The Martian (Movie Review)

“Sailors, fighting in the dance hall. Oh man, look at those cavemen go…”

It’s kind of an atrocity that “Life on Mars” wasn’t played once during the movie. “Starman” was though, so I suppose that’s something.

The Martian

Directed by: Ridley Scott

Produced by: Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, Aditya Sood, Mark Huffam

Screenplay by: Drew Goddard

Based on: The Martian by Andy Weir

Genres: Science fiction, drama

Starring: Matt Damon, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie

Plot: In the (Hopefully not-so) distant future, NASA has put people on Mars.

And crackpot conspiracy nuts are undoubtedly denying it up and down.

So, who are the lucky bastards who get to leave everybody and everything that they know and love on a whole different planet a hundred trillion miles away (Or whatever the hell the exact measurements are)? Well, specifically, they’re scientists tasked with learning as much as possible about Marvin’s home turf.

Unfortunately, Marvin’s scenes had to be cut from the movie due to lack of cohesiveness. Look for them on the director’s cut!

One of these expeditions, Ares III, is forced to abort their mission because of a storm, and unfortunately, one of the crew members, Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is killed by debris during the evacuation….

… Or is he?…

… I mean, obviously, he survives, because otherwise, we wouldn’t have a premise for the movie. I mean, we could have one focusing on the guilt the other crew members feel about leaving him dead on- ah, fuck that, I’m getting off track.

Watney survives, and eventually makes contact with NASA, but since it takes a shit-tonne of time to get from Earth to Mars, Mark can’t count on help arriving anytime soon, and must find a way to survive on the Red Planet as the good folks at NASA work to bring him home.

Truth be told, I’ve never been a huge fan of Ridley Scott’s. Yeah, I know that Blade RunnerAlien and Thelma & Louise are all great, and Gladiator is one of my favourite movies, but if you look at his filmography as a whole. there’s a lot of crappy stuff in there. His last couple of movies especially haven’t been kind to his reputation.

In fact, Ridley Scott was the one aspect of The Martian that was making me consider going to see Sicario instead. The near-universal acclaim that The Martian is getting swayed me back into its’ corner, though.

Good thing it did too, because The Martian is absolutely one of my favourite movies of 2015 so far.

This movie will make you want to quadruple NASA’s budget.

One can’t exactly make a movie where 50% of the action takes place in space, have it look like shit, and still come out of it with arms raised in a victory pose. Thankfully, like the the other major space movies of recent years (Gravity and Interstellar), this movie promises to show us outer space (Specifically Mars, obviously) and it delivers in spades. It maybe doesn’t reach the level of the other two movies in terms of pure CGI goodness, but the visual effects are still top-notch, and the beautiful cinematography and steady direction don’t hurt either. What it piles on top of the effects and cinematography though, is what really makes the movie for me. Specifically, the awesome, involving story from Drew Goddard (And I suppose Andy Reid’s novel, which I haven’t read, also deserves praise), of Cabin in the Woods fame. The dialogue and banter is surprisingly buoyant humorous, something one wouldn’t expect from subject matter like this.

Obviously, the movie makes a point to show the isolation and loneliness that Watney is feeling throughout, because holy shit, how could it not, but it also makes a point to have a sense of humour about itself, and not make the audience wallow in a sense of despair. Aside from the surprisingly good, solid, mood-lightening humour, the main character’s infectious optimism is such a welcome touch. It would have been so easy to have Watney sulk around in a haze of self-pity throughout the runtime, only having breakthroughs when it conveniences the plot. What he actually does is a million times more entertaining to watch, and what he does is attack every problem with such an unrelenting sense of positivity that makes you root for the guy to get home that much more. If life handed him lemons, he would not only make lemonade, he could probably somehow make Fireball.

No, university’s treating me fine. Why do you ask?

Of course, also to be thanked for Watney’s incredible likability is Matt Damon’s performance, which is great. , because he’s Matt Fucking Damon, and he’s great. However, lost in the fact that Damon is the one with his face plastered on all the publicity is the fact that the cast assembled for The Martian is one to be reckoned with. Jessica Chastain doesn’t have as much to do as she did in Interstellar, but she’s still great at what she does, and she shows it here. Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig and Sean Bean are all A+ as the dedicated, underfunded (AHEM) folks at NASA, and Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie and Michael Pena all have excellent chemistry with each other and Matt Damon as the crew members of ARES III. Somebody I was really surprised and happy to see appears in the middle of the movie, but I won’t say who it is to preserve the surprise.

It’s kind of like Matt Damon in Interstellar. Except, y’know, good.

The Martian is one of those movies  where it really takes a lot of effort to find any flaws whatsoever, but if I had to nitpick, I would have to say that, as welcome as Watney’s optimism is, it can skew a bit on the unrealistic side at times. That said, the movie does make a point to frequently show his discouragement with the situation, so I guess that argument’s pretty much moot.

I dunno, would anybody have a problem with me labelling it as the closest possible thing to a perfect movie? Because that’s pretty much all there is to it.

Overall: Excellent visuals, terrific performances and a cheerful sense of humour and positivity make The Martian one of the best movies of the year.

Rating: 9.5/10

Now, who else can’t wait for Prometheus 2!?!?

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The Visit (Extremely Belated Movie Review)

“I see dead people…”

I am writing the first draft of this review in the cafeteria of my new school, MacEwan University, in between my Human Interaction class and my Introductory Japanese class. I have no idea how my unscholarly self got into one of my better universities in Western Canada, but at this point, I’m just enjoying the experience until they (Whoever they may be) inevitably figure out that I’m a hack and kick my dumb ass out.

Speaking of hacks…

Best segue ever!!!

The Visit 

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, hours and hours of both horrifying and hilarious entertainment)

Produced by: Marc Bienstock, Jason Blum, M. Night Shyamalan

Written by: M. Night Shyamalan

Genre: Comedy, horror

Starring: Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Deanna Dunagan, Peter McRobbie, Kathryn Hahn

Music by: Paul Cantelon

Plot: 15-year old Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and her brother, 13-year old Tyler (Ed Oxenbould) are sent off to some hick town in Pennsylvania  by their mom (Kathryn Hahn), a single mother who’s taking this time taking this time to go on a well-deserved vacation. Becca is a wannabe documentary filmmaker, thus giving an excuse for this movie to fall into the tired “found footage” genre (Although now that I think of it, how many 15-year olds do you know that give a shit about documentaries?), and Tyler is a rapper who is not shy at all about sharing his…Um…. “Talents”

Pictured: The audience’s appropriate response to that last statement.

While in rural Pennsylvania, the kids visit their grandparents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) who, at first, seem like regular, kind old folks. However, when the sun goes down, a different side of them emerges… And it’s discovered that Nana and Pop-Pop are completely bananas, even for most people.

Hey, you’d be crazy too if your state was the home of the Phillies. ZING!

I’ll be here all day, folks…

The rise and fall of M. Night Shyamalan has been so well-documented that I probably don’t need to mention it. I will though, because I’m a sadist.

After skyrocketing out of obscurity with the classic thriller The Sixth Sense and following hat up with the great deconstruction of superheroes that is Unbreakable, and fooling everybody into liking the critical and commercial successful crap-fest that is Signs, Shyamalan found himself on shaky ground with the massive cock-tease that is The Village before vomiting out absolute dogshit like Lady in the Water and The Happening. Lessening his tiresome shtick of twists that got less intelligent with each movie, M.Night tried his hand at two mainstream blockbusters: The Last Airbender (Based on one of my favourite TV shows of all time) and the Jaden/Will Smith nepotistic fever dream known as After Earth. Both of them failed miserably critically and commercially, with the former frequently featured on lists of the worst movies of all time. Shyamalan’s propensity for boring, exposition-ridden dialogue, wide-angle shots, pointless, insipid twists, and tendency to to somehow suck the talent and charisma out of supremely talented actors like Mark Wahlberg and Will Smith made him the butt of many jokes told by critics and internet commenters the world over. It didn’t help that Shyami has (Or had) quite the ego, inserting himself into Lady in the Water as a monumentally important writer, and writing a character for the very same movie that is little more than a caricature of a snarky, miserable critic who gets devoured by wolves.

As a snarky, miserable and critical person, I’m very offended by this.

I admit to getting in on the act of hating relentlessly on M.Night for quite a while. For further proof of his, see my angry, incoherent review of After Earth from two-ish years ago (Actually, please don’t). But, now that I’ve blossomed from a misanthropic, untalented and childlike 17-year old into a misanthropic, untalented and childlike 18 3/4-year old, I’ve gained a new perspective on this supremely important issue. While I still think that pretty much every movie that he’s done after Unbreakable is pretty much irredeemable shit, I appreciate that he comes across as someone who really loves his craft and wants to entertain. And with The Visit, Shyamalan seems to be returning to his roots, making a small-budget, semi-satire of horror movies set back in his home state of Pennsylvania.

And it’s not a classic, or anything, but hey, even a merely good movie is a monumental improvement over Airbender and After Earth, so rejoice remaining Shyamalan fans! Your king has taken baby steps towards reclaiming the glory and respectability he enjoyed at the turn of the century!

I found that it greatly increased my enjoyment of the movie when I didn’t think of it so much as a horror movie, but as kind of a dark comedy. Odd that Shyamalan would delve into comedy when his attempts at comic relief in his recent movies are the only parts that DIDN’T leave me laughing hysterically, but there you go.

From what I’ve heard, Shyamalan directed two cuts of The Visit. One of the two is pure horror (Yuck) and the other is pure comedy. Apparently, the finished product is a blend of those two cuts, and in the comedic aspect, it works very well. Not only is the humour very well-written (!!!), Shyamalan also willingly parodies himself, showing that he’s maybe realized some of his mistakes from his past projects…

About. Fucking. Time.

… And his self-critique proves surprisingly effective. The problem with that is that the strength of the comedy actually exposes the weakness of the horror.

Granted, I really fucking hate 99.99% of all horror movies, so maybe I’m not the one whose opinion you should be seeking out  out on this aspect of the movie, but for all the elements of shitty mainstream horror movies that The Visit  does a good job of poking fun at, there are plenty of cliched horror elements that do sneak in that kind of take me out of it. There are plenty of stupid jumpscares to go around, to my chagrin and, to be honest, the horror element was extremely tedious compared to the story progression and the humour. I felt like I had to suffer through the horror (And to be fair, there was a fair bit of good humour injected into the horror) until I could get to the humour.

The combination of black comedy works well enough… Until the climax, when things kind of fall apart, tone-wise. At that point, the horror and comedy go to such opposite extremes that it really is extremely jarring.

And while the writing is good, one must always remember that this is still a post-Unbreakable M.Night Shyamalan script, and while it’s not as off-putting as, say, the script for The Last Airbender, of which I have been known to buy multiple copies of to burn in a bonfire while laughing maniacally and mainling pure ethanol, this one, while solid and frequently clever, does suffer from some noticeable plot holes. Nothing that serious, but definitely a detriment.

That said, there are some legitimately touching moments to be found, and the characters are well-written enough that they don’t need massive amounts of exposition. Not only that, but Shyamalan, who hasn’t exactly built up a reputation for being an actor’s director…

Ahem.

… Gets some pretty great performances out of his actors this time around. The older folks are terrific and suitably creepy, but the chi;d actors are really good. Like, Haley Joel Osment good. Granted, this and The Sixth Sense are very different movies, but… Well, you get the idea.

Olivia DeJonge is awesome as a character who I suspect is supposed to be sort of a parody of Shyamalan, but even better is Ed Oxenbould as the younger brother. I know that I lost most of you when I said that his character is a rapper, an believe me, I get it. It is fairly annoying and cringe-worthy at first, but I figure it’s kind of supposed to be that way. Nobody puts a 13-year old rapper in their movie and expects you to take them seriously. That’d be like the inverse of putting a Holocaust scene in a movie and screaming “LAUGH DAMMIT! WHY WON’T YOU LAUGH!!!” when they won’t stop sobbing.

Overall: The consensus seems to be that this is Shyamalan’s best movie since Signs or The Village. These people are under the mistaken impression that Signs and The Village are actually good. While not a great movie, The Visit is Shyamalan’s best movie since Unbreakable and is an extremely welcome return to form for the much-maligned director, One can only hope that he keeps his second shot at respectability going.

Rating: 7/10

OH, FOR FUCK’S SAKE!!!

August 2015 Movie Round-up

Featured image

This image is a lot more humourous when you don’t imagine the sound of that guy’s ankle inevitably snapping after the fact.

Aaaaaaaand summer’s over. Fuck.

Soon, bugs will die by the truckload. Leaves will bail from their trees at the first sign of chilly weather like the unfaithful bastards they are. Children and most teenagers will be back in school (Hah, losers!), and the other teenagers and young adults, if they’re not working full-time, will be back in university (Aw, nuts).

Since September is looking of be a real dumpster fire of a month when it comes to movies (Which suits me well, since I’m trying to focus more on other stuff, anyways), let’s take a quick, extremely half-assed look at some of the movies from earlier in the year that I got around to seeing last month instead of going to the cinema, because aside from Straight Outta Compton, August 2015 can go fuck itself.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Just think: This movie came out the same weekend as Kingsman: The Secret Service, a movie that, very graphically, includes Colin Firth murdering an entire congregation inside of a church. And the latter was the more romantic movie.

Directed by: Sam Taylor-Johnson

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Eloise Mumford, Jennifer Ehle, Marcia Gay Harden

Plot: Plain (You know, for Hollywood) college student Anastasia Ste- Wait. ANASTASIA STEELE?!?! BAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

Okay, okay. As a writer myself, I get it. Names can be tough. You want a name that fits and/or says something about your character, but you don’t want it to be too obvious, and yeah, a name like “Jane Smith” would be boring, but “ANASTASIA STEELE!?!?!?!”

Fuck off, E.L. James. Just for that, I’m skipping the plot summary and short blurb. You gave up all hope of that semblance of dignity when the thought of naming your protagonist/Avatar ANASTASIA FUCKING STEELE, and I’m not going to encourage you.

Besides, it’s not like anybody doesn’t doesn’t know the premise of the book. It’s a Twilight fanfic minus vampires and werewolves and plus bondage. I don’t know what part of that is screaming “make me a fucking movie”, but silly me thinking that Hollywood cares about the quality of the source material it adapts.

Unrelated Hitman: Agent 47 publicity photo.

  • + The two leads actually to a pretty solid job with what little worthwhile material that they’re given. They don’t stand out or anything, and everyone else is fairly terrible, but they don’t embarrass themselves, and that’s a small mercy in this movie.
  • The cinematography and direction in general are also quite good. It’s very cold and clinical, which can work with the tone sometimes. It’s not Kubrick, but it’s alright.
  • – Unfortunately, this same coldness makes the movie about as erotic and emotional as Spock and the T-800’s sextape.

Though that would probably be a lot more watchable than Fifty Shades of Grey

  • – This movie should’ve embraced the fact that everybody thinks the book is terribly written trash. At least that would’ve been more entertaining.
  • – If you want to learn absolutely nothing about BDSM culture except that there’s dominants, submissives, and sometimes, a metric shitton of leather is involved, then have I got the movie for you!

Rating: 4/10

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun has a freakishly enormous tail! Look at that fucking thing!

Directed by: Richard Starzak and Mark Burton

Starring: Justin Fletcher, John Sparks, Omid Djaili

Plot: Growing tired of the same old routine at their farm on the countryside, a flock of sheep, led by the one apparently known as Shaun (Although you wouldn’t know without the title. This movie has little to no dialogue whatsoever) decide to take a day off from the daily grind. Unfortunately, through various hijinks, their actions result in the Farmer getting lost in a nearby city. Accompanied by the loyal sheepdog, Shaun and the flock must venture into the city to bring him back home, all while evading the local Evil Animal Control Guy.

Shaun the Sheep is the latest movie from Aardman Animations, the British stop-motion animation studio who brought us Wallace & Gromit and Flushed Away, among other stuff. This latest movie is based off of a TV show (Also made by Aardman), and as far as kids’ show adaptations go, it’s probably one of the better ones we’ve seen in a while. That last sentence should most definitely not be seen as high praise, by the way.

FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUCK OOOOOOOOOOOFFFFFFFFFF.

  • Stop-motion animation looks like hell to create. That said, when done right, it can rival CGI and hand-drawn animation. I don’t think Shaun the Sheep  quite attains that level of greatness, but it’s still really good, regardless.
  • Shit, I dunno, it’s funny? I have literally nothing to say about this movie, you guys.

Rating: 7.5/10

Trainwreck

I just realized: Amy Schumer is John Cena’s boyfriend at the beginning of this movie… And she has dated Dolph Ziggler in real life…                                                                                                                     I dunno, I think there’s some potential WWE storylines that we’re missing out on.

Directed by: Judd Apatow

Starring: Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Tilda Swinton, Colin Quinn, John Cena, Mike Birbiglia, Vanessa Bayer, Ezra Miller, LeBron James

Plot: Amy Townsend (Amy Schumer) is not the most responsible person you will ever meet. Devoted to a lifestyle of drinking, partying, smoking pot and sex with multiple partners, she had it drilled into her head by her father (Colin Quinn) that monogamy is not a realistic ideal. However, this lifestyle of her is challenged when she meets funny, charming sports doctor Aaron Conners (Bill Hader), and hijinks ensue.

Aside from the gender/role reversal and a few wrinkles here and there (Amy can be straight-up cruel and unlikable a lot of the time), Trainwreck plays out more or less like your average rom-com, except much cruder. Which is awesome, because the romcom genre and its many cliches are getting fucking unwatchable at this point, and if we can’t expect an original storyline, the least we can hope for is really good comedy, and Trainwreck delivers on that front.

  • WHO IS BRIE LARSON, AND WHERE THE HELL HAS SHE BEEN ALL MY LIFE!?!?
  • All the performances in this movie are great, but LeBron James gives us a candidate for the best athlete/actor double threat to ever appear on screen.

I stand wildly corrected.

  • Also, John Cena, because why not?
  • – As is par for the course with a Judd Apatow movie, it probably goes on a little longer than what is needed. Ah well, at least it’s not as bad as Funny People in this respect.

Watch Funny People, by the way. It’s the last movie where Adam Sandler headlined and I didn’t feel like ending it all with every word out of his mouth.

Rating: 8/10

Unfinished Business

Aaaaand now you’re ripping off the Thank You for Smoking poster. Fuck off, movie.

Directed by: Ken Scott

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Tom Wilkinson, Dave Franco, Sienna Miller, James Marsden, Nick Frost

Plot: No. You can’t make me.

Rating: 1/10

The Woman in Black: Angel of Death

Once again, it’s time to play “How many horror cliches can we stuff into one photo”!

Directed by: Tom Harper

Starring: Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine, Helen McCrory Adrian Rawlins, Oaklee Pendergast

I have said before before that I hate horror movies, and while my sentiment on them still hasn’t changed (Give me Wet Hot American Summer over even the most highly-touted horror movie any day), even I realize that there are plenty of good scary movies out there, like The BabadookThe Exorcist and pretty much any foreign horror flick.Hell, I may not enjoy Nightmare on Elm Street, but I can still recognize that it’s a well-made horror movie, technically speaking.

So, why do I still profess to hate the genre? Well, it’s precisely because of dogshit like this movie. If I wasn’t already ambivalent enough towards the genre, I would be insulted that this movie was even considered a horror movie. What this movie is is part of a near-universally despised subgenre of horror that I hereby dub “StartleCore”.

What is StartleCore, you ask? Well, without going into detail (Maybe some other day), it’s any movie that tries to sell itself as a horror movie, but then spends the entire runtime trying to startle the audience with shitty jumpscares instead of focusing on creating an actually scary atmosphere and leaving an impact on the audience.

To summarize, this is one of those movies. There, I just saved you 98 minutes. You’re fucking welcome.

  • Phoebe Fox is actually legitimately good in the lead role. Way to do one thing right, movie!
  • There is one jumpscare that is just a bird flying into a window. Ya done fucked up, movie.
  • – At least this movie makes sure to make sure that a lot of time passes between the jumpscares… Too bad it’s wasted on terrible dialogue and story development that interested me less than try to follow the squiggly lines floating across my eyeballs  until the next bullshit jumpscare.

Rating: 3/10

Mission: Impossible- Rogue Nation

Drool.

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie

Starring: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Rebecca Ferguson, Ving Rhames, Sean Harris, Jens Hulten, Simon McBurney, Alec Baldwin

Look, just watch it. It’s a really good time, and if this movie is any indication, Tom Cruise isn’t going to be alive or not horribly crippled for much longer. You know, unless Scientologists are hiding some kind of cure-all/anti-aging formulas in their churches or whatev- that’s totally it, isn’t it?

There’s a John Travolta joke to be made somewhere in there,  but I think I’ll take the high road, for once in my life. 

July 2015 Movie Round-up

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That horse has eaten and shat out things that would entertain me more than some of these movies.

Just a heads-up, I know that Mission: Impossible is coming out this weekend, and that’s a huge deal, and Fantastic Four (Quick prayer) is coming out next weekend, but I may not be able to see either of them. MI5 is more likely to be missed, unfortunately, but I’ll try to see it some time this weekend, even if the review comes out later than I’d like. Same goes for FF, but… Well, we’ll see.

Whatever, let’s get into this shitshow.

Spy

“I look like someone’s homophobic aunt!”

Directed by: Paul Feig

Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Allison Janney, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale

Plot: Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a CIA agent, but not one of the cool ones, who get to steal state secrets, make quips, assassinate world leaders, and the such. Instead, she is desk-bound, guiding her partner (Jude Law) on his missions through his earpiece. However, criminal heiress Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) steals a nuclear device, and all field agents are unable to go after her, as she has learnt all their identities. In a last-ditch effort to stop The Bomb from getting into the wrong hands, Susan is sent after Rayne. Hilarity ensues.

Before this movie, Melissa McCarthy was struggling to get out of a rut. After a hilarious, Oscar-nominated turn in Bridesmaids, she kind of became a more talented, female version of Kevin James. Identity Thief was awful and The Hangover Part III  didn’t exactly help matters. The Heat was pretty good, but she followed that up with Tammy. I would rather watch somebody getting a needle slowly stuck into their eyeball than watch Tammy again.

After that arid wasteland of a comedy, McCarthy turned in a great dramatic performance opposite Bill Murray in the solid dramedy St. Vincent. Now, in Spy, she gets to join Charlize Theron as one of the biggest of the notable female asskickers this year. Who would’ve thought that?

And guess what Bryce Dallas Howard? She had the foresight to kick all that ass after TAKING OFF HER FUCKING HEELS.

What I loved about this movie is that it doesn’t fall into the trap of making fun of McCarthy’s appearance for the entire runtime. When I compared McCarthy to Kevin Fucking James earlier, I didn’t mean in terms of talent and acting ability, because the best performance that Kevin James has ever turned in is in goddamn Barnyard.

Alternate tagline: “It’s like if the plot from Lion King didn’t want to live!!!”

What I saw in Tammy that worried me was the growing resemblance to a movie like Paul Blart: Mall Cop in terms of story, character and humour. I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s one of those movies that appeals to the lowest common denominator, who just want to see a movie about stupid people who don’t meet societal standards of body image falling over and generally not being funny.

In Spy, McCarthy is not only very funny- She’s extremely capable, highly intelligent, frequently the most capable person in the room and, get this, a legitimate action star. We live in a world in which Melissa McCarthy can be an action star. That is so goddamn awesome.

  • + As awesome as McCarthy is, my favourite performance in this movie that isn’t the guy in the next bullet point is Rose Byrne. After this and Neighbors, we should probably get her a part in Ghostbusters and be done with it.
  • Jason Statham. That is all.
  • This movie single-handedly proves that insult comedy is an art form. I would murder truckloads of people for the ability to write insults half as funny as these ones.

Only for me to still probably forget them in an actual real-life confrontation.

  • – Miranda Hart is really funny, but she kind of gets old the minute her character gets upgraded to a major supporting role.

Rating: 8.5/10

The Boy Next Door

Oh lord, here we go…

Directed by: Rob Cohen

Starring: Jennifer Lopez, Ryan Guzman, John Corbett, Ian Nelson, Kristin Chenoweth

Plot: Claire Peterson (Lopez) is having a rough go of it, going through a separation with her cheating husband (Corbett) and being left with custody of their oft-bullied son (Nelson). All appears to be going better after a new neighbour, Noah,  moves in next door (Guzman) to help his elderly uncle, who only exists as a story device and, without explanation, does not appear again once his story purpose is served. Good job writers! That isn’t infuriatingly bad writing at all!

Anyway, the Boy Next Door (Wank-off motion) helps the son stand up for himself and becomes good friends with him, as well as Claire, who is to be his high school English teacher. One night, after a date gone wrong with a stock asshole character, Claire allows herself to be seduced by Noah, and has a one-night stand with him (But  don’t worry, the movie insists that he’s nineteen, so it’s not technically pedophilia!).

Claire tries to put this behind her, but, surprise! He’s completely insane!

Can’t you tell that from how, uh… Expressive he is???

I expected more from the director of The Fast and the Furious.

  • While Lopez wouldn’t be confused for a good actress, at least she’s not awful in this movie. Just kinda bad. Yes, this is the kind of thing that qualifies as a positive when talking about this movie.
  • – I find it amusing how, in awful thrillers like this, nobody ever has the idea of calling the fucking police. Or, at the very least, trying for a restraining order against the violent stalker.
  • – There’s a scene where Noah gives Claire a “first edition copy of The Iliad” as a present. THis wouldn’t be a big deal… If the first copies of The Iliad weren’t written three thousand years ago in Ancient Greece. Of course, it’s possible that Noah was referring to the first English edition of The Iliad… But in that case, why does it’s condition look like that of something that I would find on a Bestsellers shelf at Indigo?

And for that matter… How the fuck does a nineteen-year old get his hands on a “first-edition” copy of the goddamn Iliad?

  • – Ryan Guzman peaked in the Step Up movies. Awful thing to say about somebody, I know, but… Yeah, he’s pretty horrible.

Rating: 2/10

When Marnie Was There

“You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

Directed by: Hiromasa Yonebayashi

Starring (Japanese cast): Sara Takatsuki, Kasami Arimura

Plot:  Anna Sasaki (Takatsuki) is a lonely, depressed 12-year old girl, tormented by feelings of self-loathing, who suffers from asthma attacks, because apparently, she angered some petty god who decided “Fuck her! Here’s all the bad shit!”. After a particularly bad asthma attack, her parents decide to send her to spend her summer in Kushiro with her aunt and uncle, hoping that the clean air of the Japanese countryside will do her some good.

While in Kushiro, Anna discovers an old, dilapidated mountain on the shore of a salt marsh. While investigating the mansion, she discovers a mysterious blonde foreigner girl named Marnie (Arimura) who only appears at certain times, and who strikes up a close friendship with Anna.

The tough times that Studio Ghibli was going though after the retirement of Hayao Miyazaki a few years back culminated in the legendary animation studio finally going on hiatus in August of last year, but not before releasing their last film, When Marnie Was There. And it’s a damn shame, because When Marnie Was There may be one of the better movies to come out of the studio.

  • + Computer-animated movies can be awesome, but it’s nice to see that there is (Or “was” rather), a studio that still has/had faith in hand-drawn animation. there’s really no good reason why that style of animation appears to be in the middle of being phased out in the West, at least in movies.
  • I hate the cliche of critics guaranteeing that “You will cry!” while watching a movie, but yeah. If you have any semblance of a heart, you probably will cry.
  • I haven’t seen the English dub, but the Japanese version is version is well-acted, for all I know. Who knows, it could be acted by the Japanese equivalent of Rob Schneider, and I wouldn’t know.
  • – If you pay the faintest semblance of attention, it’s pretty easy to figure out the big mystery of the movie on your own. I figured it out about halfway through.

Rating: 8.5/10

The Loft

Captain Cold, Cyclops, Bones and the gay dude from Modern Family, all gathered in one place for your…uh…Amusement?

Directed by: Erik Van Looy

Starring: Karl Urban, James Marsden, Wentworth Miller, Eric Stonestreet, Matthias Schoenaerts. Rhona Mitra, Rachael Taylor, Isabel Lucas

Plot: Five awful, awful people who the movie would have you believe are friends (Urban, Marsden, miller, Stonestreet and Schoenaerts) are co-owners of a loft where they all take their mistresses behind their wives’ backs. One day, they discover a dead woman in the bedroom of the loft, and deduce that one of them must have done the deed, as they’re the only people with keys. Hilarity ensues.

The Loft is based on a Belgian movie of the same name (And same director) that is almost certainly a million times better than this piece of horseshit.

  • – Karl Urban and James Marden do the best that they possibly can with an atrocious script, and do enough to make themselves not unwatchable, at the least. The other actors are fucking terrible, though. Wentworth Miller tries to be crazy, and ends up just staring blankly at everything, occasionally screaming when the plot remembers that he’s supposed to be mentally unbalanced, and not a member of the Walking Comatose. Schoenaerts (Who was actually a cast member of the original movie) plays a fucking caricature, and Eric Stonestreet- Wait, no, Eric Stonestreet gets his own paragraph.
  • – ERIC STONESTREET’S CHARACTER IS THE FUCKING WORST. It’s one thing to present a character as being an obnoxious loudmouth, but this… This goes well beyond that. I felt physically and mentally violated every time this turd opened up his garbage-spewing mouth. I wish that his character got thrown off a fucking building.

I like Eric Stonestreet, though.

  • – As awful as the male characters are, at least James Marsden is a semi-redeemable human being. Wanna find a female character that isn’t a mean conniver, nymphomaniac, or stereotypical jealous, shrewish wife? Good. Fucking. Luck.
  • – If you still cared about the mystery by the time the movie was a quarter of the way through, then congratulations! This is probably the first movie you’ve ever seen! May you look forward to much, much, much better things in the future!

Rating: 1/10

’71

Belfast, 1971 looks an awful lot like San Salvador, 2015. That’s probably not good.

Directed by: Yann Demange

Starring: Jack O’Connell, Richard Dormer, Sean Harris, Sam Reid, Charlie Murphy, David Wilmot, Paul Anderson, Paul Popplewell

Plot: Private Gary Hook (O’Connell) is a young British Army recruit whose squadron is sent to Belfast, Northern Ireland, during the Troubles (Google them). When a routine firearm inspection in a Catholic neighbourhood goes horribly, horribly wrong, Gary finds himself stranded alone in hostile territory, solely dependant on his wits and on the hospitality (Or lack thereof) of the Irish civilians.

I can’t exactly speak to having any personal insight about the Troubles. My Irish ancestors got the fuck out of Dodge (Dodgederry?) the second the Potato Famine struck.

That’s not a racist joke, by the way. That’s an actual thing that happened. Look it up.

That’s why this movie was so interesting to me. Not only because of the tense, pulse-pounding action and suspense, but because of the political intrigue between the various factions vying for power and the civilians, just trying to get by, regardless of ideology.

Also, I could listen to Irish accents all day.

  • Jack O’Connell is really terrific. I’ve heard he’s good in Unbreakable (Which I haven’t seen) and I can attest to his talent after watching ’71. Good on ya, kid (Said the 18-year old to the 24-year old).
  • When a movie’s ending has you reeling at the injustice of it all, that’s a good friggin’ movie. Ditto when the movie has my eyeballs drying up, because I’m afraid of missing something if I so much as blink.
  • There’s a small child in this movie who’s legitimately excellent. Hard to believe, I know. Maybe it’s just America that has all the shitty child actors.
  • Belfast during the Troubles was fuckin’ brutal, holy shit.

Rating: 9/10

Hot Pursuit

The tagline is the funniest thing about the movie. And the tagine is total shit!

Directed by: Anne Fletcher

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara

Plot: … No.

No. I have spent way too much of my time on this round-up. Two thousand words’ worth. My family hasn’t seen me all day (I work slowly). I am not wasting any time talking about the plot to fucking Hot Pursuit. I HAVE TOO MUCH FUCKING DIGNITY, DAMMIT!!!

Sigh.

Reese Witherspoon plays an uptight, by-the-book Texan cop who’s tasked with escorting the wife of a drug lord, played by Sofia Vergara, to Dallas, in order to get her spirited away by the F.B.I. into the wonderful ether that is Witness Protection. When that goes wrong, a distinct lack of hilarity ensues.

  • The guy who plays the main villain is alright. Too bad he’s only in it for, like, a minute.
  • – Reese Witherspoon is a great actress. I love Reese Witherspoon. She was terrific in Wild last year. What does she bring to this project? A god-awful accent and a grating performance of a cliched character that I want to punch in the face every time I see her. I don’t care how cute she looks in a red dress, I wanted her dead.
  • – Sofia Vergara, while better than Witherspoon, believe it or not, is really, really terrible. There were a couple times when her dialogue consisted of nothing but nasal screeches. That’s not a slight on her latino accent (Shit, I’m half latino myself, what grounds would I have for that?), but, how do I put this, her accent doesn’t help the fact that her dialogue is mostly nasal screeching.
  • – As one would expect, two terrible performances does not lead to great chemistry between the two performers. It also doesn’t help that this humour is fucking nonexistent, being written and directed extremely awkwardly.

Here’s an example: There’s a scene in which Witherspoon tries breaking into someone’s car. The way that Vergara tries to get them out of it is by, uh, claiming that they’re veterinarians who are also lesbian lovers? What? How is that supposed to get them out of trouble (In Texas, especially!)? It’s like if a thirteen year old boy was handed the script for rewrites, and decided that the fact that these two women are randomly lesbians is somehow funny, because lesbians are hot and homosexuality’s a joke to them, I guess. Whatever. It’s not funny, and anybody who thinks that it is funny should be ashamed of themselves.

Rating: 0.5/10

I wanted to blow my fucking brains out at this part. If you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about.

June 2015 Movie (And Spoiler-free Game of Thrones!!!) Round-up

Featured image

I’m cheering for the horse, personally.

There’s not much to report in this month’s round-up, mainly because I already did a round-up earlier this month. 

That said, I did see one movie, so I kind of have to review that, and I also figured that now would be as good a time as any to give my final thoughts on the latest season of Game of Thrones. I was planning to do a full-fledged review of the whole season, but considering I’ve already devoted around 10 000 words to that season, I figure I can half-ass it just this once.

Onwards!!!

Game of Thrones– Season 5 (No Spoilers, don’t worry)

Oh god, I’m getting a nervous twitch and random twinges of depression just thinking about it.

Directed by: Michael Slovis, Mark Mylod, Jeremy Podeswa, Miguel Sapochnik, David Nutter

Written by: David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Dave Hill, Bryan Cogman

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Natalie Dormer, Stephen Dillane, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Jonathan Pryce, Aidan Gillen, Carice van Houten, Liam Cunningham, John Bradley-West, Jerome Flynn, Alfie Allen, Gwendoline Christie, Indira Varma, Conleth Hill, Hannah Murray, Michiel Huisman, Nathalie Emmanuel, Kristofer Hivju, Tom Wlaschiha, Dean-Charles Chapman, Michael McElhatton, Iwan Rheon

Plot: Let’s face it, you’ve seen it by now.

This is the first Game of Thrones season that is really diverging from the framework that the books set out. How do I feel about this? Well, to put it as open-mindedly as possible, I don’t give a flying fuck and neither should you. The show and the book are different. I don’t give a shit about Lady Stoneheart (Don’t look it up. That’s a book spoiler), if she doesn’t appear, she doesn’t appear. They can only cram so much shit into a show before it collapses under its own weight.

So, yeah, this is another great season, if probably the weakest of the five so far. Some of the storylines don’t go anywhere (*Cough* Dorne *Cough*) and some of the characters fall flat (*Cough* Sand Snakes *Cough*) and weren’t written particularly well.

My name is We are Inigo Montoya the Sand Snakes. You killed my our father. Prepare to die.

That said, even the worst Game of Thrones season is better than many show’s best season, so I can’t complain too much.

  • Tyrion meeting Daenarys is the best thing ever (It’s not a spoiler. Look at the fucking poster).
  • Cersei Lannister’s fall from grace fascinated me. Only a Game of Thrones story arc could make me feel the utmost hatred for a character, take the next logical step to schadenfreude once things start to go wrong for them, and then have those feelings turn to outright pity. You know, even if everything that happens to her is her own goddamn fault.
  • As weak as the Dorne storyline ended up being, there are three scenes I did like, two of which came at the end, and one of which I like for purely shallow reasons. If you’ve seen the episode, you know which one I’m talking about.
  • –  The storyline in Meereen is actually one of the stronger parts of this season. that doesn’t make some of Daenarys’ decisions any less puzzling, though.
  • If you’re actually upset that a show that is known for being overwhelmingly dark is being overwhelmingly dark, then I don’t know what to say to you. Be serious, maybe.

Rating: 8.5/10

Mortdecai

Oh, fuck off.

Directed by: David Koepp

Written by: Eric Aronson

Starring: The soulless husk of Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Paul Bettany, Olivia Munn, Jeff Goldblum

Plot: Charlie Mortdecai (Depp) is a sleazy, pompous English art smuggler who is deep in debt. To recoup his losses, he agrees to help a secret agent (Ewan McGregor) find a stolen painting.

You know that an actor’s in a rut when their best performance in a while has been the cameo they made in a reboot of their old TV show.

That was legitimately amazing, though.

  • Uh… Paltrow and McGregor are alright, I guess.
  • – Seriously, Johnny Depp is too good of an actor to rehash his Jack Sparrow character every performance… Right???
  • –  This movie’s 106 minutes long, and it feels three times that length. Unfunny comedies tend to do that.
  • – Repeating jokes aren’t usually funny, but they can be. This movie tries around three or four repeat gags. They’re all spectacularly bottom of the barrel.

Rating: 2/10

January-June 2015 Movie Round-up

A round-up is like a rodeo thing, right? Eh, whatever, I don’t care.

Last Friday, I took the day off of school (Because I am a goddamned adult) in order to catch an early showing of Jurassic World. I thought this would work out well for me, because a) I would see it before the theatres got a chance to fill up in the evening (When I usually see movies on opening night) and b) I would have ample time to get my review out on Sunday, when I like to have movie reviews out by.

I watched the movie, made my way home, and spent the rest of the day and Saturday working non-stop on a rough draft, in between watching soccer games and watching the Jays absolutely wreck the Red Sox (John Farrell can suck it) and eventually finished my 1000-word review. I was feeling pretty good about myself.

And then I read the review.

Then I re-read it.

Then I stared at the five pages I had written on in absolute shock at the fact that I could write something so hackneyed, boring and all-around half-assed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware that I’m not exactly Peter Travers or Roger Ebert, but I’d like to think that I can at least hold somebody’s interest for the ten minutes or so that it takes to read a review. It’s been a while since I put out a review that I would classify as truly bad, and I’m not about to start now. All three of you who occasionally glance at the site on the WordPress Reader deserve much better.

So, with a heavy heart, I tossed the rough draft to the curb and fell into a deep depression… That was instantly alleviated when Russell Martin hit a home run in the eleventh inning.

I’m not going to stop using that link. Like, ever.

Anyways, I did scrap the post, but I also wanted to get my thoughts about the movie out, even if I wasn’t going to get around to a full review again. So, because we’re just about halfway through the year, I’ve decided to do quick reviews of all the movies that I’ve seen this year, but that I didn’t get around to reviewing, because I either saw them too late after their release to really warrant a review, or because I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing or reviewing them when they first came out.

And when I say these are short reviews, I do mean short. I mean a few sentences of plot summary, a paragraph or two summarising my feelings on the movie, and then some quick bullet points, followed by a half-assed rating.

And.. That’s it! Let’s get started.

Paddington

I want one.

Directed  by: Paul King

Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Nicole Kidman, Peter Capaldi for some reason

Plot: A clumsy talking bear from Peru (Ben Whishaw) immigrates to London, where he is adopted by a family (Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins). Shenanigans ensue.

As family comedies go, Paddington isn’t breaking any new ground whatsoever. It’s completely predictable through and through, the characters are either stock characters (Bonneville, Hawkins) or cartoons (Kidman, Capaldi, Jim Broadbent) and not a swear word was uttered throughout the entire runtime.

That said, British humour will make up for many shortcomings, and aside from predictability, this movie is completely harmless fun.

  • Great performances all around from Whishaw, Hawkins, etc. Bonneville does an excellent job with a stock character, while Kidman and Capaldi are downright hilarious.
  • For being obviously computer-generated, Paddington looks terrific.
  • – Paddington is one of those characters that you either want to hug forever because of his adorable ness, or violently strangle to death because of his complete and utter stupidity.
  • Colin Firth was originally going to voice Paddington, but he was dropped when the studio decided his voice didn’t really work for the character. I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that a movie in which he massacred people in a church was coming out several months afterwards.

7.5/10

Jupiter Ascending

Wow, how was I ever optimistic for this?

Directed by: Lana and Andy Wachowski

Starring: Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth

Plot: It’s The Phantom Menace with better performances, more heavy-handed political bullshit, and less action.

And Mila Kunis falling. All. The. Fucking. Time.

The Wachowskis are the kind of filmmakers that I want to like, artistically speaking, because they’re gifted with more creativity than I could ever dream of possessing, and have a genuine love for creating art that rivals the greats. Too bad every movie they’ve made since The Matrix has royally blown. Granted, it’s debatable how involved they were in directing the excellent V for Vendetta, and I would argue that Speed Racer is a better movie than people give it credit for, but maybe it’s time to quietly put the Wachowskis in the same category as M. Night Shyamalan. They had a nice run, but don’t expect much from them anymore.

Whatever, maybe Sens8‘s alright. Jupiter Ascending is pretty fucking awful, though.

  • This movie is actually quite aesthetically pleasing, with a terrific score from Michael Giacchino and downright amazing visual effects…. For the most part.

BAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Channing Tatum and Sean Bean are really good in this movie. In fact, none of the actors really embarrass themselves, with the exception of uh… The subject of the next bullet point.
  • EDDIE REDMAYNE IS FUCKING TERRIBLE. HOLY SHIT, I WANTED TO SLIT MY WRISTS WHENEVER HE APPEARED ON SCREEN.

mumblewhispermumblewhispermumblewhispermumblewhisperOH GOD, I’M YELLING FOR SOME REASONmumblewhispermumblewhispermumblewhispermumblewhisper- Every Eddie Redmayne scene

  • – “We can’t be together because I’m part dog, or whatever.”

“Oh, that’s okay, I love dogs!”

That is an actual line in the movie.

  • While Jupiter Ascending was either despised or disliked by most critics, some female sci-fi fans, have grown to appreciate the movie for it’s female protagonist and campy feel. While I think Mila Kunis’ character was total shit, I can definitely understand the latter.

Rating: 4/10

 The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

It’s like they actively wanted people to sneak “special” brownies into the theatre.

Directed by: Paul Tibbitt

Starring: Tom Kenny, Mr. Lawrence, Clancy Brown, Bill Fagerbakke, Rodger Bumpass, Carolyn Lawrence, Antonio Banderas for some reason

Plot: When the fabled Krabby Patty formula is stolen by an unknown thief, SpongeBob and co. must team up to find the criminal and save Bikini Bottom, which has fallen into disrepair.

It’s hard to judge something as inherently stupid and obviously made for children as SpongeBob. I guess I could say that, as a fan of the older seasons of the show, I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t incorporate more of the edgy feel from the early days of the show. Then again, I’m obviously not the target audience anymore, so I can’t be too upset about it at all. Oh, god has it really been that long since the early days? I feel so old.

Oh, how I miss you, disgusting Squidward.

  • While the promotion really hammered in the whole “CGI blended with live action” gimmick (A la Smurfs), it’s really only the last third or so. The rest of the movie is terrific hand-drawn animation, thank the gods.
  • “It’s the apocalypse, Mr. Squidward. Hope you like leather.”

That line makes me piss my pants with laughter.

  • – It’s a good thing that those CGI sequences were so short, because they’re the weakest part of the movie by far.
  • Seriously though, if you enjoy watching movies under the influence of what out-of-touch white people call “The Wacky Tobacky”, then you’re gonna adore this one.

Rating: 6/10

It Follows

I’m not much of a horror film guy, but that’s a terrific title.

Directed by: David Robert Mitchell

Starring: Maika Monroe, Keir Gilchrist, Olivia Luccardi, Lili Sepe, Daniel Zovatto,

Plot: After a super bizarre sexual encounter, college girl Jay (Maika Monroe) discovers that she’s being constantly pursued by a monster that takes the form of anybody, and follows her constantly, prompting those 80’s slasher shenanigans that everybody enjoys, for some reason.

I’m very open about the fact that, I despise the vast majority of horror movies, even the ones that are critically acclaimed hold little to no appeal to me. I would rather be disturbed by a dark fantasy movie like Pan’s Labyrinth than scared shitless by Nightmare on Elm Street, only to have it leave little to no impression on me.

I was intrigued by It Follows, though, because I thought the premise was cool, and it was getting an amount of praise similar to The Babadook, which I really enjoyed. And I also thought the main character was cute. Whatever, I’m shallow.

So, what did I think? Well, it was more or less what I expected. The premise was executed mostly alright, but the slasher conventions and writing really bring the movie down as a whole.

  • Maika Monroe is a future star. I feel pretty safe making that assumption.
  • While stupid jump-scares are still moderately easily found, the movie makes a point of utilizing them well a lot of the time as well (For example: Instead of getting freaked out by her boyfriend sneaking into the window or whatever the fuck, she gets freaked out by the the tall, naked man with gouged-out eyes sneaks into her bedroom).
  • For being another generic slasher movie, it sure is a surprisingly deep one, bringing up questions about sexuality and the loss of innocence that I’m much too lazy to go into now.
  • – If this demon is so dangerous, why the hell does it walk everywhere?
  • – If making sure that this thing doesn’t hurt your friends is so important to you, and the demon comes after the person you have sex with, WHY DO YOU KEEP HAVING SEX WITH YOUR FRIENDS????

Rating: 6.5/10

The Cobbler

After Grown-Ups 2, we can only go up from here.

Directed by: Thomas McCarthy

Starring: Adam Sandler, Dan Stevens, Dustin Hoffman for some reason, Steve Buscemi for obvious reasons, Melonie Diaz, Method Man

Plot: Max Simkins (Adam Sandler) is a cobbler living on the Lower East Side of New York, and is kind of miserable until he discovers a stitching machine in his basement that, upon repairing a shoe, grants Simkins the ability to actually become that person while wearing the shoe.

Do you smell Oscars? I sure smell Oscars!!!!

While The Cobbler is definitely a step above recent Sandler efforts, it’s still downright terrible, stupid, and tone-deaf. I’m not going to dignify it by reviewing it further. The only movie that I’ve seen this year that can claim to be worse than The Cobbler is Chappie, and even then, there’s room for debate.

  • While, he’s not particularly good, Adam Sandler is at least much better in this movie than literally anything  he’s been in since Funny People. He’s trying to do a more dramatic role this time around, though, and that’s admirable, I suppose.
  • – The ending is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Up until then, this movie was just bad. At that moment, it becomes straight up dogshit.
  • – Why does Steve Buscemi appear in every Adam Sandler movie now? This displeases me.

Rating: 4/10

Cinderella

You know, for a movie that has no business existing…

Directed by: Kenneth Branagh

Starring: Lily James, Cate Blanchett, Richard Madden, Helena Bonham Carter, Sophie McShera, Holliday Grainger, Nonso Anozie, Derek Jacobi, Stellan Skarsgard

Plot: It’s Cinderella.

Everything you’ve heard is true. It’s essentially the animated movie, but live-action and not a musical. There isn’t much more to say about it. If you like the animated movie, you’ll probably enjoy this one.

Rating: 7/10

Ex Machina

Or “Robophilia: The Motion Picture.”

Directed by: Alex Garland

Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander, Oscar Isaac, Sonoya Mizuno

Plot: Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is a programmer for Bluebook, the world’s biggest Google surrogate. He wins a contest, the prize being a trip to the secluded cabin/research facility of the company’s’ founder, Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), who wants him to examine his new breakthrough: A bona fide A.I. (Alicia Vikander). Shenanigans ensue.

This movie has been getting all sorts of critical praise, and it’s definitely warranted, at least mostly. The performances are all excellent, the CGI on Alicia Vikander’s character is some of the best I’ve ever seen, and the sense of dread that permeates throughout reminds me very much of a Kubrick movie, actually. Down to the pace that can get a bit too slow sometimes, unfortunately. Is it a legendary movie? Nah, I’d say it’s merely terrific.

  • Domhnall Gleeson is very good, but Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander are downright terrific. I’m not sure what Vikander is doing next, but Isaac is really getting me hyped up for X-Men: Apocalypse, where he’ll play the titular bad guy.
  • The A.I. robot (Vikander) looks amazing. It would have been so easy for her to look like some cartoon piece of shit, but I was fully convinced the entire time.
  • There is a scene in which Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson discuss the functionality of Alicia Vikander’s robot vagina. And it works very well. That should give you an idea of how good the writing is.
  •  Fun fact: Alicia Vikander is Michael Fassbender’s girlfriend (Lucky girl).

Jurassic World

Chris Praptor.

Directed by: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan Khan, Omar Sy, B.D. Wong

Plot: It’s been twenty years since the events of Jurassic Park, and, despite all evidence that would suggest that it’s a terrible, terrible idea, John Hammond’s vision has been fulfilled. The park has now opened, and- ah, fuck it, it’s late, I have a diploma exam tomorrow, and you’ve probably seen a trailer by now.

While I enjoyed Jurassic World, I realize that it’s not a great movie, or even a particularly good one, but it’s a fun movie, which, honestly, is more than I was expecting. The characters are shit and the story is predictable, but it’s worth it for Chris Pratt, the action and the dinosaurs.

  • +While it’s undeniably flawed, Jurassic World is worth watching for the last ten minutes. Trust me on this.
  • +Why’s everybody complaining about the CGI dinosaurs? I thought they looked great.
  • They make Chris Pratt and the raptor’s relationship work. That is no small feat.
  • – No fucking way Bryce Dallas Howard’s character goes through that entire movie wearing fucking heels. That’s straight-up bullshit.
  • – Vincent D’Onofrio’s not bad in this… But his character is the biggest fucking idiot. Weaponizing velociraptors? Seriously!?!?!?

Rating: 6.5/10

Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

Godammit, do I ever love lists!!!

So, it’s that time of the year again. The time when we groggily emerge from our holiday hangovers and start getting back to the drudgery that constitutes our everyday lives, be it through working at a dead-end job, slaving away at school, or being a parent. The fact that, with January now here to stay for a bit, we don’t have much movies to escape to, doesn’t help either.

Unless you’re really looking forward to seeing Jennifer Lopez in The Boy Next Door.

But, tumultuous first months of the year aside, there are still a lot of movies to look forward to in 2015. The following are the ones that I’m looking forward to the most (And, by extension, the ones you should be looking forward to the most).  Just a heads-up, any movie that did not have some form of North American release in 2014 is not included on this list. With that out of the way…

10. Chappie

If the robot dies, I’m going to be a total fucking wreck.

Neill Blomkamp is one of the more promising sci-fi directors working today, having released the great apartheid commentary that was District 9, which ended up overcoming its August release date and sci-fi label en route to a Best Picture nomination, and Elysium, which… Was a comedown, for sure, but it wasn’t bad, despite Jodie Foster’s best efforts.

English? French? South African? Hell if I know.

 Chappie definitely looks to be a touch more… Spielbergian than his other movies, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as it means that the movie ends up feeling more like E.T. and less like A.I. The movie is based on a short film directed by Blomkamp named Tetra Vaalis written by Blomkamp and his wife, Terri Tatchell, and boasts an impressive, eclectic cast, comprising Wolverine, Ripley, Slumdog Millionaire, two members of the South African rave group Die Antwood, and frequent Blomkamp collaborator Sharlto Copley as the eponymous robot. It seems to have everything going for it so far. Here’s hoping District 9 wasn’t just a fluke. I, for one, have hope.

9. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay- Part 2

What? You expected Divergent?

A lot of people didn’t like the first Mockingjay movie. I am not one of them, although I did feel like it suffered from being split in half. Hopefully, all the tense build-up in the first movie leads up to something, because if it doesn’t, man is that ever going to make a lot of the pacing problems in the first movie less forgivable.

It’s probably gonna be better than Divergent 2 or whatever. At least we can all agree on that.

Fact: I’ve never read a book in the Divergent series, and I haven’t watched the first movie, so don’t mind my snarkiness, I’m just being a dick.

8. Jurassic World

The face of highly-intelligent, avian-descended, scientifically inaccurate terror.

This.

7. Spectre

 

“Now there’s a name to die for.”

Fun fact: The first James Bond movie I ever watched was Quantum of Solace. Yeah. Even then I knew that shit sucked. But then I watched Skyfall and Goldfinger, so I think that cancels it out, at least mostly.

So, why am I excited for this movie, despite not being a huge James Bond fan? Well, Christoph Waltz, mostly, but also Cristoph Waltz. However, one must not forget about Christoph Waltz, Christoph Waltz and Christoph Waltz. And don’t even get me started on Christoph Waltz.

6. The Peanuts Movie

Pleasebegoodpleasebegoodpleasebe goodpleasebegood…

Huh. Two Pixar movies coming out this year, and the animated movie I’m most looking forward to is a movie from Blue Sky Studios.

Need I say more?

I grew up with the comic strip and the old cartoons, so I really hope that this movie can do justice to Charles Schulz’s legacy, and the trailers were pretty awesome, contemporary pop song notwithstanding. Then again, the only good movie that Blue Sky Studios has ever made is Ice Age way the hell back in 2002, so forgive me if I’m still a little nervous.

5. Ant-Man

View image on Twitter

Pre-Guardians of the GalaxyAnt-Man!? What the fuck. Marvel’s running out of ideas, this is fucking bullshit!!!” Post-Guardians: “Ant-Man? Seems legit.”

No Edgar Wright? No problem!

Okay, in all seriousness, the problems behind the production of Ant-Man are a little worrying, and the trailer wasn’t as mind-blowing as… Another one, but at this point, I think that Marvel’s earned the benefit of the doubt.

4. The Revenant

Combined Oscar wins: 0. Combined Oscar wins in a perfect world: All of them.

For my money, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman was the best movie of this past year. The same director with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy doing his bidding? I’m getting manic just thinking about it, and we’re only at number four.

3. The Hateful Eight

I can already feel my bloodlust overwhelming me.

Quentin Tarantino is my favourite director and screenwriter, so if I was manic for The Revenant, you can bet your ass that I’m balls-to-the-wall insane with application for this movie.

2. Avengers: Age of Ultron

I’ve got no strings to hold me down… From seeing this movie!!! Play me off, Johnny!!!

You may have heard of it.

1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

I know, shocking right?

Wow. It’s 2015, and we’re going to get a new Star Wars movie. Who’da thunk it?

With my luck, it’s going to end up even worse than the Phantom Menace.