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

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