Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies ~ I Weep for Cinema

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to talk about 'The Hobbit'. After two disappointing films that were mostl pointless filler we have finally reached the dreaded conclusion.

I thought I was ready. I thought my expectations were low enough. If there is one skill that Peter Jackson has, it's the unyielding ability to always find a new low. Although in a scene by scene comparison nothing can be worse than the barrel riding scene in 'Desolation of Smaug', as a whole, 'Battle of Five Armies' managed to leave me with an even larger pain in my stomach than any of it's predecessors.

Do you want details? Well, I'm going to give them so buckle in.

This movie is nothing but a soulless franchise that should be an eternal shame to everyone involved. All of the trite side plots that we have grown to loath continued, at their normal slothful pace. Yes, more vomit inducing dwarf/elf romance, Gandalf and his merry band doing things that have nothing to do with this movie, pointless lake town drama, that horrible white orc, the inexcusable brown wizardand an overwhelming amount of face-palm worthy battle sequences.
Why are you even in this movie Sauron?

When they weren't using these familiar means to steamroll one of my fondest childhood stories, they filmmakers were wheeling out new and equally distressing alternatives. There were legless trolls that walked on legs made of maces, even more fabricated plots to try and fill the time, entire scenes that were completely CGI to the point where they rendered actors and it looked like a video game, countless (and I mean countless) times when ridiculous and impossible feats were accomplished that made the entire theatre laugh in derision, Legolas running out of arrows (what?), long scenes of Thorin going mad as well as his bizarre hallucinations, and the scene where Smaug is slain - that almost could have been good if they hadn't ruined it by having Bard use one of his children as a makeshift bow (you read that right, it felt like a spoof).

Overhead shots of armies, bread and butter for Peter Jackson.
All things considered, it was yet another heartless, bloated, money making machine. We should all be thankful that it is over and done with. Now, no one let Peter Jackson make another movie, ever.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

'Ender's Game' and 'Gravity' ~ Dumb and Dumber!

Happy Daylight Savings time! Yeah, I know, I heard the communal groan. No one likes this tradition! But, while you are feeling particularly grumpy due to the time change I am going to help you avoid watching two wretched films!

First, and the lesser of two evils, is 'Ender's Game'. (If you want to see the trailer click, here.) This movie is somewhat interesting in a teenage sort of way. That is, until the end when the expectable 'Twist' happens and the absolutely bizarre ending that left me feeling confused, a bit uncomfortable, and generally just done with the movie. I was laughing out loud at it's stupidity, I really was. Mostly, it felt like a Politically Correct regurgitation of countless movie and stories that have come before it. It's sad but true! 

The only reason it remained somewhat interesting through the beginning and part of the middle was the acting. Asa Butterfield and Harrison Ford were great. I pretty much watched the movie for those two and they, specifically, didn't disappoint me. I can't wait to see what Butterfield does once he's grown up a little more. The other incredible actors who were in this movie frankly didn't have much screen time. 

This is the training room.
There was one bit I did like. The kids all had this Zero-G training room that was set up in a Laser Tag sort of way. Those scenes were kinda fun! 

All in all, it's more bad than good. It's not close either. This is a serious skip! I mean it, don't waste your time!

Second, we have the worse of the two spacey flicks. 'Gravity'. I, hated this movie. I have been actively telling everyone I can how terrible it is. It's boring, predictable, has massive plot holes, and generally caused me to bang my head against the wall. If you know much about physics or space travel this movie is going to be a cheese-grater on your brain! In the movie, the forces of gravity and friction seem pop in periodically just to make things difficult before the snap back to the strict Zero-G rules. I'm talking about acceleration/deceleration with no cause. It will literally go like this. "Oh no, I'm at a complete stop in outer space but since I just unclipped myself I'm going to go SHOOTING off into the distance for no apparent reason." Before people try and say maybe just everything else way moving, NO! Not a valid point, he had remained the same relative distance to everything steadily, even if everything was moving, he was moving at the same rate. 

There are so many terrible moments in this film and I won't go over every single one. Just know that it's no good! The acting was acceptable I guess. They pretty much were only ever scared. That's not what I call a good range of emotion. Not to mention, we mostly only see their faces. Frankly, the script and plot were both so bad it's all blurring into one mucky mess.

Guess what?! MORE FLOATING!
To sum up: Skip, skip, skip! Do not see this terrible movie unless you want something to rip to shreds with a group of friends. It would work for that. 

Thank you all and talk to you again soon!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

'Ernest and Celestine' and Mom's Night Out'

Today I have two trailers to share! They both look good but one of them is really making me excited! I'm going to save the best for last and start with ' Mom's Night Out'.

Here is the trailer.

That looks like some good clean fun to me! I don't think it's going to be Earth shatteringly good, I think it will be enjoyable. A nice way to spend two hours after a long day. That's what that trailers says to me! The fact that is has both Sean Astin and Patricia Heaton also gives me a lot of faith in the movie! Hopefully, I'll be right!

Now it's time for 'Ernest and Celestine'. This movie is hand drawn. That immediately caught my attention. It's absolutely gorgeous! Take a look!

It looks so cute, creative, and heartwarming! I love it! I know it came out a few years ago in France and that it's nominated for an Oscar now. Sometimes I really wish the international release dates weren't so incredibly delayed! We should have access to it sometime this month. Yay!

Thanks for reading! I'll be back soon with more movie news!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Philomena ~ A Conversation Starter

Good morning and happy Saturday! As per usual, before the Oscars I tend to start catching whatever stray nominees I can. This time I saw 'Philomena'. I posted the trailer a while ago in case you don't remember.

The rough story is that a young girl became pregnant in a fling and was forced to give him up for adoption and fifty years later she is trying to find him. She, being Philomena, has attempted to find him before with no luck. This time she has the help of an ex-BBC reporter who is quite a bit more forceful with his questions. Last but not least, this is based on a chillingly true story.

There are many interesting and shocking twists in this story, which I shall not spoil. What's important is that it's a good story! 'Philomena' held my attention from start to finish. Best of all it touches on a vast array of hot-button topics. This is why I call it a conversation starter. Oh the discussions I had, and could still have, about the various plot points.

The biggest negative I have is the overt product placement. I've been seeing more and more of this in recent years and it really detracts from movie immersion. 'Philomena' was brought to you by Guinness, BMW, and Nikon! How exciting! *Sarcasm*

After seeing it, I definitely understand the Oscar nominations! It will be interesting to see how that all plays out!

All in all, I recommend it! I would say that it's best for a mature audience or someone who is interested in the storyline. Kids and silly teens will probably be bored, but that's their loss! If you're curious, give it a go!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cairo Time ~ Charming

Happy Thursday everyone! Today I am going to talk about 'Cairo Time'! It's a movie that has been loafing around my Netflix Que for quite some time and I finally got around to watching it!

'Cairo Time' is a movie about an American woman who flies out to Cairo to meet up with her husband. Her husband works for the UN and is stuck in Gaza. Now the wife has all the time in the world, alone in Cairo. Well, not exactly alone. She soon befriends her husband's retired head of security. Plot ensues!

This is a rather quiet movie that has a lot of subtlety and finesse. I found it incredibly enjoyable!  They touch on some of the cultural differences and dangers of being a woman alone in Cairo. This adds some very mild seriousness to an otherwise easygoing movie. I was pulled right into the story and was captivated until the last second!

On top of the great story the cinematography is absolutely stunning! I've never been to Egypt, and I doubt I will anytime soon, therefore I love seeing what I can through cinema! I'm talking about sweeping, gorgeous views and beautiful sunset shots over the pyramids. Breathtaking to be sure!

Lastly, I would be deceiving you if I didn't say that one of the primary reasons I watched this movie was because of Alexander Siddig. He played the head of security and you may know him as Dr. Bashir from 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'. Although that may be where I first encountered him, I really love his acting and I watch his work whenever I get the chance!

In conclusion, I recommend this movie! It's perfect for cuddling in with a cup of tea for a calm afternoon.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Kon Tiki ~ Surprisingly Great!

Good afternoon everyone! Today I watched 'Kon Tiki'. You may remember it from the Oscar nomination last year. I have been interested in watching for all this time but have been beating around the bush. It's a movie about sailing across an ocean on a tiny raft, I feared it may be boring! Thankfully, it wasn't!

'Kon Tiki' is a film about real life events where a group of Scandinavians, mostly Norwegians, attempted to sail from Peru to the Galapagos Islands to prove that that is how the Islands were originally discovered. This rebutted the accepted idea that the islands were discovered from Asia. You see how I could think that it may be somewhat tiresome to watch?

This is an incredibly well done movie! I was happily surprised with my viewing experience. Not only was I learning something about scientific and nautical history (don't judge my nerdiness) but it was intense and gripping from beginning to end! As an added bonus the characters don't get on the raft right away. There is a lot of groundwork and character development first. All good things!

In case you are adverse to Foreign films, just know that 'Kon Tiki' is in English, or at least the version on Netflix is. No need to dread the subtitles.

The feel of the movie is serious and tense. The crew has put their lives on the line and every single one of them knows it! I did a little research and the vast majority of what is shown really happened. There are a few small interactions that were added but all the really incredible and shocking things are the facts. While watching it I thought on how it was like 'Cast Away' meets '127 Hours'. Except there were more people.

Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that
Norwegians are completely insane.
In a good way!

I recommend this movie! If you are looking for something good to watch tonight, look no further! Give it a go!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Monuments Men ~ A Must See!

About a week ago 'The Monuments Men' hit the theatres. I have been anticipating this film for so long and finally I have seen it! Best of all, it did not disappoint! I first showed you the trailer back in August. This has been a long time coming! Time to get down to business.

I adore the detail in the background.
'The Monuments Men' is a movie about a small group of art scholars, historians, and the like trying to save as much art from the Nazis as possible. Naturally, this is set in WWII. The cast is star studded and primed for a great performance!

This is a calm mature movie. it isn't going to shock or thrill you with flash and pomp. The story and emotion will suffice perfectly. That and the fact that visually, it's absolutely incredible! The detail as well as the grand images are both exacted with such correct perfection. I was pleased with every, single, second.

It would be rather redundant to go ever the fact that a cast filled with old pros and veterans knocked it out of the park. I do want to take note of the one newbie. Dimitri Leonidas. He played a German Translator. I was so impressed with him for standing his own among acting greats. He appears to be just getting started as an actor but I would not be surprised to see more of him in the not-to-distant future.
That's Leonidas in the back left.
This movie will make you laugh, gasp, cry, smile, shiver, and think. All while having a definite vein of comedy woven through a rather serious story line. Although it starts out with quite a jovial beginning, soon the realities of war bring everything back into focus. It's marvelous.

I recommend this film wholeheartedly and without a drop of reservation. It's fantastic. Best of all, it's a story worth telling. Take a gold star 'The Monuments Men'.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Austenland ~ My Valentine's Day Movie

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! I was trying to decide what movie to highlight for today when I noticed 'Austenland' in the new release section on iTunes. I figured that there really wasn't a better day to give it a whirl then today and I've just finished watching it now! You may recall that I shared the trailer with you some time ago. Let's talk about the movie shall we?

'Austenland' was an enjoyable watch! I feel like I must warn up front that it was a touch more crude than I would have liked. Honestly, I don't ever like crudeness in movies. It was unnecessary and childish but thankfully easily forgotten. In the movies favor, I think that the good was enough to outweigh the bad. Moving on!

The story is rather simple. Jane is a thirty something American woman who is dangerously obsessed with all things Austen. Specifically, Mr. Darcy. She decides to spend her life savings to go to a themed, role-play based vacation in England where every guest is meant to feel like the heroine of her own Austen novel. All the details of the time are present though some are over romanticised or fake upon closer inspection. For example, the chickens in the coup are fake and all the men are actors. Jane begins by having fun but soon tires of the facade. Naturally there are several love interests while plenty of chaos and chemistry ensues. Fun fun!

This movie was surprisingly deep. Although on the surface it's simply yet another flowery retelling of Austen's famed 'Pride and Prejudice' underneath it explores the dangers of fantasy and the value of reality. The overall tone of the movie seems to state that it's not the time period that draws thousands of women to the stories but the idea of honest, virtuous, and truly good men. Something that is severely lacking in this current age. I'm not sure if I'm explaining this well but the point is this: 'Austenland' is a great deal more thoughtful than your average romantic fluff piece. Although it is, in fact, a fluff piece.

I laughed out loud at moments and was invested in the primary character's story. A few of the side characters ranged from unnecessary to repulsive but it wasn't scarring. There was some nice scenery and clever wit. 'Austenland' is a medium. Not amazing and not trash-worthy. It fit the bill for today!

Overall, it's a positive experience! Not my highest recommendation, but nice. If you are hardy enough to to take a little less-than-dignified humor give it a whirl! It's fun and clever!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

A Unique Trend

While I busy myself trying to keep my finger on the movie pulse I, naturally, encounter multitudes of trailers. Obviously, I don't post about every trailer I watch, only the ones that strike me as worthwhile. There are a lot of trailer that just barely don't make the cut. Through all my observing I have noticed a stunning trend that I believe is rather unique. There are five Christian movies that have come out/will come out over the period of a year. Obviously, Christian movies come out all the time, they just usually don't make it to the movie theatre. It's really a direct to DVD market. That's what's so strange! All these movies are coming out and they are going to the theatres and some of them even have people you've heard of in them. Let me show you what I mean.

Two of the five I have already posted about in the past. 'Noah' and 'Grace Unplugged'. 'Grace Unplugged' was the first movie in this trend that I noticed. Since I have already expressed my opinions on these two films I won't repeat them again.

Next is 'Heaven Is For Real'.

You may remember when this kid was in the news and things years ago. I know I do. I don't care what you believe, the idea in this movie has to make you ponder. I, honestly, don't really know what I think about the idea of a child going to heaven and back. I'm a naturally an apprehensive person. What I do think is that it's interesting.

The third trailer in the trend is 'God's Not Dead'.

This one interests me more then the Heaven one. I am very keen to see how it goes. I can say, from personal experience, is that it is difficult to deal with extreme negative societal pressures as a Christian. It is comforting to remember that others have had to deal with it too.

Fifth is 'Son Of God'.

The story of Jesus being told on the big screen. I must admit, I always feel rather uncomfortable with the idea of actors portraying Jesus. What if the actor represents Him badly and herds of audiences get the wrong idea? It's a lot of pressure. Putting that aside, I am intrigued. I'm intrigued if for no other reason than the fact that this, and the other four movies, even exist.

 I do want to emphasise one more time that the reason these movies are so special is that they are feature films heading to the theatres. I'm not sure if all these movies coming out around the same time is some massive coincidence or if somewhere a band of Christians decided to try and counteract some of the disgusting rubbish that tarnishes the silver screen. Either way works for me. I'm happy to see them.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Saving Mr. Banks ~ Delightful!

Yesterday afternoon, I walked into my local theatre to watch 'Saving Mr. Banks'. I didn't exactly know what to expect because I had heard some clashing reviews on the subject. I did have high hopes which I expressed in my previous post. I left the theatre about as pleased as I can possibly be with a movie watching experience! I absolutely adore this film!

'Saving Mr. Banks', as you probably know, is the story of how Walt Disney and his team managed to create the beloved 'Mary Poppins' film. A major part of this conquest was convincing the author to sign over the rights to the story! Throughout the movie you watch flashbacks to the authors childhood where the real life inspiration of 'Mary Poppins' takes place. Let me tell you, it is an engrossing and totally immersive situation!

Part of what makes this movie so fantastic is the perfect casting. I loved every single character. I'm not even exaggerating. Paul Giamatti was a true delight every moment he was on screen while Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson each gave another one of their exemplary performances. I really don't want to highlight anyone above the others though! Every employee under Disney was fabulous as well as Colin Farrell and the rest of the flashback crew. I could rave for pages but I will stop now!

There is a serious side to this film. If you cry at movies, this one will most likely get you! But it's a good sad, not a throw your popcorn at the screen sad. It makes sense, so it's okay.

'Saving Mr. Banks' wins on the script! The continuity, wit, and charm all dance together on screen and it's marvelous. I wish it were possible to kiss a script, because this one certainly earned one.

So, basically, I recommend this movie! I think it is a definite two thumbs up, A+, and all the stars. I hope you love it too!