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.