Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Purge: Anarchy


Going into the pre-screening for this film, my expectations weren't terribly high due to my slight ambivalence over its predecessor.  I didn't really care about any of the characters; actually wanted one or two of the main characters to just die already.

This film, however, turns it all the round.

It feels as if the first film almost didn't exist, or was so terribly irrelevant, it's not worth mentioning anymore.  This film is like... "The Hunger Games" meets "The Following" meets...the dynamic of the survivors in The Walking Dead, while starring a lead that's akin to a Liam Neeson character in basically any action movie he's ever done.  I care about these characters, damn it.  I want to know how (and if) they survive The Purge.

Given how much senseless violence that occurs in this country, a film like "The Purge: Anarchy" doesn't seem entirely far fetched.  Most people lock themselves away, and want no part of it, while a small few take glee in the violence and destruction, quick to crow it's their right, bestowed upon them by their forefathers.  This adds an extra, creepy layer to both the scenario and its violence.


That being said, this movie is not goretastic (that's a made up word, I know)--one of the most chilling deaths, involving lots of machetes, we don't even get to see.  I am thankful for that.  This film shows violence without bashing you over the head with it (no pun intended).

All in all, I'd give it three stars.  Yep.  It's solid, suspenseful, and contains likable (although sometimes really, really, really annoying characters who you so want to be just...backhand slapped one good time in the face) characters.

I anxiously await its sequel.  Or, seeing this one more time.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Maleficent and the Power of Pure Love

Yes, pure love, and not true love.

Note: Very mild spoilers.



Admittedly, I am a HUGE Angelina fan, but I did in fact go into this film as an impartial viewer.  If it had sucked, I would be honest and say that it did, but it did not.

Let's start with the audience--lots of children and their mom's (specifically), with smatterings of adults, mostly women, and a few men.  I saw this in 3D.  This is yet another film where 3D is wholly unnecessary, yet the CGI and fight scenes were great.  The beauty in this film was made of CGI whimsy, and lacked the "I''m in a video game!" feel of "Avatar."  Though the whimsy is short lived, and only present for a fraction of the time.  This film is not only dark in tone, but in design (and with great, valid reason).

This is an origins story, told by a much older Aurora, which gives validity to the tale.  Think of it as an "Ever After" type of fairy tale (with actual fairies).  Maleficent, an orphan, is deemed protector of the Moors where the fairies live due to her abnormally large size.  She meets a young, human boy, and eventually falls in love.  Tale as old as time, right?  Until said boy grows up into a power hungry man, roofies her, and disfigures her in her drug induced slumber, leaving her to walk slowly on a cane for most of the film.


Maleficent becomes bitter and enraged, appointing herself as Queen of the Moors, building her strength, then strikes when her assailant [and former love] is made a King and father.  She gives him the mind-fuck of all time via a curse on his baby girl (not a spoiler).  The results are instantaneous, as he sends the baby away for sixteen years, never visiting her, and never having any other children.  He also abandons his wife for his obsession to destroy Maleficent, and eventually becomes Gary Busey-like in manner.

Jolie is stunning in her fairy prosthetics and devil headgear, and shows us the power of pure love as opposed to (and shown to be fabled) true love, and showing how it can change us and help us grow for the better. Also, props for having a black guy with a speaking role in this film (which is rare for fantasy/period films).

Worth the ten bucks.

 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

"X-Men: Days of Future Past" Leaves the Past Behind

But in a good way.

Fourteen years ago, I was disappointed in the first "X-Men" film, in spite of adoring the performances and portrayals of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, Sir Ian McKellen's Magneto, and Sir Patrick Stewart's Professor X.  As the years passed on and the movies rolled out, this sense of tremendous disappointment would continue onward until 2013's "The Wolverine," which was Bryan Singer free, with James Mangold at the helm (which has a sequel in the works.  Yay!).

In spite of being at the "X-Men: Days of Future Past" panel last year, I was skeptical (and have been skeptical for sometime) because Bryan Singer, who brought me film on top of film of disappointment of some kind over the years, was once again the director.

I'm happy to report that I am more than happily surprised.


This film redeemed all of the other films that sort of crapped on my childhood.  I loved watching the X-Men cartoon on Saturday mornings.

And I don't mean redeemed in just style, story, music, and editing, but also the acting.

Halle Berry finally portrays Storm properly.  I loved how they changed her aesthetics--very fitting.  And while it's true, she doesn't say much, she looks more serious and subdued.  Something about her previous performances always came off as not-serious/a bit of a joke to me.

Jennifer Lawrence--her role previously in "X-Men: First Class" was a total dud.  But I'm starting to think it's because she doesn't do carefree very well.  Raven in that film verses Raven in this film is ten times better.  She is clearly burdened and colder.  She rarely smiles in this film.  She's somber and on a path of vengeance, and this is the type of role that suits Lawrence quite well, and she was able to serve the character properly this time around.

This is the second time travel film I've seen this week, and it did it right (as well).

My only criticism of this film is that there wasn't nearly enough Quick Silver.  What a great character.  Evan Peters, just steal my heart.  Oh, that's right, Michael Fassbender, who had a plethora of screen time, has already taken it.

In closing, if action/sci-fi/fantasy films are your thing, and if you liked the previous films (even if you didn't), I recommend this film as part of your summer movie experience.

Happy Watching!


 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

"Edge of Tomorrow" Movie Review

Note: For those of you who don't like to read, scroll down to check out my sixty-second movie review on YouTube.

Tonight, I was able to attend a pre-screening of Tom Cruise's latest sci-fi action film, "Edge of Tomorrow."

I was actually at San Diego Comic Con, and terribly shocked when Tom Cruise walked on stage to talk on the panel of this film.  Can I just say how much I squeed when he did that, and he looked at me and winked.  Winked!


*feels special*

Anyway, I went into this film a bit skeptically, given my gigantic disappointment with the first two films to kick off the summer sucked balls for me.  No, really.

*Glares at "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"; Squints at "Godzilla"*


"Edge of Tomorrow" brings a butt-load of action, comedy, intrigue, and a smidge of romance to this time traveling flick, which is basically "Groundhog's Day" meets "Independence Day."  I'd classify this film as a sci-fi action thriller, layered with comedy.  It isn't straitlaced, but takes itself seriously at the same time.  I like the reasoning for time-travel here (and we do get a concrete reason).  Everything just works in it.  Everything.  I saw it in 3-D, a medium I'm terribly "meh" on, and even that worked!  I didn't feel like I was looking at a video game or anything.

Now, off with you to the movies!

Well in June.  This film shall be released June 6th.



Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Trouble with Godzilla

I saw "Godzilla" yesterday, a film I'd been looking forward to since last summer.


Sadly to say, I was grossly disappointed.

Here is a bullet pointed list explaining why:


  • There wasn't nearly enough Bryan Cranston.  For a film that wanted to have monologues and focus on character, they didn't utilize the best actor asset they had.
  • The film also didn't have nearly enough Godzilla.  The bug creature things got way more screen time, and were generally unpleasant to look at.  [I really, really hate bugs.]
  • Not!Mary Kate or Ashely Olsen bothered me.  Maybe it's because I keep thinking of her sisters, but something about her face seems off.  Could be her nose.  As for her character--she was so terribly disinterested in the welfare of her husband, who potentially could have been dead, to the point where she makes one phone call to locate him, then leaves her phone on vibrate.  Um... 
  • Anytime there was a decent action scene a-brewin', it would jump cut to several moments (sometimes hours) later.  Why?  Did they not have enough money in their budget to fund the CGI?  Speaking of--
  • Why the crap does Godzilla have cankles?  He didn't look very lizard like...
  • After all of the in depth backstory and explaining how these massive beings came to be, I am still unsure of where Godzilla was all that time (admittedly, I lost about 20-30 minutes of the film, for I fell asleep), or why they thought, sorry, knew he would battle the other two giant creatures to the death.
  • And finally, the biggest flaw with this film?  They didn't have Stephen Spielberg at the helm. I think under his supervision, it would have been done how it was supposed to be.  I'm not sure anyone lesser could pull off this particular film properly.  Peter Jackson may have also been a good choice (but my money's on Spielberg).

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DIVERGENT Movie Review

While I have not read the books, I was all too curious to see the latest in teen film phenomena (presumably), "Divergent."  In addition to it taking place and being filmed in my awesome city of Chicago, was based on the novel by Veronica Roth, who wrote the first one as her thesis for a creative writing class at Northwestern University.


I was able to see a pre-screening at IMAX for this film.  The trailers left me intrigued, but sometimes, you can never be too sure.  I must say that it wasn't misleading.

"Divergent" offers a spin on some new ideals, but includes all the basics to make for an engaging film--action, angst, that feeling of being different/other/outsider, romance and change.


There is some strong supporting cast, including Ashley Judd, Kate Winslet, and Tony Goldwyn.  Newcomer Theo James is a great male lead--nice to look at, and not too shabby on the acting.


All these things and more were enough for me to overlook the weak acting efforts delivered by Shailene Woodley as the lead, Tris.  Good lord, there was just no...real zest to her.  Oh sure, she was nowhere near as dull and unbearable as Kristen Stewart's Bella, but there's still something integral missing.  I watched her on screen and thought of Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy or Jennifer Gardner's Sydney Bristow.  Geena Davis' Charli Baltimore.  To have both that edginess and tenderness is a tricky thing, and for the moment, Woodley does not have that.

I think this would have been a role better suited for Saoirse Ronan or Michelle Trachtenberg.

That being said, it's a great film.  I plan to see the other two in the series, and check out the books, and you should too.

Meeting Josh Holloway and Ian Somerhalder

Today's Fangirl moment is brought to you by Karen:

Last night at the LOST panel at Paleyfest, I finally fulfilled my ten year quest to meet, talk to and get an autograph from Josh Holloway. Needless to say, I am more than thrilled.


As expected, he was a real Southern gentleman. He was only going to sign my photo, but after seeing the TV Guide with me yelling at him at the season 6 premiere, he signed that too! This Lostie's mission is accomplished ;p

Also, called me "darlin'" and touched my shoulder after the signing.


After, I saw Ian Somerhalder. He had to rush to catch a plane and said he could not sign, but guess who he recognized and stopped for?

That's right.

He said "Oh hi, sweetie. How are ya?" I said please Ian and he said, "Okay, I will for you." He only signed for me and the girl next to me.



 *sigh*

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