Guys. It’s bad. It’s really, really bad.
It’s not too much of a stretch to say The Hangover was a decent movie. It was certainly a ‘guy’ movie, but it had a wider appeal and an original story, and yeah I’ll admit, it was pretty damn funny back in the day, although I can’t say it holds up too well when watched again. The second one? Well, long story short, it was a lazy re-hash of the first that used shock humor (quite poorly, might I add) and it isn’t particularly memorable, but it’s certainly not one of the worst comedies I’ve ever seen.
The Hangover Part III however, is.
I like provocative cinema. I like the kind of movies that ask the tough questions, and make people think about things that society is too scared to think about. It’s the visualization of those thoughts and ideas that make the art form a medium for change and progress, and the trailer for The Purge paints the film as one of the more thought provoking works of the horror-thriller genre…. Which is unfortunate, because it turned out to be one of the dumbest movies I’ve seen all year
Mind you, I’m not the kind of person who calls something ‘dumb’ just because I didn’t like it. This movie is dumb in every sense of the word. Also see: stupid, unintelligent, banal, ridiculous, facile, etc.
The premise is an interesting one, a futuristic American society that has little to no crime or unemployment thanks an annual event where society can cleanse itself of all its poverty and let go of all its hatred via an event known as The Purge. For a period of 12 hours, all emergency services are suspended, and all crime is made legal.
Yes. That right there. That’s the kind of movie I want to see. But that’s not the movie I got.
It’s going to be very hard to review this movie without giving away spoilers, but I’m going to try my best to put up warnings where necessary. With that said….
Really. That about sums it up. WOW.
I haven’t been floored by a movie like this in a long time, so my thoughts on it are going to seem quite incoherent, as I’m still trying to process them. In any case, if you’re a fan of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek, you’ll probably enjoy this movie. If you’re a fan of the original series of films, you’ll probably enjoy this movie. In fact, if you’re a fan of movies in general, you’ll probably enjoy this movie.
The disaster genre is often associated with images of large scale destruction of metropolitan cities, ostensibly likable characters running for two hours to avoid not having any more ground beneath their feet, and Roland Emmerich doing stuff like this in at least four movies. It’s a genre that has a specific appeal, in that you get to see entire cities go up in flames without some kind of moral or political implication, and these movies act as sort of an overarching ‘what if’ scenario that’s made to be instantly recognizable from an outside perspective (alongside post-apocalyptic porn such as Oblivion) by destroying all your favourite tourist attractions, but also by moving the more relatable aspects of the disaster to the sidelines in the process. Even the marketing of films such as 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow are specifically geared towards that spectacle.
Which is probably why Aftershock is such a brilliantly refreshing movie.
I had never seen a trailer for Aftershock before watching it, but the involvement of Eli Roth, the man responsible for the Hostel films, sort of gave me the indication that it would focus on the more horrific aspects of a natural disaster, and I suppose that assumption was right in more ways than one. Its relatively modest $10 million budget may seem like something that would hold it back, at least in the visual effects department, but even if that’s the case, it allowed director Nicolas Lopez to concentrate on things other than the disaster itself, while still allowing for some pretty great practical effects to put you right in the middle of things.
I wasn’t originally planning on writing a review for this one, mostly because there really isn’t much to be said, but I decided to give it a go. If you’re not interested in the specifics and just need a quick opinion: don’t watch it. It’s not worth your time.
To be honest, the only reason I went and saw this movie in the first place was because I was a background extra, and I wanted to see my name in the credits of a movie for the first time. Were it not for that, I don’t think it would have interested me in the slightest. The trailer made it seem cheap and superficial, and a sort of lazy attempt at ‘meta’ storytelling, and it’s pretty much exactly that.
“It’s an American classic!”
The words seem to spontaneously bellow from rooftops whenever F. Scott Fitzgerarld’s The Great Gatsby is brought up in conversation, especially when someone mentions that they haven’t read it. It’s considered to be a ‘Great American Novel’, as well as one of those books that filmmakers just can’t seem to get right. 1926, 1949, 1974, 2000, all unsuccessful adaptations, as I’ve been led to believe. And now we have this, the fifth adaptation of a book that’s almost nine decades old, one that might seem almost impossible to review without any sort of comparison to its previous incarnations.
In most cases anyway.
I personally, have not read The Great Gatsby. I have never seen any previous film version of it. And, until earlier tonight, I hadn’t the slightest clue as to what it was about….. Actually, I still have no idea what it’s about.
Let me be clear before getting in to it. Whatever I say about the movie is based purely on what I saw tonight. This was my first and only exposure to The Great Gatsby, and I am judging it as a movie, and as a movie alone. Conversely, if someone were to respond to any of my points with an explanation pertaining to the book, please know that I don’t care. The novel and its contents have absolutely no bearing on my opinion, nor should they. I shouldn’t even have to say this to begin with, but it happens far too often. Now, without further a do….
Five years and four movies ago, Robert Downey Jr made his mainstream comeback in one of the better received superhero movies of the time, a movie that was certainly right place, right time, but doesn’t hold much weight beyond establishing Tony Stark as a character in the first 45 minutes. The second movie, while more bland and aloof, also had its place in the context of introducing characters and concepts that would eventually lead up to The Avengers, a movie that’s no doubt a landmark for franchise cinema, but again, like its predecessors, was tailor-fitted to Marvel’s business model. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a brilliant business model, but it was restrictive in many ways.
The distinct advantage that Iron Man 3 has over all three of its predecessors is that it’s no longer held back by the need to build up to an Avengers movie. That’s practically going to take care of itself at this point, allowing director Shane Black to tell a more focused story, with much more of a political edge to it than any Marvel Studios movie till date. It’s a film that starts out as a character-centric and allegorical superhero spy thriller, the kind of movie that Tony Stark and the Marvel Universe DESERVE, and it manages to hold up that end of the bargain quite well for a little while, proving to be equal parts engaging and entertaining, while maintaining a distinctly modern comicbook feel, both in terms of grandeur, as well as an edge for socio-political commentary….
…..and then, about half way through the movie, it all starts to fall apart.
Let me be clear, Iron Man 3 is not a bad movie, it’s just not a very good one. It’s a lot to take in, so this review is going to go off in quite a number of directions, much like the movie itself, but I’m going to try and keep it relatively spoiler-free, until and unless otherwise specified. I’m not entirely sure where I should begin, because almost every aspect of the movie seems to have a pro and a con to it, and it’s a really loaded film, which results in it being impressively layered at times, but by the end of it, leaves it far too bloated to support its own weight. It’s better than most of the Marvel Studios movies, but that isn’t exactly saying much at this point.
The spring-summer transition offers a wide variety of explosions, so it’s nice to see a smaller movie come out right before things get crazy. When I say smaller, I mean that mostly in relation to its distant, secluded southern feel. No big city life or big city buzz. A slice of Americana that we won’t see again this year until the first half hour of Man Of Steel. Of course, that in itself is neither a good or bad thing, but in the case of Mud, it most definitely works.
Before getting in to the nitty-gritties, Mud is a rather strange movie, one that tries to emphasize various different aspects of the lives of its characters in its satisfactory 130 minute run time. It’s small, but it’s by no means un-ambitious, making damn sure to give each character their due. It tries to do a lot, perhaps a little too much at times, but no matter what it does at any given moment, it does is really well.
Ah, yes. It’s that time of year again. That wonderful season where we flock to the theaters in vast numbers to be part of not one, not two, but an array of different movie events that have that unique summer quality to them. Action, sci-fi, superheros and cars, Summer 2013 has it all, and more.
And now, without further a do, my list of the top movies to look forward to during what is setting itself up to be a glorious summer….
To be perfectly honest, I’m not a big fan of the Fast & Furious series. In fact, the only one I’ve seen is the fourth installment, and I kind of hated it, However, I’ve heard nothing but good things about the fifth one (which I plan on watching prior to the sixth’s release) and the sixth itself looks, for lack of a better word, insane. It’s a film that’s looking to push the boundaries of what’s expected in an all-out, mindless action movie, labeling itself a proprietor of ‘vehicular warfare’ and showing off some of the most ballsy and ludicrous action in any trailer ever. Plus, Dwayne Johnson is always entertaining. ALWAYS.
Thankfully, this one isn’t a sequel to the absolute disaster that was X-Men: Origins. In fact, apart from its timeline, it may not be much of a sequel at all, telling a standalone story about an all too familiar self-regenerating, adamantium-clawed mutant. The film seems to pick up years after the death of Jean Grey in X-Men: The Last Stand, dealing with a lost Logan looking for meaning in his existence. It draws inspiration from Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s famous Japan-based arc from the early 80s, and while the action featured in the trailer doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy, it seems to hint at a character-centric story with mortality as its central theme. It may not be a Darren Aronofsky movie like we had once hoped, but it’s safe to say that James Mangold knows how to make a movie, and this one seems to have a really interesting tone to it.
His first non Transformers film since 2005, Pain & Gain is movie that Michael Bay seems to have been trying to make for some time now. It has a mediocre budget of $25 million, relatively speaking, and is based on a true story from the mid 90s about a group of bodybuilders who become involved with the kidnapping and torture of the audience for two hours. Or wait, maybe that was just the movie.
Michael Bay has received some much deserved criticism about his movies, and he’s very well aware of it, which is why Pain & Gain begins as ostensible satire, seemingly self-reflexive in its portrayal of modern gung-ho American patriotism and the portrayal of its fitness-driven main characters, played by Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Each actor certainly does a fine job with what they’re given, but what they’re given slowly rots away into unwatchable filth as the movie goes on.
The Forbes article in question compares the new Man Of Steel trailer to Christopher Nolan’s Batman films based on its tone, and while I can see why such a parallel is being made, it’s not one I agree with, and I tried my best to articulate why in this Facebook post.
Here’s a transcription of it:
“Hi. I’m sorry Forbes, but your knowledge of Superman seems to be predicated solely on his mainstream media image over the last 35 years, a la the Richard Donner films, the cartoons and Smallville. Furthermore, you seem to be ignoring the relatively essential notion that Superman is a character, not a costume. Granted, I should probably point out that your seemingly narrow opinion of the movie is based on the trailer alone, but your article’s headline seems to imply as such (whether intentionally or unintentionally) and the rest of us are going ga-ga over that same trailer alone, so let’s leave that out for now. But what I’d like to conclude with, is the fact that this very same mainstream image of Superman that you seem to subscribe to, happens to be tarnished. You can’t turn a street corner without hearing someone say Superman is ‘boring’ because he’s “immortal” and “nothing can hurt him” and other such fantasies, because that’s the image that YOU, the media, have branded upon him. The stereotype of a superhero. So don’t turn around and proclaim the writers to be narrow minded because this version of Superman doesn’t fit his watered down zeitgeist image. You’re talking about a character that has endured SEVENTY FIVE YEARS of comic, television and film media (if not conquered) to become the most recognizable superhero in all of fiction, and you seem to think that’s because he smiles a lot? Because he’s colorful and wears a costume? I’m not denying that this is certainly part of what makes him iconic…. Hold on. Sidebar. I realize Forbes will probably never see this post, and I also realize this comes across as fanboyish whining, but I’ve been looking for an excuse to articulate my thoughts on the character since the new trailer hit earlier today, and this seemed like a perfect jumping in point. It’s not an argument, it’s a context. Anyway, moving on…. I’m not denying that this is certainly part of what makes him iconic, but what makes him a character worth writing about and a character worth reading, is who he is as a person. The things he does, and why he does them. And there’s no way to aptly justify any of his actions without getting to the root of who he is. This isn’t a “darker” Superman, it’s the same Superman that’s existed for decades. It’s a more Clark Kent focused Superman, and a more Kal-El focused one, but it still seems to try and encapsulate who Superman is. The person. The icon. The outcast. The hero…. Also, the parallel to Bruce Wayne is lazy. If anything, he’s more like Peter Parker. Cheers”
You might not agree with me, but these are just my thoughts on a character that I’ve loved since I was a child :)
Boasting a rather catchy trailer that’s part family drama part technology riff, Disconnect has already set itself up to be one of those rare, technologically centered films that doesn’t use its backdrop as some sort of gimmick (Uploading Virus, 99% complete) but instead seems to focus on the pitfalls of the online world we live in. The movie itself? It’s all that and much more.
I’m always a little cautious as far as modern technology in movies is concerned. Sequences involving Facebook or text messaging always seem like they’re told from the perspective of someone who doesn’t actually use it themselves, but ar are annoyed at the fact that their children do. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Henry Alex Rubin’s feature debut, as the documentarian has taken a realistic approach to three specific facets of the internet; fraud, impersonation and pornography. However, Disconnect isn’t so much a movie ABOUT technology as it is a carefully crafted, interwoven character piece told through a technological lens.
In 2004, Shane Carruth burst on to the Sundance scene with his cerebral sci-fi film Primer, a near budget-less work of genre cinema that ranks amongst the outings of even the most seasoned filmmakers. Nearly a decade later, he returns with Upstream Color, a film that’s as beautiful as it is hard to explain, and one that proves to be an overwhelming emotional and intellectual experience, perhaps on par with anything that Terrence Malick has ever done.
While it’s hard to put a finger on, Upstream Color is a film that appears to be about entanglement; emotional, mental, physical, and even metaphysical. It’s a high concept sci-fi piece in the form of pictorial poetry, its premise providing just enough of a push to send the characters, sounds and images into an emotional whirlwind, a bizarre jigsaw puzzle with its pieces strewn about, but one that you may not even want to solve because of how they’re laid on the ground before you. There’s an instinctual order or Carruth’s chaos, one that’s hard to rationalize, but one that yields absolutely fascinating results.
There’s always a certain amount of apprehension I have when going to see a movie that’s racially themed. Not because the subject matter is touchy (well, it can be at times) but because in a lot of cases, these movie tend to cater to apologists. They portray things in a very black and white manner, if you’ll excuse the unintentional pun, and more often than not, fall under the “sorry for oppression” category of race-related filmmaking. Crash was superficial and on the nose, The Blind Side ended up a Sandra Bullock vehicle, The Help all but implied that white people started the American civil rights movement, and the same sentiment exists in other forms if you look at the likes of Avatar or The Last Samurai. Maybe it’s just my own paranoia about such things, or that I actively WANTED to find such an instance in this movie, which would allow me to call out the people involved for pandering and/or taking the safe route. But the fact remains, I could find no such instance no matter how hard I looked. And if it exists, I probably missed it because I was so damn invested in the movie.
42 is about the events leading up to the inclusion of one Jackie Robinson in Major League Baseball, a historic landmark for the sport as he was the first African American in the league. It’s also about Robinson himself, and how he deals with the struggle. It’s also about Branch Rickey, the man who brought him on board. It’s about the Brooklyn Dodgers at the time. It’s about sports at the time, about society at the time, and about a society that was seeing the earliest stages of radical shift in a definite direction.
It’s about the number 42 in the context of Baseball, and everything that it represents.