Friday, August 8, 2014

Noah - Bible Story Turned over to Hollywood

Before watching this movie, the only thing that I knew was that Noah was based on a story from the Bible about Noah's ark that I'm not too familiar with.

Loved the intensity, that's for sure.

Noah tells the story of Noah, played by Russell Crowe, a man believing the idea of a great flood to wipe the face of humanity from earth by none other than a mystical being called The Creator. He brings his family along the journey to save themselves from this purported idea that crept into his sleep one night.

What an amazing cast first off. Well sort of yes. Sort of no. After watching this entire movie, I felt like we needed more of the actors like Russell Crowe and Emma Watson and Anthony Hopkins. However, I wasn't too sure why Logan Lerman was there; I mean, anyone could have played the role that Logan Lerman was trying for.

As I said before, the intensity was definitely felt. There were some moments were I could not believe the state of mind that these characters needed to be in to successfully pull off. We hated and questions characters for their morals and beliefs and rooted for people that we felt needed to be rooted for. The success of this movie was conveying the need for the main plot that drove the whole story.

That's pretty much it. All of the other subplots and things were pretty much bull. Surely, I did like the whole visualization that the movie had, but really. Ham's, played by Logan Lerman, thing that he tried to construe as betrayal was just something out of thin air. The logic behind a lot of these characters was just pushed beyond belief.

The other element, that I'll try not to get into too much, is the whole Biblical message of this movie. I felt like the intensity of this movie really drained out all of the morals that the original story told of. But once again, this movie was basically thought of to be a huge blockbuster with action and adventure instead of a completely accurate portrayal of the ideologies that this story is supposed to bring out.

Did I enjoy this flick? Yes. I definitely enjoyed it. However, I was not entirely satisfied by the end of this movie.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Blended - a Totally Obvious Romantic Comedy That Is Painful to Watch

Before watching this film, I already knew that this era of Adam Sandler would be the worst era ever. I mean, we've literally seen this sort of set-up of a romantic comedy in previous movies with Adam Sandler. I mean, did nobody see Just Go With It?

I have no clue where Adam Sandler's future is going. Stop acting. Please.

Blended tells the story Jim Friedman and Lauren Reynolds, played by Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore respectively, parents from broken homes who try to date each other. Miraculously, their families end up going to South Africa for a "romantic getaway", children and all.

They could not have played this more beautifully. I mean, the way that both of them get together is just too obvious. They could not have made the situation any more perfect for the both of them to take advantage of the romantic getaway, but no. They had to tease a possible rejection and things like that.

This movie is a disappointment to younger Sandler. It is a disappointment to romantic comedies everywhere. This is definitely a cliched romantic comedy in so many ways. We have the flawed teenager Hilary Friedman, played by Bella Thorne, falling for other flawed teenagers with their broken home lives.

I understand what the broken home looks like, but I can guarantee that Adam Sandler made a fool of the whole broken home and made it into this cliche that frankly insults the idea of the broken home.

I admit there were some points where I laughed a bit, but the boundaries were just stretched to a point where some things were plainly not funny after a bit of wasting the same joke over and over.

May humanity never see a random flick with Adam Sandler that is from this decade ever again.

I give this movie a 2/5.

22 Jump Street - the Hilarity of the First One but Better!

Before watching this movie, I watched 21 Jump Street so many times. It was a genuinely funny movie. I love the chemistry between Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. It's hilarious. I couldn't get enough of it.

And I can't believe I waited so long before seeing this one.

22 Jump Street tells the story of Morton Schmidt and Greg Jenko, played by Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum respectively, tackling on the new assignment given to them by Captain Dickson, played by Ice Cube, of going to college and cracking down on the new synthetic drug called WHY PHY that students are getting exposed to.

The one thing that this movie does a very good job of is the recurring jokes. The first of many of these jokes is the whole idea that the same plot from the first movie will be the same plot of this movie, which is what I imagine many people anticipated off of a Jump Street sequel. I mean, they pushed this joke so far up until the very end of this one (I'll stop talking about this now because of potential spoilers).

Anyway, as I said before, there is some really good chemistry between the two stars of the film, especially considering their positions in 21 Jump Street. Not saying that it is a must to see 21 Jump Street to watch this film, but I'm pretty sure a vast majority of viewers did see the first then see this one, of course.

Yes. Familiar faces, new faces, same situations. This all plays a role in the comedic element of this movie. This was definitely a bit more explosive than the previous film in terms of location and action elements, but I believe that that explosive nature further escalated the respect that I have for this film in particular.

I would love to relive this experience over and over and think back to the first movie a bit as well. Even the minor details that I started to doubt about this movie were addressed.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Other Woman - I Only Liked The Other Woman...No, The Other Other Woman....

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that Nicki Minaj was going to be in this movie. Pretty much.

To be honest, Nicki Minaj did better than some of the other actresses in this movie.

The Other Woman tells the story of Carly Whitten, played by Cameron Diaz, a lawyer who falls in love with Mark King, played by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. However, Carly finds out that Mark is married to Kate King, played by Leslie Mann. Then, the two women go on an adventure to get back at Mark.

The comedy in this movie was a huge plus. I guess that's the only real plus in this movie. From the drunken scenes to the comments about age affecting women, a lot of the comedy in this movie got me laughing at loud. The team of Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann really did work together.

Now: for the criticism.

Kate Upton is only there in the movie for the boobs pretty much. A lot of us guys loved seeing Kate Upton when she came out, primarily because she is Kate Upton. Not for any real acting role that she may or may not have had in this movie.

Similarly, Nicki Minaj was kind of annoying at times, but I felt like she played her role, probably better than Kate Upton did as an actress.

The whole plot was both interesting and hollow. I could see why the mistress and the wife would team up. It seemed interesting to me how that would work out. However, I do notice the hollowness in these characters. For example, Kate's brother having a thing for Carly is definitely not appealing, given that she slept with Mark. Also, it seems too simple how this whole team of people gather up with their main agenda to target Mark.

The Other Woman is definitely a good laugh but nothing past that.

I give this movie a 3/5.

Guardians of the Galaxy - Best Phase 2 Movie

Before watching this movie, I was so pumped about watching this movie. I knew that it would hit theaters with a bang, and I wanted to make sure that I was there to witness it all.

And thanks goodness that I did.

The Guardians of the Galaxy tells the story of Star-Lord/Peter Quill, played by Chris Pratt, a young fellow who ventures off the face of Earth into the far galaxy beyond as a thief, trading in artifacts for money. Through an array of other subplots, the other members battle each other until all of them are transported to a maximum security prison and decide to work together.

The one thing that was great about this movie, right off the bat, was the humor. From the metaphors that we all know and love taken literally by other-worldly creatures and the references to pop culture that Star-Lord drops on the team, every comedic element worked in the movie. Rocket Raccoon definitely steals the show with his humor that seems to reciprocate Star-Lord's.

I seriously loved the entire soundtrack to the movie (AKA. Awesome Mix Vol. 1). It was interesting to see music from the 70s adding to a very spacial setting that Guardians of the Galaxy is.

The action is really fast-paced as well. There was not one moment that bored me when it came to the intense action scenes that Guardians of the Galaxy showed.

Now for the criticism part...

Drax the Destroyer was okay, but I feel like I didn't really feel sorry for his back-story, per say. His humor is spot on through how nonchalant and vicious he is, but I feel that there lacks this certain amount of emotion there. Similarly, the villain plays second potato to Thanos. I did feel that he was evil in the beginning, but he turned out to be more of a cookie cutter villain than anything else.

Other than this, I can safely say that this movie is something that I would treasure and love for a very long time.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

American Psycho - The Psycho Within Us All

Before watching this movie, I had no idea what this movie was about. It was just another suggestion for me to watch on Netflix.

Terrifying and intriguing. American Psycho really does something special with its themes.

American Psycho tells the story of Patrick Bateman, played by Christian Bale, a businessman with a tendency to want things in certain ways with no one in his way, basically the American Psycho. I couldn't really see a lot of clear-cut antagonists in the film. I guess Patrick himself was Patrick's enemy, not to mention the craziness of the people that he's had to endure.

The opening scene features the handling of some food on a platter as the opening credits roll out onto the gorgeous scene of a fancy eatery. In this eatery are Patrick Bateman and his closest associates.

I guess the opening showed the audience the stylish life that comes along with Patrick and people in his field. We don't really get a sense of Patrick being a psycho; instead, we get the sense that Patrick is just an ordinary guy like everyone else. It isn't until later on that we discover Patrick's mannerisms and actions that we start to become skeptical of this character that Patrick Bateman is becoming.

I didn't get this film at first. I didn't get this film until Patrick himself brought me to clarity in the end. And once I saw what the theme was, I couldn't unsee it. It's not so much of a big secret, but the idea is that everyone has this sort of facade that they have to cover the reality behind that mask. Though this is clearly shown with Patrick Bateman, many other of these business tycoons and Patrick's victims have a clear facade within them.

I actually might end up watching this movie again just to get a sense of the thought-provoking ideas that Patrick brings up. It's something to think about, that's for sure.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Maleficent - Villain's Logic Makes Sense

Before watching this movie, there was so much hype about it in commercials on TV, so I had to see it with the little ones.

Exceeded my expectations. No lie.

Maleficent tells the story of Maleficent, played by Angelina Jolie, a fairy caught up in a conflict between two kingdoms in the land. She falls in love with a human named Stefan, played by Sharito Copley, only to find that later on Stefan betrays her. Maleficent takes it upon herself to put a curse on King Stefan's daughter Aurora, played by Elle Fanning, in vengeance.

The opening scene features Maleficent's voice over explanation to the conflict between the two kingdoms and her place in her kingdom. I have to say that Disney is doing a great job with the CGI backgrounds. All of the art that is the awesome live action beauty of Maleficent must be appreciated first off.

Disney did something that I saw them and Pixar do with Up. I saw them take the audience through a range of emotions in the first ten minutes of the film, tearing on our heart strings to make this movie memorable. After that, however, there are fewer and fewer moments that are as valuable as those first couple of minutes.

I liked Maleficent as a character. The mystery and majestic nature that she evokes in her younger years. The way that she rose to become a vengeful villain in the eyes of the other kingdom. Maleficent is a force to be reckoned with.

I have to say that the only thing that I didn't like so much about this movie was the spontaneity. But once again, Disney is famous for having the most spontaneous moments to introduce a plot twist. I like when Disney is trying to get emotions across. Disney does a good job of that. However, Disney should not make moments so spontaneous. I mean, look what Disney did with Frozen.

Overall, the movie is really fun to follow and is a must-see until the very end.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

About Last Night - Golden Comedy, Sucky Plot

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that Kevin Hart was in this movie. Of course, I'd want to see this movie because of how funny I think Kevin Hart is.

Well the comedy was on point, but I think that everything else was just so transparent.

About Last Night tells the story of Danny, played by Michael Ealy, a friend of the woman-loving Bernie, played by Kevin Hart, who comes across a woman by the name of Joan, played by Regina Hall. Simultaneously, Danny starts to develop a little something for Joan's friend Debbie, played by Joy Bryant.

The opening scene introduces us to the two guys, Danny and Bernie, each on completely different spectrums of life. While Danny is going through a break-up from a girl so dear to him, Bernie is at the top of his game in terms of women.

I think that the good thing about Bernie being played by Kevin Hart is the exaggeration in the way that he acts. The more that we see Bernie in the movie, the more that we like where the movie is headed. Even though that Bernie is not the main protagonist, we wish he would be.

The entire plot between Danny and Debbie seems so pathetic. I am certain that not a lot of the things about the relationship would stick in the audience's mind. I feel like the back and forth between Bernie and Joan was more entertaining than the placid love interest between Danny and Debbie.

The one thing I liked about the movie was the portrayal of how life converges in many different ways, sometimes not in your favor. However, the movie doesn't really teach anything. It's just a good laugh when Kevin Hart shows up, then everything else is just nothing.

I give this movie a 3/5.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bedtime Stories - Cheesy Humor Is OK Humor

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that Adam Sandler's character worked in a hotel and the bad guy from Iron Man 3 was the bad guy in this movie.

It was pretty cheesy.

Bedtime Stories tells the story of Skeeter Bronson, played by Adam Sandler, a worker at a hotel once promised a bigger role in the functioning of that hotel, taken away by Barry Nottingham, played by Richard Griffiths, and given to Skeeter's rival Kendall Duncan, played by Guy Pearce. Things for Skeeter seem hopeless until he discovers that his nephew Patrick, played by Jonathan Morgan Heit, and Bobbi, played by Laura Ann Kesling, have magical story telling powers that cause anything that happens in the story to happen in real life.

The opening scene features the turning of pages in a story book presented by Skeeter's father Marty Bronson, played by Jonathan Pryce, each page representing the turning of a new story in a new place. This scene shows that although the story about to be told is told in real life, imagination can run wild in the mind.

I guess Disney tried to do the thing here where imagination outweighs the hardships of real life, just like in a lot of other movies that Disney makes.

However, this is the story of real life versus imagination and many of the things that occur for Skeeter should not actually occur. I get the spontaneous nature of children's films, but in my perspective, this movie should not be considered to be one that I would watch again.

Adam Sandler tries to deliver his humor in the way that he would in any other movie, but I feel that Adam Sandler sucks in terms of his humor if he doesn't curse. Really. Adam Sandler doesn't really function in children's flicks.

Once again, I can see where Disney was trying to go, but a lot of the good Disney movies occur because of the character doing things for themselves whereas others do things for the main character. That's why Frozen is better than this movie. That's why Cars is better than this movie. That's why Pirates of the Caribbean, possibly Enchanted is better than this movie.

I was expecting a bit more from Adam Sandler in this movie.

I give this movie a 3/5.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Silence of the Lambs - Pieces Connected = A Whole

Before watching this movie, I found out that Jonathan Demme was the director of this film, once again a film from the director's project that our class had to do.

Never knew that Anthony Hopkins has an acting career before.

The Silence of the Lambs tells the story of Clarice Starling, played by Jodie Foster, an FBI agent who must deal with Hannibal Lecter, played by Anthony Hopkins, in order to solve the case of Buffalo Bill, relating to the heinous murders of several women.

The one thing I especially like about this movie is the use of symbolism to really get the audience on their feet. We have to be investigators in a way as well, almost helping Clarice to get to her ultimate goal: to crack the case and figure out the riddles that Hannibal Lecter is feeding her.

The opening scene features Clarice Starling going through a course in the FBI, giving the idea that she is already being pushed to go through a journey that she must climb over.

Clarice is a sort of character that seems to have a strong feminist presence in the film, clothing separated from every other FBI agent training alongside her in the opening shot. Already off the bat, Clarice appears to be independent and apart from everyone else.

Clarice has to go toe to toe with Hannibal Lecter in a mental game of chess in order to get any sort of information about Buffalo Bill. Even with Hannibal taking stabs at the new sort of bait before him, Clarice responds with a mind willing to combat that of Hannibal Lecter.

A key lesson that this movie teaches is that although pieces of the whole don't seem to make sense when seen as pieces, the conjoining of those pieces causes a realization of what to do. Hannibal Lecter never tells Clarice exactly what she wants to hear. She has to put things together in her mind in order for those subtle clues to make sense, and that is what makes this movie powerful.

Every single moment of this film was motivation for me to watch more.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

What's Eating Gilbert Grape - Powerful Film About Family

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio were in this movie together.

What's Eating Gilbert Grape tells the story of the Grape family in a small town world, where

The opening scene features Arnie Grape trapped in his own little world under the shadow of a tree with Gilbert Grape under it. Arnie gets excited when a team of vehicles comes up over the horizon, and Gilbert tries to keep Arnie under control. There is a really close-knit relationship between Arnie and Gilbert, brotherly and almost fatherly. Arnie could be having a good time then crying the next, but Gilbert is under control. This sort of juxtaposition of characters doesn't seem compatible, but they love each other like any set of siblings would.

I guess that divides are a big deal. The divide between the little sister and the brothers. The divide between Food Town and the small shop where Gilbert works. The divide between Gilbert and Ken Carver, played by Kevin Tighe.

The symbols and foreshadowing of certain things doesn't really sit well. There are looming things that happen around Arnie: the hearse the cricket: that mean that death is near, but we just don't know exactly when. I guess this isn't a spoiler since 5 minutes in, Gilbert tells you that sooner or later Arnie will die, but I guess the anticipation of this death is what drives the movie.

Arnie has this routine mindset of getting himself in trouble because of his condition that forces Gilbert into a more fatherly role. Gilbert gets really defensive whenever someone tries to pick on Arnie. The connection between Gilbert and Arnie makes me wonder about how their relationship will change throughout the movie.

After watching the movie, I have to say that this movie surprised me by the turn that it was taking. It's really powerful. Really emotional. Intense. I love this movie. It's great.

Everything from the character development to the symbols really got me in the end. I feel that you have to see the entire movie to feel the sense of closure. There is so many things that hit in the end that truly make this a cinematic masterpiece.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn - Can the UNSC Be Trusted?

Before watching this movie, I knew that the brother of Grace Helbig, a famous YouTuber, had something to do with this film.

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn tells the story of Thomas Lansky, played by Tom Green, a freshman cadet at Corbulo Academy who is portrayed as a sort of rebel, against the idea of structure and deemed to be one of the troublesome cadets in the squad.

The opening scene features a run-down of all of the cadets working to win a war against a people known as the Isolationists. They all have different viewpoints of the military academy and their mission, each aware that they must be in a clear mindset ready to kill. I feel that this movie already gives a feel as to a divide between the squad.

I feel like Tom's character is someone we can really root for. The conflicted cadet who is torn between following the norm and achieving success by his own means. We feel sorry for Thomas Lansky who has to endure the struggles of being a cadet, shamed by his own fellow peers. However, we congratulate Thomas for his efforts at achieving success.

This movie reminds me of Ender's Game, a sci-fi story of Ender Wiggins who goes off to Battle School to fight off the aliens in the upcoming war. I am excited to see what turns this movie takes to further interest me in this world of space cadets fighting for a better tomorrow.

The whole ambiguity of duplicity is what drives this movie. With each secret that is unlocked for us, the more questioning we are of how the academy runs and what sorts of true conflicts exist between the Isolationists and the UNSC.

Having seen everything, all I got to say is wow. Nearing the end, I felt a shroud of doubt that the movie could go beyond the whole idea of the ambiguous common enemy. But I felt like it was a pretty good movie. A good sense of closure.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Drinking Buddies - Anticipation Sucks

I knew absolutely nothing about this movie.

The opening scenes introduces us to Kate, played by Olivia Wilde, a young woman who works at a brewery, alongside Luke, played by Jake Johnson, constantly hanging out together and going out for drinks. The workers all seem to love each other, both while working and while hanging out. However, Jill, played by Anna Kendrick, and Chris, played by Ron Livingston, seem oblivious to the fun in the world that Kate and Luke share both at work and at the bar.

Already off the bat, I can tell that the conflict will occur between the relationships of Luke and Jill and Kate and Chris. There is this disconnect in each of their relationships that seems will bring these relationships farther apart, leaving space for a possible new relationship to arise.

Within minutes of the group of buddies meeting each other, I could already tell that Luke and Kate tended to be the pair of people I would consider to be the funnest together and that Chris and Jill seem to be a bit more bland but together in their own blandness. Parts of me just want this sort of switch to just happen, but the chemistry between the characters is there. I like this movie somewhat already.

The anticipation of what Kate and Luke will do is too much. I feel that the movie has put forth too much running time to not even present the idea of Kate and Luke being together. Each of them still look at each other in a sort of brother and sister vibe, but really, we are all waiting for a kiss or something.

This story seems to basic and not full of life. I would root for Kate and Luke to get together, but there isn't a lot of instances where I'd say that they need to be together. I wish that the characters would be a bit more vivid that they appear.

After everything that has happened happened, all I have to say to close out this review is that the film does a good job of portraying something fun with little detail, but it is not something that I would watch over and over again.

I give this movie a 3/5.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off - Every Teen Should Watch This

Before watching this movie, I saw the Super Bowl commercial featuring Matthew Broderick skipping out from his travel agent. I personally didn't get the joke, but my parents did and suggested that I watch the movie from their childhood.

It was pretty cool. One of my favorite movies.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off tells the story of Ferris Bueller, played by Matthew Broderick, a young boy in his senior year of high school who decides to fake his sickness in order to skip school with his buddies Cameron Frye, played by Alan Ruck, and Sloane Peterson, played by Mia Sara. Together they have fun in the city of Chicago, free from responsibility and school.

I felt like each character was there for a reason as opposed to a lot of the other teen movies that I see. Ferris Bueller, the protagonist, becomes this inspiring and witty teen who convinces people that life should be lived to its fullest because life goes by fast, as he says in his quote, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

The thing about this is that you don't really know the characters until Ferris explains them to you. Of course, we can already get a feel for who the characters are based on how they act in their various situations. However, Ferris gives a clear cut image of who that person is and explains their situation in very direct and vivid detail.

Whether it is Cameron, who suffers from a dysfunction life in his family, or Sloane, who feels sad that Ferris will be gone off to college while she has to stay behind the gates of school, Ferris does a great job establishing pathos within us for each and every character.

We root on Ferris as he goes through the city with his best friend and his girlfriend. We see that the entire city encourages the well-being of Ferris, often times leaving flowers for Ferris on the Bueller's doorstep and even leaving phone calls.

I guess the big take away from this movie would be this idea of living in the moment. No matter how cheesy it is, I feel that this movie does a good job of sticking to the moment rather than worrying about the consequences all the time.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Boyz n the Hood - Impacting Movie I Barely Discovered

I hardly knew a thing about this movie until some of my friends and I, as a part of that director's project, decided to watch this one movie.

Wow. I can understand why it was so impacting for them.

Boyz n the Hood tells the story of Tre Styles, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr, a boy who lives with his father Furious Styles, played by Larry Fishburne, in a hood of California. Furious teaches Tre that although his friends may be experiencing the troubles and struggles of the hood, Tre should not succumb to the temptations of the hood because it will backfire on him.

I felt that the authoritative nature of Furious Styles convinces us that he will be the sort of wise man of the movie. Although cliched, we do believe it because of Furious' direct and eloquent speech.

Tre Styles is, respectively, a good serving apprentice, hoping that some of the knowledge bursting from Furious can rub off of him in a way. Tre gets himself into situations where temptations are all around him. While everyone else gets their story of their interactions with these temptations, Tre struggles to keep himself under his own leash to fully indulge himself in these temptations.

Everything in this film is justified in terms of John Singleton's choices. We do see a better future over Furious Styles' head as he speaks out against the people who essentially placed blacks in ghettos in California. We see the stop sign at the beginning, being warned that this story is raw and life-changing. We see the split path that Tre Styles and Ricky Baker, played by Morris Chestnut, are each on.

Boyz n the Hood is definitely a film that I would see over and over again. John Singleton deserves the attention that he gets from this movie. Not only is this genuinely a good movie in terms of the various emotions that we feel from the situations in this movie, but the movie does a very good job of portraying the idea of choices and how the wrong choices, no matter how appealing, can cause a falling spiral staircase to appear.

I give this movie a 5/5.

X-Men: Days of Future Past - Rift In The Franchise Plot

I've seen the majority of the films from this franchise and know what happens to each of the characters from this franchise. I know that X3 and X-Men Origins screwed everything out of whack, but I did like The Wolverine.

The major problem with this film is the whole line that this movie crossed out for the sake of the franchise.

X-Men: Days of Future Past tells the story of a future where mutants are hunted by sentinels, robots that attack mutants, based off of the DNA of Raven/Mystique, played by Jennifer Lawrence. With the unlikely combination of the latter Professor Xavier and Magneto, played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen respectively, Logan/Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, must travel back in time to a time before the capture of Raven/Mystique to prevent the sentinels to ever attack mutants in the first place.

The cast was phenomenal. Of course, Jennifer Lawrence was amazing with her acting here, but I did prefer her acting in First Class than this one. She really can pull off this sort of murderous villain bent on the ideals of the earlier Erik Lehnsherr, played by Michael Fassbender.

Hugh Jackman of course was great as he always is in the X-Men movies. I felt there was a good balance between Wolverine and the X-Men in terms of the point of view. There was no skew, and I felt that everything looked good overall.

The action was great. I mean, this could have been the best X-Men movie, but one thing really changed my opinion of that.

I may have said too much, but there is something about the second half of this movie that caused me to think that the X-Men that we know is not the X-Men that we know now. I really did like the action and the power of the first half of the film, and I felt that if Bryan Singer would have followed the direction where the movie was going, it would have turned out great.

The theme of the middle of the movie was hope, provided by Professor Xavier in the future talking to Charles Xavier, played by James McAvoy, of the past. I loved that part because of Xavier's tying in of hope to be the basis of civilization and revitalization. But I guess it wasn't enough whenever the film took a drastic turn in the franchise's plot.

I really want to say 5.


I give this movie a 3/5.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Kick-Ass 2 - Ahh! Violence = Wow.

Before watching this movie, of course I watched the first Kick-Ass. That was pretty nuts.

Just as much intensity. I think both are pretty fun movies.

Kick-Ass 2 tells the story of David Lizewski/Kick-Ass, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, a teenage boy who gets caught up in the crazy life of superheroes alongside Mindy Macready/Hit-Girl, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. While David wants to look for a sort of alliance among superheroes, Mindy wishes to live an ordinary life as a high school teen.

The opening scene features Mindy back at it with David, shooting him down, testing a bulletproof vest in the same fashion that Big Daddy, played by Nicholas Cage in the first film, did with Mindy. Of course, this is when we all get excited that the duo is back in the superhero business, with multiple training techniques and such.

The one thing I didn't like is how they dropped the whole story-line with David and his girlfriend, but hey I did like how they picked up other possible love interests for David to tackle on. Miranda Swedlow/Night-Bitch, played by Lindy Booth, was an interesting love interest.

Of course, the one thing that I didn't like was that David's friends had to be involved with the whole hero frenzy, but I guess I kind of accepted that as well.

I liked all the new superheroes like Doctor Gravity, played by Donald Faison, and Colonel Stars and Stripes, played by Jim Carrey. I was expecting more of a leadership conflict between Colonel Stars and Stripes and Kick-Ass, but I felt like the story-line was alright enough.

The good thing that this movie had that the first movie didn't was more of an emotional tie to characters. I felt like the characters in the first film were really solid in a lot of parts while this movie made you feel like the characters were real in a sense: more human.

The action was great. The actors are awesome. It was just as explosive as the first Kick-Ass was. The humor was on point. I was expecting it to be worse, but it turned out pretty good.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Stealing Harvard - Stupid But Ok

I knew absolutely nothing about this movie.

Stealing Harvard tells the story of John, played by Jason Lee, an average guy who gets himself into an economic conflict when he wants to satisfy both Elaine, played by Leslie Mann, in the purchase of their new home and Noreen, played by Tammy Blanchard, a young teen whose acceptance to Harvard University means John's payment for her to go.

The opening scene fades into an outline of the human body into the heart, meaning that this story comes from John's heart in a sort of way. John starts going off about fate and destiny and how he didn't believe those things happened until something in his life turned his thoughts around. He appears to be going to the horse races alone, looking ahead towards a sort of new-found destiny.

Already, the conflicts seem too exaggerated. The faces too much on the smiles. The exaggeration all to exaggerated. The movie tries to be funny when it really isn't. We do start to see the conflict mess John up in a sort of way, but it could be too much, even for a comedy.

So stupid. So cheesy. Too much. Ugh. The stupidity!

Everything from Duff's, played by Tom Green, character to the mirror scenes to Mr. Warner, played by Dennis Farina, is utterly stupid. I cannot believe I'm watching such a stupid movie. I laughed maybe 2 times out of all the stupid jokes that the movie had.

The one thing I do agree with is this theme of truth. That's the only thing. Of course, you shouldn't hide things that are important from other people, but sheesh. Such a stupid movie. Ugh. I thought that maybe someway: this movie could turn itself around. It just got spoiled more and more throughout the movie.

Okay. The end is pretty hilarious, but I feel like overall the movie is just a joke.

I give this movie a 3/5.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Thanks For Sharing - Addiction = Terrifying

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that Marvel characters Hulk and Pepper would be making out in this movie, which is interesting given that Iron Man and Hulk are sort of sharing the same girl.

Thanks For Sharing tells the story of three main characters all having come into contact with a sort of sex addiction. Adam, played by Mark Ruffalo, a man who has gone off sex addiction for quite some time trying to find a date, Mike, played by Tim Robbins, an older man also off sex addiction who is dealing with family struggles at home, and lastly Neil, played by Josh Gad, a younger man who still struggles with sex addiction and lies to the program that he needs to get off court regulations.

Right off the bat, I think that this whole sex addiction thing is sort of believable in the sense that it virtually could be any addiction. Watching the trailer, I thought that this sort of thing was a joke, but I believe because of the emotions that mainly Adam and Dede, played by Alecia Moore, convey through their actions.

Progressing through the movie, we see how each of these situations change, more relationships causing more feelings between the three. We start to see Mike's situation get better when family collides with influence. We start to notice Adam's progression in his relationship with Phoebe, played by Gwyneth Paltrow. Plus, we start to see Neil seeking a sort of haven with the group.

The story starts to seem less about the whole sex addiction thing and more about addiction in general. How gruesome the addiction can take over people and force them to tick. I feel like there is a lot of imagery about the burst of something. The music as Neil is heading to the support group. Adam being secluded in his room with the need of the removal of the TV, refraining from telling Phoebe about his addiction. Also Mike's constant back and forth with his son Danny, played by Patrick Fugit.

I really like Tim Robbins' character Mike, the man who knows all and is one because of his experience behind almost everything. He is the savior for all of the addicts that he comes into contact with every day, the main pipeline between Adam. He is the wise one who gets caught up in this serenity of a newly-formed family.

One of the wisest things I've heard about addictions is that to get rid of one habit, you have to adopt a new habit in order to rid yourself of that latter habit. I think that this is clearly shown in this film, that Adam needs Phoebe to make sure he can regulate his sex life in the way that he likes, Neil needs Dede in order to build a friendship that he can finally be proud of, and Mike needs his son in order to build a relationship and finally be at peace.

The tensions feel real in the movie. When circles come into contact with other circles, things can get pretty tense. I feel like the only safe havens can happen when everything is in order; when this order is out of whack, that is when the tensions begin to escalate.

On the flip side, I do have to say that the character that Neil is is very static. I mean, I feel that he's only in this movie for that sort of comedic element. While the other conflicts may be occuring, there is some happiness on Neil's side. This sort of drama element tries to be in contrast with the comedic element, which sometimes isn't appropriate for the sake of the movie.

I have to say that Mark Ruffalo does not express a true emotion in my eyes. Even when his conflict goes off the fritz, it seems that Mark Ruffalo looks like the same Mark Ruffalo, minus the music and dark shades of clothing. That imagery towards the ending regarding Mark Ruffalo doesn't hit home like I'd like it to.

All in all, this movie makes you feel good. It's not exactly the best movie of all time, but it's a good place for the director to start.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Four Brothers - Suspenseful Action Movie with Emotional Ties

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that John Singleton directed this movie. We're doing this director's project with my English teacher, so our group chose John Singleton, director of this movie and Boyz N' the Hood and others.

Never thought I'd like this sort of lost gem.

Four Brothers tells the story of the Mercer brothers: Bobby Mercer, played by Mark Wahlberg, Angel Mercer, played by Tyrese Gibson, Jeremiah Mercer, played by Andre Benjamin, and Jack Mercer, played by Garrett Hedlund all trying to find out what happened in the tragic murder of their mother Evelyn Mercer, played by Fionnula Flanagan.

Throughout the movie we mourn, laugh and live through the same perspective as the four brothers. We see a number of conflicts that occur within the brothers' scope of life. Detective Green, played by Terrence Howard, tries to catch up skeptically with the brothers and their actions throughout the movie, cutting them off when the brothers try to play detective. Jeremiah, from the beginning, already starts to distance himself from the other brothers, indicating a divide from the rest. Even the characters Sofi, played by Sofia Vergada, and Camille Mercer, played by Taraji P Henson, have their supporting roles exemplified by these conflicts.

The cold blood sensations of the movie are illustrated by the amazing snowy Detroit, further freezing us into our seats. All of the decisions played out from the torn down church to the apparitions of Evelyn Mercer to Evelyn Mercer's house all bring us further and further into the plot the way we want.

Victor Sweet, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, and his ring seem truly fearsome, especially with their intimidating nature in the sweetest of places. Vic is the main antagonist of the film, going toe to toe over a curtain against the four brothers. Trying to keep in the background, the four brothers inch closer and closer to the truth, tearing down this curtain.

The things that I didn't like about Four Brothers was how static the characters seem to be. They all seem to go back to their original ways. Bobby still is violent and impulsive. Angel still tries to trick his way out of situations. There seems to be little to no way that the Mercers are even remotely changed.

Also, the whole confrontation at the end seemed anticlimactic considering that we know what was going to happen and who will win. I feel like a movie that cuts off suspense at the end isn't really something that would truly hit home.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Vertigo - Bad Detective; Interesting Plot Twists

Before watching this movie, my English teacher warned us that this movie would change our lives (not as much as I think that The Fault in Our Stars will change my life, but that's beside the point).

Well I did like the recurring motifs; plus, I felt like the ending sort of needed to happen for the sake of the plot.

Vertigo tells the story of John Ferguson, played by James Stewart, an ex-detective who suffers from acrophobia assigned to tackle on a case concerning his old friend Gavin Elster, played by Tom Helmore, and his wife Madeleine Elster's, played by Kim Novak, psychological condition.

The one thing that I did not like was the plot holes that the movie had. For one, it is so obvious that John is following Madeleine to the point where it is ridiculous that she does not see him. The other thing about this character is that we see him to be a bit more creepier with his tone that he needs to be. There are instances where we are not supposed to laugh but we do because of the way this actor acts.

Then again, given that this is an old movie, I can't say that the humor of the time period shouldn't affect my review of the film too much.

Furthermore, the movie seemed to drag on a lot because of certain emotions needing to be conveyed for some reason. Some scenes could have been shortened on the account of how long the entire film was.

Once again, the movie could have been designed that way because of the norm of the time period. For right now, teens will probably not like the length of the movie because of how it stings along.

Also, there wasn't a lot of development with Midge Wood, played by Barbara Bel Geddes. I mean I did like the character and her attitudes, but I think that she could have been crucial to the plot than she appeared to be.

Other than this, all I have to say is that the metaphors and the motifs are on point. The necklace. The clothing. The portrait. It all seems believable up until the plot twist. And even the plot twist was surprising. I wasn't expecting it, but I think that movies that give me a surprise are good movies.

The ending was necessary. I'm not sure what my peers thought of the movie, but I think that the ending was the best way to wrap up the movie. I would not have been satisfied with anything else now that I think about it.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

As I Lay Dying - Family Caught In Whirlwind

I read the novel by William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying, and my teacher insisted that this movie was worth absolutely nothing. He wasn't too clear, so I decided to watch it myself.

I can see why some things may be confusing or bad about this movie, but it wasn't too bad.

As I Lay Dying tells the story of the Bundren family preparing for Addie Bundren, played by Beth Grant, to die. Anse Bundren, played by Tim Blake Nelson, motions the family to go to Jefferson, the place where Addie Bundren came from, in order to fulfill their mother's wish. 

As I Lay Dying was a work that William Faulkner declared was a tour-de-force, in the sense that it would require countless revisions to finally produce a work of such caliber. The novel uses a grand amount of narrators from which the story takes place, driving the narrator to take in so many narrators to paint out the puzzle of the story. 

James Franco, both the director and the actor that plays Darl Bundren, sought out to do the exact same thing, converting the novel into a film. 

As a reader, I do appreciate the use of the many symbols that the novel has translated into the movie. All of the quotes that spell directly verbatim into the movie caused me to feel a sense of nostalgia when I was first reading the novel. 

However, as a movie-goer, I did see that there were many instances where some things did not correlate or I was expecting something more. For example, the buzzards were not as exaggerated as I thought they were. We did get some close ups of buzzards, but I felt that the buzzards were much bigger of a symbol than other things in the movie were. 

Also, I felt like the very last line of the movie should have been a bit more powerful than it was delivered. There were so many powerful things that happened at the end of the movie only to be cut off by this need of more power at the very end. 

The balance between the beginning and the end was a little off. I think that more power could have been given towards the beginning.

Furthermore, the split screen was effective in portraying the difference in perspective of each person, but it was not effective because it was too much visually to take on. I know that some things about the split screen were clear, but a lot of the split screen kind of took away from what was really going on.

In all, As I Lay Dying was not a bad movie, but it could have been a bit more clearer to movie-goers out there. If you really want to tackle on the story behind the movie, just read the novel. Make sure to read the novel then watch the movie.

I give this movie a 3/5.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Don Jon - Porn Maniac's Search For Love

Before watching this movie, I did not know a single thing.

Don Jon's got a lot of sex scenes in it, naturally.

Don Jon tells the story of Jon, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a player in New Jersey who decides that his porn outweighs his women. He tries and tries again to find the perfect woman that would finally surpass porn until he sees the beautiful girl of his dreams, "the perfect 10" named Barbara, played by Scarlet Johansson. Barbara then proceeds to let Jon more and more into her life to the point where Jon has to change the way he is.

Scarlet Johansson is hot in this movie. If you thought the tight things that she wore in the Avengers was arousing, everything that Scarlet Johansson does in this movie just make guys go "Wow. I wish she could kiss me instead of Joseph Gordon-Levitt". The other thing I like about Scarlet Johansson is this different sort of Jersey girl role that I never thought I'd see Scarlet Johansson playing.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt also does a good job in this movie, getting across that Jon loves his little routine that he has and sticks to it strictly.

The one thing I didn't like about the plot was the whole idea towards the end of the movie about getting lost with the person you are with. I just don't like where Jon was going with that one. Him, sleeping with all these girls who are amazing, having to resort to the end of the movie. I'm not sure that sits well with me.

Anyway, Don Jon is a good movie for guys, not sure for girls, mainly because of the appeal of guys to pornography and girls. I feel like the movie took a turn in the end for some feminine realistic perspective at last, but I mean: this movie is really more for the guys out there.

I liked the movie, but not to the point where I'd make this the best movie ever.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Click - Live In The Moment, Don't Fast Forward

I watched this movie as a child, but I did not get a lot of the references that this movie had to offer. Now with teenage eyes, I can see the stupid but funny jokes in Click.

Almost cried again. Wow. Movie stays true to myself.

Click tells the story of Michael Newman, played by Adam Sandler, a man who works hard in an architecture firm and hardly gets any time to spend with his family. Michael then falls upon a Bed, Bath & Beyond to find Morty, played by Christopher Walken, a behind the scenes worker who gives Michael a universal remote that controls life. 

The comedy of this movie was on point. All the times that I was expected to laugh because of a joke, I did. It all seemed really funny because of the recurring images of the next door neighbors and the dog humping the duck and so forth. Everything fit well with this movie.

The other thing that was on point was the time travel complex of Michael controlling his surroundings therefore controlling his life. Michael knew that he was digging himself deeper and deeper into this hole. In truth, no one can go back to the past to solve things. Michael takes the easy way out, and I think that it is shown here that life must be used to every possible limit or else time will slip away.

Time seems to be the ultimate enemy against Michael. Not Morty, not that creep guy from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Time forces Michael into a trap that he cannot get out of. Time is the ultimate factor in all things living. 

This movie really stuck in my mind because of course it seems futuristic, but also because of the truth that time is irreversible. Love it. One of my favorite movies. 

I give this movie a 5/5. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Donnie Darko - Time Travel With Creepy Bunny, Crazy but Goodie

Before watching this movie, I saw parts of this movie at a friend's house and knew somewhat about the bunny at the beginning.

Crazy but goodie. Probably won't watch this again though.

Donnie Darko tells the story of Donnie Darko, played by Jake Gyllenhaal, a teenage boy who experiences late night sleepwalking every single night. He is caught up with a sort of psychological issue with this image of a bunny in a suit talking to him. His family thinks he is crazy, but his family does manage to set up arrangements to meet a psychiatrist. Furthermore, Donnie does not have a lot of friends.

The scenes with the bunny were creepy, but I think that that is what drove the curiosity and thrill from this movie. The whispery voice still makes me get chills. I liked it.

Another element that fit well with the movie was this whole mystery element. I didn't know what to think about the movie since it seemed that bits and pieces of the story kind of scattered itself all throughout the film. However, it was interesting to find out certain things and then finally piece it all together at the end of the film.

The crazy angles and effects that were seen in the movie seemed really out of the ordinary when I first saw them. At the end, I finally realized what it all meant. I did have to look at some articles in the Internet to understand what was happening on a sort of dimensional level.

Although it seems that at a point the film starts to do too much in terms of adding a bunny and the bunny talking about space-time continuum, I think that in order to fully enjoy this movie, you have to wait until the movie is over then understand what the ending means.

In terms of the actors, Jake Gyllenhaal was really great. I felt like Donnie's mother, played by Mary McDonnell, really took on this sort of aggressive yet caring character that I liked. I also like the compatibility that Donnie and Gretchen, played by Jena Malone, sort of gave off as well.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Irony of Fate 2 - Honestly Better Than The First

Before watching this movie, I was excited because I would get to see all my favorite characters from the first Irony of Fate back in action.

Laughed, almost cried, and enjoyed this movie.

The Irony of Fate 2 tells the story of Kostya, played by Konstantin Khabensy, the son of Zhenya, played by Andrey Myagokov, who gets drunk in a bathhouse because of his father's friends, almost replicating the same situation that happens with Zhenya. From there, a similar story-line from the first one takes place in a new way, seeing old characters as well as new ones.

Of course, the one good thing about this movie is the fast-paced sort of plot that takes place. With the original The Irony of Fate, I felt like it took forever to get from one place to another, and The Irony of Fate 2 made it even faster than ever.

The next thing I liked about The Irony of Fate 2 was the character dynamic. I mean, in the first Irony of Fate, one sees that the characters do not seem to change at all. Whereas here, the characters all sort of establish a character dynamic that fits well.

We get excited when we see Zhenya and Ippolit, played by Yuri Yakovlev, because we know that something will go down. We have seen the first Irony of Fate and there lies some unfinished business between the two; the intensity is felt.

I liked the wisdom that Zhenya provided towards the end of the film. I did not like the angle they took the sequel, as if everything that happened in the first Irony of Fate didn't matter. And by the angle, I mean that Zhenya and Nadya, played by Barbara Brylska, are not together!!! However, the way the plot figures itself out from there makes the movie a bit more tolerable to watch.

Wow. Never did I think that I would get riled up with watching this movie's sequel. I need to download that song, "Eсли у вас нету тёти".

I give this movie a 5/5.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Brick Mansions - Unexpected Turns Make An Unexpectedly Good Action Movie

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that Paul Walker was in this movie and that it has to do with him free-running with some other guy.

I liked it. Not my favorite, but it was still good.

Brick Mansions tells the story of Damien Collier, played by Paul Walker, a cop in Detroit who is after a man by the name of Tremaine Alexander, played by RZA, the head of a gang in an abandoned area of Detroit known popularly as Brick Mansions. Damien enlists the help of convict Lino Dupree, played by David Belle, to bring Tremaine to justice.

I liked the back-story that this movie formed behind Damien Collier and his sudden interest in pursuing Tremaine. Even though this was a bit long and draged on for a while, I think it was necessary to understand where Damine Collier is coming from.

In terms of the cast, I liked them. Paul Walker of course still maintains that sort of cop attitude that he has in Fast & Furious, but I felt that everything seemed believable.

Oh wait, except for those actions scenes where Lino pretty much knew every nook and cranny of Brick Mansions. Oh yeah, and those times where Lino jumps over buildings and crashes into windows and Damien comes crashing in after somewhat. The action scenes were a bit too exaggerated, but I think I liked that over-exaggerated.

I liked that usage of Damien Collier's grandfather in the beginning and the end of the movie. It felt like the entire movie was brought home with that one solitary moment.

It's s sort of feel-good movie that features action and philosophy about trust.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Delivery Man - Powerful Comedy

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that it had to do with some guy with hundreds of children. Also that it looked really heart-warming on the surface.

Wow. I almost cried. Almost.

Delivery Man tells the story of David Wozniak, played by Vince Vaughn, a meat delivery truck driver who discovers that his sperm donations of the past have produced 533 children wishing to know who their father is all the while having to juggle work with his father Mikolaj Wozniak, played by Andrzej Blumenfeld, and his pregnant girlfriend Emma, played by Cobie Smulders.

Before I say anything about this film, I am aware that this is a remake. I've commented about past remakes in the past and have been receiving comments about my ignorance of the film being a remake. This is just from my point of view what I think about the film produced without any outside information. I did not see the original movie Starbuck. This is about Delivery Man.

Anyway, I would like to say that the story was beautifully constructed from start to finish. I liked the drama along with the comedy, making it into a sort of tragicomedy, where I would almost want to cry in one scene then laugh my heart out the next. I like when movies sort of play with my emotions. Those are the best kind of movies.

When I thought about Vince Vaughn, I know that the movies that he stars in lately have been really low quality, but compared to this movie, I am convinced that Vince Vaughn did a great job starring in this movie with Chris Pratt as his sort of sidekick. Hats off to them.

I guess that something that could have been better would be the intensity of the situation not ending on a sort of anti-climatic note. I'm not sure about this point, but I think that the movie was relatively good all-around.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The New Guy - Cliched High School Movie

I learned about this movie through Netflix since I watched the movie 21 & Over. The New Guy was suggested as another movie to watch, and I though sure, why not?

Eh. It was okay.

The New Guy tells the story of Dizzy Harrison, played by DJ Qualls, a loser in high school alongside his friends. When Dizzy gets wrapped up in prison, he meets Luther, played by Eddie Griffin, a convict who's discovered that moving to a new place gets people the chance to start over. Luther decides to train Dizzy Harrison to become the "new guy": Gil Harris. 

For a teen, I can imagine the comedy that would arouse from such a movie. The movie is pretty funny considering some parts. I'd imagine the same kind of comedy with something roaming around YouTube; I see a bit more of the YouTube actors acting in this sort of sketch. It's funny, but it just doesn't seem funny enough to apply to a wider audience. 

Dizzy undergoes this transformation from loser to the best guy in an interesting way. There are issues that pop up here and there about how he would integrate his old geeky friends into the system he's created, how things would work out for Dizzy once his past catches up with him. I think that the movie did a great job keeping us entertained and lively.

In the opening scene, Luther is seen sitting down and talking to the audience about his transformation of Dizzy and the story behind it. I liked the idea of Luther telling us what happened so that we can get inspiration to be ourselves and what not. 

I feel that the plot made it too good for Dizzy Harrison and let him off the hook many times in a row. I feel like the movie could have been more realistic in that sense. Bouncing off of realistic senses, I feel that how the girls acted with Dizzy Harrison seemed a bit too much of a stretch. Even though Dizzy becomes this mysterious new guy that no one knows about, I feel like the women should have gotten something else out of Dizzy based on the way he acted and his looks. 

Also, I can name many a movie where the character faces things like Dizzy does in this movie. This is your typical movie where the teen hero rises from nothing and has a happy ending. Honestly, this is not a movie that I think people absolutely NEED to watch. 

Overall, the movie was okay though. 

I give this movie a 3/5. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Guilt Trip - Heartwarming Rogen Comedy

Before watching this movie, I saw Seth Rogen and I immediately thought about all the possible sarcastic ways that he could make this movie interesting.

Yep. I liked it more than I thought I would.

The Guilt Trip tells the story of Andy Brewster, played by Seth Rogen, a man seeking to get his renewable cleaning product sold across the nation who lets his mother Joyce Brewster, played by Barbra Streisand, tag along for the ride.

Building off of what I already said about Seth Rogen, I can see him as the momma's boy, and the movie does a really good job of characterizing Seth Rogen as this sort of dorky, smart, egocentric character who has to keep himself in check when it comes to his mother. Barbra Streisand also does a really good job with the mother character who is always in some way quarreling against her son but loving him at the same time.

I do agree with what a lot of critics say: that the comedy may not be the comedy that we're used to when it comes to heart-warming sorts of movies. In fact, I'd say that this comedy would appeal to a sort of limited audience, filled with sarcasm and puns. I found that a lot of the small breaks in between "funny" parts were a bit too unrealistic.

I did like the overall plot and scheme of things. If you watch this movie, you will reflect on yourself as a child of your mother, just like the ending made it out to be. I felt like personally, there are things about The Guilt Trip that apply to my mother's relationship with me.

The one thing that really got me was the truths that Joyce had over her son, that no matter how old your mother gets, there is always something that your mother has over you in some way.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Oculus - Mirror of Illusions Actually Does Stuff in the Last 30 Minutes

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that the chick in the movie is hot and that the plot had something to do with a freaky mirror. 

Yep. I am not impressed. 

Oculus tells the story of Kaylie Russell, played by Karen Gillan, and Tim Russell, played by Brenton Thwaites, a pair of siblings bound to combat the supernatural force of an old mirror that killed their parents: Marie Russell, played by Katee Sackhoff, and Alan Russell, played by Rory Cochrane. 

The one key factor to this movie is the use of flashback. In my opinion, the director's use of flashback is too confusing to follow, especially toward the end of the film. You see the younger versions of the siblings, played by Annalise Basso and Garrett Ryan, experience one thing and a sudden transition occurs back to the main plot. 

I'm not going to lie. I liked the idea of the mirror's powers and things like that, confusing the people who go against the mirror. I liked that idea because it always kept people guessing whether something was real or not. 

However, there was this huge complicated back-story that needed to be explained before anything happened that took up most of the movie. Once we were up to speed, that was when I started to catch on and pay attention. 

I liked the emotional drama side to the movie more than the supposed horror part of the film. The craziness of it was a tragedy, but the movie always had to tie back to the mirror in some way. 

Walking out of Oculus, I knew that this would be one of those movie that I would never watch again. Yes, it was nuts, but I did not see the true point in the movie.

I give this movie a 3/5. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Wolf of Wall Street - The Opulence is Something Extra

Before watching this movie, all my friends told me that the movie was hilarious given its recurring cussing, sexual reveals, and more. I knew that Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were in this movie.

Wow. Loved it. Just plain loved it.

The Wolf of Wall Street tells the true story of Jordan Belfort, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, a stock broker who builds a sort of stock market empire with the help of his team of stock brokers and assistants.

As far as the actors, I could not ask for anything less. After all, a lot of great actors appear on the casting for this list. Mark Hanna, played by Matthew McConaughey, for instance, was hilarious, being the inspiration for the sumptuous and drug-inducing life that Jordan Belfort ends up leading. Donnie Azoff, played by Jonah Hill, was also hilariously portrayed in this movie as Jordan Belfort's best friend.

The craziness in Jordan's life is really shown in this film. At some times, I felt it was a bit too much, considering all of the nudity and violence. I read on another article about the real life Jordan Belfort saying that the movie might not all come together if one does not see the point. I felt that at the end of the movie, I felt complete.

"Sell me this pen."

I liked the ideas that this film portrayed. I have heard that after a sales pitch, the first person who talks loses. I felt nervous every time that Jordan Belfort's lifestyle transformed into something higher and higher for himself. I wanted to see how far he went before he imploded on himself.

The idea is that everything that goes up must come down.

When I think about it, all that the movie portrayed was the sumptuous lifestyle that Jordan Belfort made for himself, but it is all the little things that one must pay attention to. Watching this movie is in a sort of way like watching Goodfellas.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

21 & Over - A Great Movie About Living For Now

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that it featured two white guys and an Asian fellow who party hard when the Asian fellow has to go to an interview.

Wow. I love this movie.

21 & Over tells the story of Jeff Chang, played by Justin Chon, a student about to graduate from college about to turn 21 who must go to an important interview the next day. His friends, Casey, played by Skylar Astin, and Miller, played by Miles Teller, vow to take care of Jeff Chang all throughout his first night of drinking.

The character development of Casey and Miller is the first thing that you see, two wild college students about to reunite with Jeff Chang, their old high school friend. I loved the idea of slow realization played throughout the entire film where Casey and Miller start to question who Jeff Chang really is and actually worry about him.

Next, the one thing that I'm sure a lot people wanted to see was Casey having the tenacity to ask out Nicole, played by Sarah Wright. I liked the development of these characters as well as Casey's sense of hope and love that he must figure out.

The one idea that is present throughout the film is the idea of being true to yourself vs. doing what must be done. The truth behind this conflict is that one must be true to themselves while still doing the deeds, which I think the whole idea of college is all about.

Of course, the craziness of the film really is what drives the movie and how the plot keeps twisting and twisting. I liked it. A lot.

I give this film a 5/5.

Movie 43 - It Is What It Is

Before watching this movie, all I knew what that it was a movie where many famous actors are featured having to do with a mix-up of skits and things.

Very incredulous and outrageous.

Movie 43 tells the story of Charlie Wessler, played by Dennis Quaid, a man trying to sell his movie pitch to Griffin Schraeder, played by Greg Kinnear. The entire movie is centered around short stories of ridiculous situations featuring famous actors.

In terms of the comedy within the shorts, I only laughed at certain ones and felt severely awkward with other ones. This is obviously not a film for the family, more for a bad movie night or something like that.

You have to go into the movie knowing that this will be a movie that the general public does not like. This felt like, after a while, a series of skits that I was viewing on YouTube, rather than a movie. Surely, the comedy of these skits would be better on YouTube, but as far some comedy is concerned, it's ok.

I feel like this seems like a complete joke in terms of movies in general. I like the idea of putting together a list of amazing actors and making this movie as a joke, but I cannot say that this is a movie that I would see again.

I give this movie a 2/5.

Olympus Has Fallen - Predictable Gerard Butler v. North Korea Standoff

Before watching this movie, I knew that this would be your traditional action movie where the hero always ends up getting what they want. Gerard Butler is a pretty good actor; so is Morgan Freeman. All seemed ok, and people thought it was a good movie for the most part.

Gotta's a toss-up between Gerard Butler doing a crazy good job with the action sequences and Morgan Freeman telling others what to do that has me in this crazy bind of awesomeness.

Olympus Has Fallen tells the story of Mike Banning, played by Gerard Butler, a Secret Service agent to protect the President of the United States Benjamin Asher, played by Aaron Eckhart, and his family. When a crazy situation regarding the President goes wrong, Asher is asked to stop protecting the President. Months later, a sudden hostile takeover of the White House led by Korean terrorist Kang Yeonsack, played by Rick Yune, forces the President into a hostile situation, leaving Mike Banning the President's only hope.

I know this looks like a lot of text, but this is actually what is revealed more or less in the trailer of the movie.

Anyway, I'd like to start with some critiquing of some of the movie first. Why does the bad guy go in the open when he knows the good guy is out there waiting for him? I cannot believe the amount of times that Kang goes out of the Presidential bunker only not to expect Mike Banning when Kang knows that Mike Banning is out there.

Furthermore, why even fake Banning's death? I did not get that part at all. It didn't really do anything in the course of the plot. Banning ends up revealing himself anyway.

Yes, the suspense was killing me at some parts of the film. The action sequences were amazing. But I think the most tense moment in the entire film was when Speak Allan Trumbull, played by Morgan Freeman, tells US Army General Edward Clegg, played by Robert Forster, to stand down. No kidding. Screw the big guns and secret weapons. That was the most tense I've ever been.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier - So Predictable That I Already Knew The Plot of the Movie

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that of course: this would be a Marvel sequel post-Avengers. Furthermore, Anthony Mackie is in this movie (such a good actor). And so on and so forth.

Yep. I already knew what was going to happen. No lies.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier tells the story of Steve Rogers, played by Chris Evans, and his continued career working for SHIELD. After a mission, Captain America starts to be untrustworthy of the very agency that thawed him. One thing leads to another, and this sequel's plot takes off.

I want to say, first, that the action sequences in this movie are amazing. Of course, Marvel Studios always does a great job with making things feel so real for the people sitting in the theater.

Also, the Black Widow, played by Scarlet Johansson, is hot. Not as hot as the past movies, but still really hot.

If Nick Fury, played by Samuel L. Jackson, was not a badass beforehand, then this movie made him ten times more of a badass.

Now. For the critiques.

The scenes that made Steve Rogers seem weak and fragile as a character, in my eyes, were not necessary. Sure, it shows that he still has a heart after all of the crime fighting and stuff, but why so much sentiment? I don't get it. (P.S. the one scene that made my heart sank, yeah, keep that one, but all others scratch them.)

Furthermore, I knew what was going to happen and when it was going to happen. Everything seemed to fall into place except for the whole back story behind SHIELD. That was a bit surprising.

Marvel movies get worse as they progress. Compared to the first Captain America, this was significantly worse. Though this movie is a bit more updated than the first one, the first at least shows a progression of events that makes us like Captain America. Here, we get Cap', but not a Cap' we would like to see so much of.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Captain Phillips - Open Mouth With A Rush of Blood

Before watching this movie, all I knew was that this movie's been blown up everywhere. Lots of people have been surprised for me not watching this film yet. I wasn't too sure to think about the film, but I think that any film with Tom Hanks can be great.

Wow. Best film I've seen by far.

Captain Phillips tells the story of Richard Phillips, played by Tom Hanks, a captain of a ship that ends up getting hijacked by a group of Somali pirates led by Abduwali Muse, played by Barkhad Abdi.

To be honest, you know what's going to go down. Within the first ten minutes of the movie, I knew that it was going to be Tom Hanks vs. a gang of Somali pirates. However, I think that the way that the movie set everything up was perfect.

Hats off to Tom Hanks in this movie. He can really act. Everything that he portrayed, I actually can believe, and I think that that's the true mark of an actor.

Historically, I was aware of the actual events that are happening off of the coast of Somalia: pirates capturing crew and cargo in exchange for money from the mother country. I think this is a great film for teachers to show in class to explain what's happening in that part of Africa. The thing that really got me was the dialogue between Richard Phillips and Abduwali Muse about there being a better life than fishing and capturing people for money. It was really powerful.

The suspense really got me in this film. Any time that I felt that anything was good, the next second something happens, and I got excited. Truly, what drives this film is the level of suspense that the movie puts forth in its plot; well, that and the huge amount of orchestral work that the film did to build up suspense as well.

If there is one movie that I would watch over again, I would watch Captain Phillips. Everything in this movie made sense. I am amazed by how good that movie was.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Total Recall - Futuristic Action and Adventure = Awesome Blend

Before watching this movie, I only knew about a couple of things. For one, it is your typical sci-fi action movie. Second, the movie features a woman with three boobs (sorry for that non-PG thing). Third, that it is a remake of a previous movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger, and lastly, that it has to do with some guy getting messed with his mind.

Yeah. Bryan Cranston can surely play a great villain.

Total Recall tells the story of Douglas Quaid, played by Colin Farrell, a factory worker living in a futuristic world where only Britain and Australia are the only habitable places on Earth. Seeking for more adventure, Doug goes to a place called Rekall, a company designed to give you fake memories to make your life feel better. Turns out that the Rekall personnel figure out that Doug is actually a spy in real life and gets "greeted" by the police, and the story picks up from there.

I do love the action sequences in Total Recall. I feel like they kept me on my feet and never stopped getting boring. I did like the futuristic dynamic to Total Recall. That is what really drives the plot of Total Recall: seeing all these new technologies that seem incredulous to us. From the screens on the glass to the hovering cars to synthetic police, it all seems really interesting.

Of course, Bryan Cranston was a positive feature in this film. I felt that everything made sense and it was not too hard to follow everything that was happening.

A bit too much gloating on Bryan Cranston's part. I did feel that the villain does give too much leeway to the hero, and the whole shred of hope stuff is something that you have to deal with in this movie. I, as of right now, still do not understand the logic behind keeping someone that dangerous alive, but I can see it in the light of Bryan Cranston's memory.

In comparison to other double-crossing movies (i.e. The Bag Man), this makes sense because of the loss of memory on Doug's part. I feel that although the plot was a huge thing to tackle on, that is what makes Total Recall a good movie.

I give this movie a 5/5.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Mr. Peabody & Sherman - A Genuinely Good Animated Movie

Before actually watching the movie, my initial impression of the film was that it was your typical bad children's movie where the director sort of puts things together in hopes of the film being a good film. I figured that it would be good for my younger siblings to watch, but I did not see much interest in it.

Yeah. That was a pretty good movie.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman tells the story of Mr. Peabody, voiced by Ty Burrell, a dog whose mind exceeds that of everyone around him, who comes across a boy by the name of Sherman, voiced by Max Charles, whom Mr. Peabody adopts. From then on, the pair become inseparable up until an incident occurs at Sherman's school one day where Sherman bites Penny Peterson, voiced by Ariel Winter, and the custody of Sherman is threatened.

The movie does a great job of incorporating history since Mr. Peabody's invention of the Way Back is what primarily drives the plot. Many puns, jokes, and slightly suggestive references make the movie not only something for children to enjoy but for adults to enjoy also.

The whole transformation of certain things in the movie was what really got to me. When it comes to a friendship being formed or Sherman realizing what he should truly stand for, it got to me. I felt this sort of prideful thing in the end because of it as well.

Even though at first I thought that Mr. Peabody seems like the perfect hero that always swoops in to saves the day, the pairing of Mr. Peabody with Sherman makes sense since Mr. Peabody always has something to worry about: Sherman. Although Sherman seems to become a chip on Mr. Peabody's shoulder, ultimately, we realize that Mr. Peabody and Sherman are a sort of yin and yang.

I felt like the three characters: Mr. Peabody, Sherman, and Penny Peterson all drive the plot of the story into some amazing ideals. Although the whole time travel side to the plot did get a bit old after a while, I feel as if Mr. Peabody and Sherman is a movie that I would watch another time.

I give this movie a 5/5.

The Bag Man - Double, Triple. Quadruple Crossing; Why Keep Track Anymore?

I saw the trailer for The Bag Man and already had this feel that the movie was going to be an all-out war between John Cusack and Robert De Niro, which is something that you don't see everyday. My father automatically criticized the movie and said that the plot does not look to appealing.

After watching the movie, all I have to say is that a lot of what my father said was true.

The Bag Man tells the story of Jack, played by John Cusack, a man who's been chosen by your average stereotypical rich evil guy Dragna, played by Robert De Niro, to get a bag for him in exchange for money. While waiting for Dragna in a motel, Jack spots who appears to be a prostitute by the name of Rivka, played by Rebecca Da Costa, who also gets tossed up into the plot as well.

Right off the bat, the plot does not make any sense. Of course, we don't know the histories of Jack nor Dragna, but their characters are sort of implied through an initial stereotypical lens of rich guy and guy under rich guy that does the rich guy's bidding.

As the plot progresses, we do start to see more and more of the backgrounds of the characters, however, the characters seem to have this plastic sort of sense to them.

There was supposed to be this sort of suspense to what was in the bag throughout the whole movie, but overall I did not feel any suspense. Sure, I felt something when what was in the bag was revealed, but it was not as powerful as I thought it would be.

I was originally going to give this movie a 3, but with the decision to add some details in the end further complicated the plot even more and did not make the movie experience any better. The end really spoils the rest of the movie, and I did not really like the movie, no matter if De Niro or Cusack were in it.

I give this movie a 2/5.