that this doesn't lead to more overexploitation with a Finding Nemo 3 or anything unnecessary. Both of these films are finite and winners on their own with nothing else to be added.
It's hard to call The Good Dinosaur a good movie, but it's also hard to call it a bad movie. It did bring some interesting elements to the table contemplating what would have happened if dinosaurs survived and thrived like humans and the overall message of conquering fear. But the problem is that it doesn't delve far enough into it, and just tells a straight bland story. On top of that, the film's look is lackluster, which is unbecoming of a studio that has been known to bring whizbang effects to the silver screen. Some of the backdrops can be nice, but the character designs are so contrived and cheaply made that they look as though no effort was put in at all. As bad as "Cars 2" was, at least it fell back on it's visuals. This film can't, which does deteriorate into it being a less than likable film. There are some enjoyable moments here and there, like Sam Elliot's T-Rex rodeo and some bit s with the caveman kid, but they are just here and there. And we don't care about any of the characters either. Not the worst from Pixar, but it's decidedly mediocre. It might have resonated if it was better put together, or even put together at all.
It's difficult not to love a Marvel film that tries to relate to its audience while simultaneously being entertaining like this one. Some more serious undertones here such as when heroism can miss the mark and the overall battle of innocence vs. guilt and mercy vs. bloodshed is shown brightly through the inner rivalry all these characters have. It's hard to find anything integrally wrong with Civil War, it follows in the lines of Avengers and other superhero films that have significance.
Zootopia is a movie that at first glance seems like one of Disney's more child-friendly efforts. Many of their movies are about solely animal worlds with no humans, so nothing was grabbing from the trailers. Once you get past the first viewing, though, it is full of artistic value and true redeeming qualities. Zootopia continues the uphill popularity of the Disney company, if not a perfect effort. Our main characters, Judy Hopps and Nick Wylde, are two classic leads. Lots of bickering, bantering, but a cute friendship on the side. Judy's ambition to be a cop as an innocent rabbit has its moments, though we know why the character exists. The film hits us with it so early. Somewhere down the line, the film wanted to get out of its plastic, canned "Anyone can be anything" moral but probably had a hard time risking being unconventional. This film is incredibly long, maybe Disney's longest at an hour and forty eight minutes. It said all it needed to say and tried to lay it on even more, and it lost me. But that doesn't mean its a lost cause. The comedy is fast and gets some roaring laughs, the story is interesting enough, the animal world in general is creative, and it's enough to make it good.
The Graduate is one of those films that is both dated and timeless at the same time. It was written for the rebellious teens and college students of the time, but still has a lot of universal forces driving the plot. Ben is our anti-hero who is the tortured soul that has no idea how to live his life. All he knows is that he is constantly under the thumb of his parents and their friends. His affair with Mrs. Robinson, his eloping with Elaine, and the way he spends his spare time all revolve around a deep need to satisfy them. Him and Mrs. Robinson make the movie stand out, as they are easily character staples in cinema while the other characters aren't nearly as developed. Just goes to show that you don't have to have a star-studded involved cast to make a pertinent film. A personal theory I have about The Graduate is that Mrs. Robinson's affair with Ben was her way of keeping him from marrying Elaine, in her insane drive to be over protective. She nearly succeeds until they run from the church away from her. There is much debate about the ending of the film, the long bus ride with the altering faces and the Simon and Garfunkel pop song "Sound of Silence". Think of it this way, these two newly grads have never lived a life outside their family, and now they are at a state where they can't come back to them. A dark aspect to this coming of age tale, but it takes a turn to discuss the destruction of the family structure long before it was the norm to do so. It's hard to find anything wrong with a film that does so well at a subtle pushing of the envelope as this one does.
It's really hard not to love something like Peanuts, even something like their first big budget big screen movie which doesn't do anything you don't want it to do. It's the same characters, jokes, lines, and gags that you come to know as a Peanuts fan. They don't update the formula or modernize it at all for the new crowd of kids coming in to see it. It's the same Peanuts, except for a few modern songs which you can't really prevent. The story doesn't stick to the beginning, middle, end structure as the strips and specials never did. It's Charlie Brown, just seeing him live out his daily life trying to please the little red-haired girl. You'll like this one.
Speaking from a non horror fans perspective, I thought Oculus was a brilliant horror film. It doesn't have all the answers or details on it's complicated storyline, but it's well acted and creepy enough to make the audience get invested every second. The story is two young adults living in a state of paranoia years after the death of their parents of a mystical force through a glass window. It's basically awesome because it enters int othe mind of a schizophrenic, coming across weird oddities but rationalizing at every turn. The brother and sister characters are likable not only for this but how deeply they connect with themselves and their mutual past. The ending was a sad one, one that I didn't know how to feel when seeing. Which I guess could be the only problem, but otherwise it was an enjoyable ride. No slasher cheese with nightmare-inducing imagery and goosebump worthy gore.
The Amazing Spider Man 2 was an underperforming sequel in many ways, the major one being that it is practically a rewrite of the 2004 masterpiece "Spiderman 2" with a few changes. Which some of them work, but all in all it doesn't leave you with a happy adrenaline rush nearly as much as it's predecessor.
It focuses on SOME of the things that made the first Spiderman reboot great, how he's almost a criminal taking away crime stopping from the police, the fact that he's more popular, and his relationship with the beautiful Gwen Stacy. Yet at the beginning, we see Gwen and Peter's high school reunion which Peter misses. Gee, sounds familiar. They go through a tough time and break up due to both Peter's guilt over what is said by Gwen's father in the original to "stay away from her" and the fact that he's busy as Spiderman. Again, sounds familiar. This is cut-copy-paste the scenario with Mary Jane in the original Tobey Macguire flicks. Similar events, same lines, and bottom line I don't care. It was enjoyable having Gwen know he was Spiderman in the original, and I felt as though the writers decided to scrap that. But I guess creativity can only go so far. The highlight of the film is the villain, which comes out of Dillon Max a former huge fan of Spiderman who tries to usurp all the town's electrical power after becoming Electro. He gets this way when he's stung by a bunch of eels in a science lab tank. His parts along with SM's determination to stop him is the film's saving grace from mediocrity. For me, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" was extremely underwhelming, especially when you have an original that's so inventive and creative.
I'm always pretty divided when it come to my love of the Lord and my love for cinema. It's often in the realm of films with graphic violence, sex, and stuff you wouldn't let your children see that someone like myself without a second to spare write off as "mere entertainment". Yet never is it as apparent as when I sit down to watch a Christian movie. I definitely appreciate Christian filmmakers and their attempts to challenge Hollywood blockbusters by giving some wholesome and moving. Often the sentiment is that we don't care how well the message is received as long as it's received which is a tenant of Christianity that preaches the gospel while accepting the reality that there will always be unbelief. However, I propose that decent even great acting, a smart screenplay, and a universal message does not have to be devoid from these films in order to fulfill a different approach. And sadly, this film lacks most of that. I admire the film for it's ambition, but it's huge weakness is in the writing.
Our main plot follows college freshman Josh Wheaton (whose actor Shane Harper I recognized from Disney's "Good Luck Charlie") who is introduced himself to a new life in college met head on by his philosophy professor Jeffrey Raddison. Raddison is a militant atheist who extols the work of scholars who deny God and quite bluntly forces the students to do the same. The students are instructed to write "God is dead" on a piece of paper for 30% of their final grade in the course. Josh says he can't do it, which means he needs to prove the existence of God to his peers and his professor in order to stand a chance in the class. This is our main story and the one you see in the trailers, though it does deviate in other directions we'll address in a minute. Let's look at our two main characters. Josh Wheaton is your typical youth group prodigy of a Christian male, cross necklace, cute blonde girlfriend, the works. I give the actor credit for trying to get into his role, but it still comes off as underdeveloped. It would have been nice to actually see him being challenged by this rash declaration that his faith is pointless and a "primitive superstition" and struggle for more than a five second snippet after a Stephen Hawking quote is uttered and delve more into broader apologetics and scriptural insight. I think I like this character the most out of the entire cast, but he's just too serious for the shallow recycled world around him. His girlfriend was a terrible character, giving no explanation to her opposition to Josh's challenge and dumping him out of spite for his lack of obedience to her. It's great that he's proclaiming God however even if it will get him nowhere. Now let's look at the professor, Mr Raddison. From the time he begins trashing a deity, he represents more of us Christians' satire of atheism rather than an actually realized man who doesn't believe in God. His lectures are more full of spewing hate toward the Christian God in general stating the old "science and reason" argument and zeroing in on the wrath of God in particular. College professors are often adament against the existence of God in those fields, yet they at least have an agenda of knowledge, even though I feel their knowledge is incorrect. This guys all zeal and no substance. We later find out that he has a sour taste toward God after his mother dies of cancer when he is only 12 years old. So his lecturing and teaching are more based on emotional shunning than intellectual thought. That cliche is spotted a mile down the road as he gets angrier and angrier threatening Wheaton constantly spouting his conceit in addition. Wheaton asks him "Why do you hate God?" as if that is a question forwarding his arguments at all. The natural man cannot understand what is spiritually discerned so saith the Bible. He comes to his senses, admits that his anti-theist bias is an emotional one, and tries to reconnect with his closet Christian girlfriend who was once one of his students. Am I the only one that finds that disturbing? Again, underdevelopment. This guy could have been a man with a real slant against the existence of God that could help the main character's faith conflict, but again it's tossed away for horribly written lines and stereotypes. Raddison tells his girlfriend "I don't get a mistress, and you don't get to drag a 2,000 year old dead carpenter into our lives." That line is atrocious. Who came up with that? Bottom line, he's a bad character.
Like I said before, we have side characters that other than the pastor (or reverend, is this a Catholic film?) seem to have little to do with the main story. We have a liberal reporter who gets cancer, a missionary traveling to Florida who acts as a prayer warrior, and also an appearance by Willie and Korie Robertson from "Duck Dynasty". My question is, how do they know Josh? What is their place in this story? We see how they supposedly come to faith, but before they come to the faith they aren't characters we care about. Just more recycled emotions leading to people giving up and deciding to follow Jesus out of horrible life circumstances. Which would be great, if they were more believable. The acting was terrible in this movie, half the actors talk as though reading from a script the whole duration. No passion, no effort, no likability.
What I like about God's Not Dead is the apologetics, trying to turn atheism on it's head with sound reasoning and intuitive arguments, This is where the film gets its strength but it's so sloppily put together that it really doesn't make as much of an impact as it wants to. It's a shame that Christians can't produce films that could widely be considered masterpieces by critics and audiences alike, that could be heralded as groundbreaking and insightful and can stand with all time greats. I pray the gospel gets a better representation than "God's Not Dead" a well meaning movie that you've sadly seen before many times.
Going into Draft Day, I have to apologize for discrediting the film as a football knockoff of "Moneyball", admittedly a far superior film. This one surprised me by keeping me entertained the whole way through for what the film intended to be. The main story centers around Costner's character Sonny Weaver Jr., General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. His father, fictitious Browns legend Sonny Sr., passes away days before the NFL draft which predictably has Sonny torn up. As a result, he makes a brazen decision when the Seahawks give up the bid for top quarterback prospect Bo Callahan. Costner after fighting himself gives into the deal to trade away three first round draft picks which has everyone in a tizzy. People are happy since he's such a huge franchise player, then people are mad because they missed out in spite of this newcomer. So yeah, this movie is about football and lots of it. There's also a subplot where his girlfriend Ali is expecting and their relationship is a la "For Love of the Game" style, hot and heavy then dark and passive aggressive. A signature cliche of Costner films that fails to hit a pleasant medium with the two characters. Surprisingly, I love the football in this movie. And not because I am a football fan, but because it was informative and helped viewers understand the fundamentals of what makes a great football team. But as both a North American Sports aficionado and a film connoisseur, I wanted to hear more about the Cleveland Browns in this story. The team has a great history dating back decades that would be great to explore a bit heavier plus adding bulk to this dry, recycled story. The characters are pretty bland and with the exception of one or two don't really feel into the role. Almost like they are reading a script the whole time. Costner swears and confronts owners and players, but he's no Billy Beane when it comes down to it. There was also a lot of editing mistakes in this film. Two people are on the phone and they could literally walk to the other end of the line. It's like they were in the same room. The cities and team names popping up every time a camera shot of the city was taken was also pretty distracting. But what pulls Draft Day through as being watchable for me is some of the fundamentals and again, some of the historical nods to the Cleveland Browns. If it was more of that, I probably would have loved it. As is, my reception is pretty mixed. Not nearly as bad and as much of a trainwreck as I suspected, just sort of a mixed bag or a discount buffet. Pick what you like about it and stick with it.
2013 was one of the more Flotsam and Jetsam years of cinema that gave us classics like "Gravity" and real huge disappointments like "Man of Steel" all in the span of about five months. However, come Osar time, the film that reigned supreme earning the coveted Best Picture award was 12 Years a Slave. A film that originally appeared to me as another political tear fest of seeing how black slaves were oppressed and feeling bad about being white (don't get me wrong, I have nothing against black people but sick of the politics behind it all) actually has a deeper meaning here when you see the brutal torment of our main character, Solomon Northup, in particular that pulls the movie through as something to emulate as deserving of it's nomination and later victory in Academy Awards.
The film takes place in what is assumed to be the Antebellum South where Negro salves pick cotton and perform other grueling outdoor tasks for their white masters. Our main character is thrown into the mix while trying to prove he is free and getting no sympathy in return, being whipped and worked to death, told not to escape lest his life be not spared, and even being forced to whip a young Negro girl much to his heartbreak and dismay.
The emotions are crystal clear and the film totally engulfs itself in the experience of slaves at the time. If you are weak at heart, or any other weak constitutions, I suggest you skip this one. This is the uncensored abuse in full bloom, constant whippings, hot sun, grueling work, bitter cruelty, the whole nine yards. You feel the pain watching this movie, and I think that's the heart of this film. Which like I said works to it's advantage, but I do wish they focused more on the narrative. The first hour or so focuses on merely the experience of the slaves. They work, they sing (very nice singing), they have families, they feel weary and hopeless yet committed. And while that's intriguing, I got more invested in every scene that showed Solomon's struggle. He wasn't supposed to be one of "them", an aspect to this brutal story that would have made this film stellar to me if it was brought out more. He gets his redemption at the end, he has conversations about it, but everything else is drawn out around him that it's fighting for room. Another nitpick I have is the titles on screen that tell of the setting of the movie and what became of Mr. Northup after he was finally freed. The font was incredibly small, and illegible without a magnifying glass. Maybe it's just me, but that was really distracting. Fundamentally, this is a good movie, even if it's not your favorite movie of the past year. It's emotionally resonant and tones down it's agenda enough to grab a broader scope than perhaps originally intended.
After the resurgent comeback of the Muppets that we were taken by surprise with in 2011 with "The Muppets", one of the best family films of that year, we get "Muppets Most Wanted", a bland and indescribably sad effort by the Henson team to continue their modern success with the old throwback characters. This is probably the first thing from the Muppets that has not only not given me any joy or an upbeat feel, but almost put me to sleep in an hour and a half run time. For the first third or so, it's a movie that basically struggles to find it's identity. It so cleverly wants to point out that it's the follow up to the 2011 film with the opening song number (which failed to strike a chord), so maybe it wanted to do what Henson's puppets did best and make clever in-jokes making fun of itself. However, the repetitive lines about mocking sequels wear out fast and after that they had to find a new direction. Maybe just a straight up comedy then. I will give the film credit for a few chuckles, but the big laughs you see in the trailer. The "Lights out" gag, "Bad-gee. It's French." etc., which contains less hilarity than it leads on. So when comedy falls flat, you go for a straight up narrative. I never expect this category of filmmaking to be that original and inventive in storytelling, but at least make it interesting. We've heard this story before, oh what, about a billion times. A tour group of some kind is approached by a greedy agent in disguise that wants to destroy them and take the money. The head honcho of the group (Kermit here) has initial doubts but eventually caves in to the immediate whim of the group. Then through chaos and just everything going wrong, they see that they should have trusted the boss and that what they wanted wasn't what they needed. Basically the plot of the first Alvin and the Chipmunks live action film (which was a notable clunker). But it doesn't stop there. There's also a subplot with a Kermit look alike on FBI's most wanted that's a prison escapee and frames Kermit simply by placing his removable beauty mark on his upper lip. Which could be clever, but again, is a plot used in several films and it just isn't fun to watch here.
I can already hear the "Get a grip. It's a kid's film." criticisms in the back of my head, but the argument holds no water when Disney, heck even most NON Disney distributors of kids films, have better quality than this mismatched tapestry that feels barely sewn together. It didn't feel like a Muppets movie, it felt like the production meeting of a Muppets movie. I already know it has it's fans, as anything with these characters will, but count me out sadly. It's just too dull, the characters, even the Muppets themselves, are forgettable in this as well as the songs and like I said the story they chose for this follow up.
I never expected to give a film with such poor marketing the light of day. The backgrounds as well as the appearance of the designs made it look like the Star Wars prequels meets Battlefield Earth aka an all around disappointment. However, actually seeing the film, not only does Marvel live up to it's name and avoid embarassment but they do something special with this film. Guardians of the Galaxy, for lack of a better description, nails the superhero action film formula perfectly. It follows a tradition of fantasy films that is heralded as the best, where actors, writers, producers, and directors give us intense action, an engaging story, characters to care about, and a sense of escape into the world they've created.
It all starts with the characters, who all stand out from the crowd and manage to make you laugh both intentionally and just by acting as themselves. Peter Quill the lead has the tragic backstory of losing his mother to cancer and the groan that almost left my mouth at seeing this cliche again soon vanished at the fact that it's very fast paced and that the character isn't a stick in the mud loner but a nostalgic dreamer obsessed with old time pop songs his late mother enjoyed. He comes across a team of extremely memorable characters in a quest to retrieve an orb that could kill off civilization from an evil villain named Ronan. These side characters include an Elphaba-look alike green warrior named Gamora, a living plant named Groot (who often states his name as a form of speech), an anthropomorphic raccoon played brilliantly by Bradley Cooper and the muscle bound Drax. Though not all of these characters are as fully explored as our lead, they all have added depth and their own backstories that they live around rather than fully reform. It's refreshing to see characters so comfortable in their own skin so as to take life as it comes rather than develop by learning a lavish moral.
The humorous moments are too many to count and will leave you at the point of joy-induced tears. This film throws so much satire on the silver screen and breaks the fourth wall to pieces with all the script's in-jokes and classic family friendly humor. Very low on nudity or sexual humor in this flick, which is a breath of fresh air.
The visuals, despite their initial appearance, actually turn out pretty good. The first hour feels like something out of the 80's library of hallmark films that many believe could never be seen again. The lasers, the costume designs, the different hemispheres of this sci-fi adventure land, the mix between something out of a dream and the modern world, it all looks so real! It's one of the few bucket list films to pay the extra money to see on Blu-Ray. Especially wonders such as when Groot covers the group in branches in self-sacrifice and you see yellow sprites come out almost like a symbol of peace. It's just breathtaking.
If I did have a few nitpicks about this film, the climax does drag a bit. Which I've grown to expect from Marvel films, they fit in a ton of action and drama to push the 2 hour time frame. Personally I would have liked just one shorter climax rather than a bunch of near deaths. The characters plunge to the ground on a spaceship and then nearly get killed again by the orb seconds later, it just felt like too much build up. Otherwise, there isn't much to pull a yellow or red flag on with this motion picture. It may not be definite to say, but Guardians of the Galaxy puts it's chips on the poker table to vie for the crown jewel of Marvel's Phase 2. It's well worth a watch past poor marketing and modern jazz clouding the wonder and surprising surreal quality this film has to offer. The best film of the year so far and a definite recommend. Avengers: Age of Ultron has an extremely hard act to follow.
I'm personally a big fan of Spider-Man in general, and honestly, I really loved this movie. It's great to see that this tired story can still throw twists and turns at you when you really do expect a rehash. But somehow this is not. The best part about this movie is the characters. Peter Parker is a very likable relatable character. He's traumatized but he's also curious, adventurous, clumsy, and just mad at the world, much like a normal person would be in that situation. Emma Stone's Gwen Stacy is also great. I expected sort of a stand-in Mary Jane out of her, but instead we get a believable character as well. She's independent but has real emotions and fears at the right time. She's rebellious without being annoying. And I like how she knows that Peter is Spider Man throughout most if not all of the film, which makes the romance between them even better. I always hated the secret identity plot in a lot of super hero films, and there is little to none of that here. So thumbs up. The other characters are much more fleshed out than that of the original movies and they are a lot more fun to watch. There's a few sad dramatic scenes and then there's a few funny lines too out of them. Also, I like to think a lot of money went into this movie. The SpiderMan uniform is a lot more technologically advanced and the design of the villian is fabulous. And speaking of the villian, he's great too. His backstory is pretty good, though it's not the focus. His motivation is diabolical enough and throughout the climax which I really liked it seems as though nothing can destroy him. I actually didn't know how they would make him lose in the end. I guess you can say a big problem with the movie is that it assumes you already saw the first Spider Man and it decides to speed through the scenes you don't care to see. The end also is kind of convoluted in that we don't really get a clear picture on what the motivation of the villian is until they explain it later. The pacing also seemed a bit off and it could have sucked us in more into what a truly great film this is. But I'm nitpicking, this really is a fantastic movie. I actually think it's up there with The Avengers as one of the best superhero films. Definitely at least the best SpiderMan film. Recommended.
I'm usually a huge fan of Robert Zemeckis, he always seems to know what he's doing. And to be honest, he knows what he's doing here too. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a very entertaining film mostly for it's comedy and innovation.
Good: The fact that real people can talk to cartoons. Yeah, even as a kid, I found that really cool how they could make that work. I don't know why I was never really introduced to this film because of that reason, it's just cool. There's a lot of fun characters and I do like how they combine Disney characters with Warner Bros. and so forth. The jokes strike a chord at just how awkwardly hilarious they fit into the script. The guy's brother dies because a piano falls on his head. I have to admit, that got a giggle out of me. And then of course you have Jessica Rabbit who isn't even an animal but is just drawn to be an unreasonably seductive character that no doubt draws attention. But to be fair, she's a pretty fun character as well. She's not just the bland "hot chick" you see in most of these films, she gets a good line every now and again.
Bad: My main gripe with this film is that it's a kids film that's not for kids. Usually I like to give kids more credit than most and think that they can handle the rough stuff but this movie is really adult. Drinking, smoking, and even a wink at adultery in a movie about cartoons. How could kids innocently watch this film? I know if I had kids, they wouldnt watch it til they were older. On top of that, the plot about the freeway was kind of convoluted. Who was wanting to own Toon Town again? It was all just pieced together weird
Review: Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a very fun film. I wouldn't say it is one of the best of all Disney films, and like I said it's very mature. But at the same time, it is unique. You'll get some enjoyment out of it, that is, if you don't hate toons.
A film about laid off psychologists who hunt ghosts for a living is, surprisingly, one of the rare near-perfect films in all cinema. As far as comedies go, this is one of the strongest out there. The theme song is only half of what is memorable about the movie.
Good: First off, there's a lot of quotable lines in here from "That's a really big twinkie" to "There is no Dana, only zule". The humor is all situational in this way and never does it come off forced, and it's well acted. Akroyd, Ramis, and Murray all lend their efforts to make this as serious a film as it could ever be. The effects are also nice, in that they've been upgraded for sure by now but much like Back to the Future they still look good. It's a simple plot of trying to capture ghosts before they supernaturally terrorize the city which is tied together very well.
Bad: I honestly have no problems with this movie at all. It might not be for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it.
Review: Ghostbusters is a classic, case and point. There's really no need to say anything else.
'The Lake House' seemed like such a cool idea when I first saw the trailer in my youth. A couple two years apart able to communicate? That sounds like a great time travel flick. A personal favorite genre of mine is one of time travel, and I rented this movie to be able to bask in that pleasure. Unfortunately, the film was incredibly weak and did not at all live up to my expectations. The story is about a doctor played by Sandra Bullock and a guy who used to live at her very same lake house played by Keanu Reeves. They are able to communicate through the mailbox of the house though one lives in 2004 and the other 2006. Honestly, I thought this was going to go into a lot of detail as to how these two could have contact when they live in separate times. Granted only two years, but it seemed a lot more unique. But what you see in the trailer is what you get. They just somehow send letters to each other, and of course wind up together in the end. I think this is what a lot of people think of when they think of the boring, cliched chick flick. The plot is not very well developed, the characters are recycled at best and fail to grab your interest and most of it is played through sentimentality and romantic lines straight out of a Hallmark card. There's some charm to the romance, but you never know how it all makes sense. Can't she just tell him where she will be two years from his time, and then that day they will meet, have a date, and then have a normal relationship? They try to do that, but then there's too many complications and honestly too many filler scenes. And it especially lets me down because I like both of these actors and to see them flop like this, I am just horribly disappointed. Unless you're an avid fan of chick flicks, don't bother seeing this one. Unless you can somehow rent it without paying any money.
The Avengers films have made quite a name for themselves, making lot of money and wowing audiences everywhere. And Winter Soldier does just that. Most of the time. While it isn't my favorite of the Avengers series, it's still a pretty recommendable movie. The story follows Captain America, or so it seems, after he is unfrozen and trying to cooperate with society years later. The majority of the first half of the story focuses on Nicholas J. Fury who is the head of this agency called SHIELD that Captain America works for. He is shot by the Winter Soldier, the main antagonist. And I don't know, he just had a lot of screen time. However, where the film picks up is when the Winter Solider appears. This is a GREAT Marvel villain. So many things are flung at him, but yet nothing defeats him. Plus his design is so mysterious. There's also a backstory to where he is Buckey Barnes, Steve Rogers old Army colleague, that is presumed to be dead. I'm sort of partial against this film. Don't get me wrong, it's good with great moments. However, Captain America is my favorite Avenger and I adored the original Captain America film. The plot and pace just seemed a little too fast, and like I said there's not enough focus on Captain America early. I would have loved to see more of how he coped with living in the present world, especially visiting his old 1940's flame in her old age. That's a scene that only lasts a few minutes, and it could have been longer and deeper. A lot of the movie was focused on the side characters, and their attempt to save SHIELD from destruction. Again, they are great. Scarlett Johanssen as the Black Widow is always fun to watch and surprisingly attractive. Fury isn't the best character but he's pretty good. He has a backstory that we really don't know, but we feel for him since he is the first victim. And like I said, the villain is really strong. So overall, I do like it and recommend it. It's not my favorite Avengers film, but it's good. At some points, even really good. It's a visually stunning, well acted, and decently written film to start off what is sure to be an explosive year for the movies.
Well, it's not a bad movie, but I didn't really buy into the hype about "Dances with Wolves". It could be entertaining, but it could have been more so. It was decently acted, but it could have had a better draw. Diving right into the story, it follows Lt. John Dunbar, a Civil War soldier who goes on an adventure in the deserted wilderness inhabited by Sioux Indians. When they first meet, there is hostility, of course, over race-related issues. The indians fear that the white man is coming and Dunbar warns them about it. All while being welcomed into their tribe, falling in love with a white woman known as Stands with a Fist, and developing a relationship with nature.
All right, a couple of problems right off the bat. This story is absolutely nothing new, I've seen it before. Hollywood's inability to tell a fleshed out well-developed story revolving around race is surprising. It's always the innocent tribe and the greedy white man wanting to take over. There's no real explanation to this, only because they look different they are natural enemies. I'm sure actual historical accounts of this had a deeper meaning, but like other films that do this, it's just "They look different, so we don't like them". Second, Costner isn't bad, but his character isn't really that interesting. I'll get to the positives later, but he just seems sort of bland and a big chunk of the movie is just hearing him write in his diary with not so memorable lines. The third thing I want to bring up is that the film is much too long. And it's rare that I say that because it's just how movies work. It takes a while for the plot, scenery, and characters to fully come into place while also being entertaining. But is there really any need to make this 3 hours long? It's a pretty simple story with most of the characters not having that much intrigue, it could have been at least a little shorter. On top of that, it really had nothing to do with the Civil War, which to me was a disappointment.
Now onto the positive aspects, one character that is interesting is Stands With a Fist. The film should really be about her, she's the one with a tragic back story of losing her family and being raised by the tribe. And her existing in the Sioux world creates more drama between the two opposing sides. She's more interesting than the typical pretty girl love interest that is usually in these movies. Next, when the story does revolve around the survival of the Sioux tribe, it gets to be interesting. The scene in particular when they hunt the buffalo is fun to watch, and the insight to a lot of the other cultural rituals they have can look great too. Another notable scene is where Dunbar, or Dances with Wolves, dances around the fire earning him his nickname as the wolf Twosocks comes up. That's one symbolism I got into was his relationship with the wolf, which did point back to the rivalry that the film was about in symbolizing how best to handle the enemy. But those scenes were still entertaining.
It's not great, it's not terrible, it's just okay. I just really wanted to like this film more than I did, and for me it was kind of a mixed bag.