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.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Need For Speed - Yeah, That Car Would Have Been So Totaled

All I knew was Aaron Paul and Need for Speed. When it comes to Aaron Paul, I was expecting at least one good "Yeah, BITCH!" in the movie. Not necessary, hut it would have been fulfilling for the sake of my love for Breaking Bad. When it comes to Need for Speed, obviously all I knew was the whole video game chain that kids like us in the 90s couldn't get enough of.

But this combo did not fail to disappoint for the production of a movie. Let me express some of the pros and cons.

Need for Speed tells the story of Tobey Marshall, played by Aaron Paul, a racer in small town New York who witnesses Dino Brewster, played by Dominic Cooper, kill Little Pete Coleman, played by Harrison Gilbertson, in a race for big bucks. Out of prison for being wrongly convicted, Tobey Marshall goes across the country to try to join a famous underground race hosted by Monarch, played by Michael Keaton, in an attempt to prove his own innocence. 

First off, let me just say that this is a truly unrealistic movie. Of course, no movie is ultimately the definition of reality in any sense, but yes: the car should have been totaled way beforehand in reality. Yes: Benny, played by Scott Mescudi(AKA. Kid Cudi), should have gotten in trouble for flying earlier than he did. However, for the sake of this being a racing movie with Fast and Furious-esque proportions, I'm willing to let that go.

The plot took off a bit late, but it was a well thought out story line with well-conceived characters. Everything turned out just how I imagined it would be for the plot every step of the way.

Very suspenseful in many parts of the movie; kept me on the edge of my seat in a few points.

I can see why someone would not like the movie, as the plot is a bit slow to develop. It was also kind of confusing to tell which character was in which car, something that any racing movie should clearly point out.

Anyway, Aaron Paul stole the show. Nice cars. Nice plot. Nice ending. Good acting. Really good humor. I did feel as if the humor sort of dragged on for some parts, but hey, it's Kid Cudi, man. Kid Cudi was hilarious in this movie. 

I give this movie a 4/5.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Lone Ranger - Stop Gloating, Villains!

So I didn't know what to think about this movie. Surely, I did have this sort of Pirates of the Caribbean vibe coming from the movie, especially since Johnny Depp is yet again in another live action movie of Disney's. 

Anywho, The Lone Ranger tells the story of John Reid, played by Armie Hammer, a young lawyer who gets tied up with a rowdy gang of rogue cowboys led by the infamous Butch Cavendish, played by William Fichtner. When a group of rangers go out to try to put a stop to Cavendish, Butch responds by killing every single one of the rangers, or so he thought. Tonto, played by Johnny Depp, is a Comanche Indian who revives John Reid and accompanies him in his quest to stop the infamous Butch Cavendish.

First off, I'd just like to say that whoever came up with these names: (Butch Cavendish John Reid) really had their heart set out on making this film as Western as possible. Butch is the typical villain name. Oh my gosh. I could not stop laughing when I got introduced to this villainous character. 

I'm not too comfortable with the idea of John Reid automatically being able to do something at the end of the movie, if you catch my drift. Again, this is a spoiler-free zone, so I'll try not to be specific. But, really? Like if this happened in my family, I would rather just leave things as they are and not take advantage of the moment like John Reid does at the end of the movie. 

Another thing that bothered me a bit was the gloating that Butch Cavendish and the other villain (again with the spoiler-free zone thing) kept doing. When you have Tonto or John Reid on the other side of the gun, you shoot! You don't wait until some other force of the universe stops you from achieving your goal. Every Disney villain freakin' gloats. It's a ridiculous thing that ticks me off sometimes.

Yet another thing that gets me ticked off is the stupid thing that Disney does at the end of every other movie with the whole "believe what you want to believe" kind of ideology. That is not a spoiler because this is true for every other Disney movie. There is a bit more that also ticks me off at the end of the movie, but alas I'll say no more.

I liked the action. I liked the visual effects. I liked Johnny Depp. The comedy. The ties to actual historical events that occurred. Armie Hammer was alright; he provided that awkward sort of comedic style  that drove the movie forward as well. 

I give this movie a 4/5. 

The Irony of Fate Part 2 - New Year, New Love

To finish up last night's post, I'd like to add a couple of things that I noticed in Part 2 that made me think over the movie as a whole.

First off, I do enjoy the whole juxtaposition between the songs that the actors sing and at what point the characters are in the plot. It fits right in and I can't get enough of that sort of juxtaposition.

Alternatively, the plot does drag on when it can be cut off at certain parts. Entire scenes were not necessary, but I do feel that given the age of the movie I can make some sort of an exception.

To talk about the plot in its entirety, The Irony of Fate is realistic in some sense realistic. It is a romantic comedy that I enjoyed. I would probably enjoy it just as much as an Adam Sandler romantic comedy.

I didn't get a lot from what Zhenya and Nadya were saying to each other about their complicated relationship, but then again, aren't all relationships somewhat complicated.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Irony of Fate Part 1 - The Hangover 4: Moscow to Leningrad

This originally was just something that I thought would improve my understanding of the Russian language since I am an intermediate Russian speaker. I didn't know what to think of the plot of this movie, but overall I enjoyed it.

The Irony of Fate (the shortened English title of the movie) tells the story of Zhenya, played by Andrey Myagkov, a man in his 30's thinking about proposing to his girlfriend Galya, played by Olga Naumenko, on New Year's Eve. After a drunken evening at a bathhouse in Moscow, his friends accidentally fly Zhenya over to Leningrad. The story takes off from there.

This is one of the first times that I've had to read subtitles for a movie in a foreign language, but I would have to say that I did enjoy this film regardless of the quality nor the fact that I had to read subtitles.

It is a bit slow. I can tell that some parts of the movie could have been chopped off without deviating from the original plot of the movie. However, I do understand that this film is a bit old (1976), so I'll try not to be to critical of these things.

Furthermore, I did like the cliff hanger that the movie leaves for Part 2 at the end of Part 1. I think I will watch Part 2 now that I've seen what the movie is starting to become.

I can see why the title of this film is The Irony of Fate, given the situation that both Zhenya and Nadya, played by Barbara Brylska, are in at the end of Part 1. For a comedy, this Soviet film is not too bad. I wonder what Part 2 has in store for me.

Update: If confused, there are two parts on YouTube, a Part 1 and Part 2. Physically, The Irony of Fate is a 3 hour movie, not chunked into two like YouTube has it. I will post a The Irony of Fate Part 2 to refine the ideas on this review.

I give this movie a 4/5.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Frozen - Classic Disney Movie With Ice

Before ever thinking about seeing this film, I thought about the stupidity of the trailer due to the idea of Olaf the Snowman, voiced by Josh Gad. Right off the bat, I knew that this would be a film solely for kids, that adults or teens won't get the same laughs from the movie as much as the kids do. And once again, I was proven wrong.

Frozen tells the story of Anna, voiced by Kristen Bell, and Elsa, voiced by Idina Menzel, a pair of sisters who love and wish to play with each other all the time. An unfortunate event happens, however, when Elsa accidentally freezes a piece of Anna's hair, given the warning that Elsa must stay away from Anna. The story revolves around the idea that Elsa must hide who she is in order for the kingdom nor Anna not to know.

I do want to go ahead and say that the whole "true love" element to the story kind of sucks. It is, yet again, another one of those Disney elements that you have to prepare for before seeing this movie. Characters don't learn their lesson; they just regret something that they did, cry about it, and then get what they want anyway. Disney does not reflect real life. In real life, if you screw up, you screw up.

I did like the majority of the musical numbers in Frozen, but there were some that made me go, "Why the hell am I watching this again?" And then I remind myself that this is a Disney movie and anything can happen, so I just went along with it. Of course, "Let It Go" was one of my favorite musical numbers of the movie.

The character of Olaf was necessary actually to keep our spirits up in Disney movie standards. Kristoff, voiced by Jonathan Groff, reminded me of me, so I have some bias towards him.

All in all, I did like the plot twist at the end, I did like the little trolls that Kristoff introduces as his family, I did like the concept behind Frozen. The only reason I wouldn't give Frozen that 5 status is because it isn't exactly a movie that I would sort of live by, if that makes sense.

I give this movie a 4/5.