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Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

This Man is Made of Some Tough Stuff!

In Movies on June 18, 2013 at 4:27 pm

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Let me begin by saying that I have been anticipating this movie since the day I first caught a glimpse of him cruising across planet earth with this awesome little cloud trailing after. I have been expecting a great movie that was well written, cohesive, and real. No “Batman and Robin” with full body armor that has nipples. No awful fight/dance sequences that occurred in “Daredevil”. I was expecting a Superman version of Batman and I got exactly what I wanted.

“Man of Steel” tells the humble origins of Superman, beginning, first, on Krypton with Jor-El, Russel Crowe, trying to not only save the Kryptonians but his son and his wife Faora-Ul, played by Antje Traue, as well. Jor-El faces off against Zod, Michael Shannon. as his son takes off in a cradle/space pod, who is determined to take control of Krypton and save the planet. During this process, Jor-El also sneaks the codex, the collective memory of Krypton, into the baby carriage alongside Clark in order to save Krypton from its destruction.

Flash forward to modern day an the audience witness Clark Kent, Henry Caville, as a drifter coming to terms with what he can and cannot do. Determined to keep his identity a secret, Kent travels the world taking up various jobs all the while saving various individuals from peril and understanding the teachings of his earth father, Johnathan Kent,  played by Kevin Costner, and his earth mother, Martha Kent,  played by Diane Lane,. Things begin to pick up speed when an alien space craft is found upon earth and Lois Lane is the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, determined to figure out what this spacecraft is. During her investigations, she encounters this nameless hero and much to the chagrin of her editor, Perry White, played by Laurence Fishburne, she is determined to find out who this individual is. However, the investigation is halted when Zod comes to planet earth determined to find Ka-El and the codex that he believes will restore Krypton once again.

I hope that summary suffices because there is a lot to this story and I really wanted to give you enough to just sink your teeth in, without giving too much away.

Let me begin by saying that this movie is increased a hundred fold by the performance that Costner and Crowe bring to the table. Both are Superman’s fathers and both believe his future holds very different things. As a result of this, they both teach Clark in different yet similar ways. Bother are incredibly powerful, without exuding much of a physical prowess. That’s not to say that either of them are weak, Crowe is involved in some Batman style fight scenes, but his power does not come from his fists, rather it comes from his convictions, from his ideals. The same thing can be said for Costner, who’s sheer dedication to his beliefs is mind alteringly powerful and tragic all at the same time. Both of these actors had very little screen time and yet stole the show all the same.

Henry Caville is an incredible Superman. I am not ashamed to admit that I did not see “Superman Returns” but I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed him as Superman. He played his role well, with meaning, despite his script being incredibly short. It was in the smirks and the grief that was shown, that made me realize that Caville will be my favorite Superman.

The score is worth mentioning as well. The tornado scene and the reunion Kent experiences with his mother were made incredibly powerful due to the orchestra. Incredibly powerful. On the verge of tears powerful. The lack of music in precise instances, makes the music even more resonant. You feel it when it is there and you feel nothing when it isn’t and it is between these two instances that this movie becomes something more. Hans Zimmer, this was an incredible score and I will be playing this soundtrack, probably, all week.

The story is also worth mentioning because it is the first time that I, personally, have  seen Clark Kent as a young man struggling with his powers physically, emotionally, and socially. I loved the direction Snyder took with this movie and I think he did an incredibly good job with this film.

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This Movie Should Have Been Struck By Lightning

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2013 at 3:38 pm

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Seriously, never have I felt so deceived by a trailer before. This movie was God awful and appeared to hold so much promise given the actors that were involved and the story. 

“Struck By Lightning” was directed by novice Chris Colfer who also stars in the film as Carson Phillips. Carson, has a problem. He is in a dead end town and wants to become a journalist but needs to apply himself more in school to do so. He decides, inadvertently, that he will enlist the help of Malerie Baggs, Rebel Wilson, who films everything, to blackmail the popular kids in his school into submitting pieces for his literary magazine. This posse includes, Claire Matthews (Sarah Hyland) Dwayne Michaels (Matt Prokop), Vicki Jordan (Ashley Richards), Scott Thomas (Graham Rogers), and Remy Baker (Allie Grant). Oh did I mention that Carson’s mom, Allison Janney, is a divorcee who is addicted to prescription meds and her ex-husband, Dermot Mulroney, is getting remarried to Christina Hendricks? No, I didn’t. Well he is and basically Chris’s life sucks. 

Now, everybody loves an underdog story and they love seeing the individual rise above their circumstances and make something of themselves. Sometimes, along the way, these individuals come to find that well what they had wasn’t so bad and they end up coming to terms with that.

Nothing like this occurs in “Struck by Lightning”. Carson, doesn’t change. His parents don’t change. His classmates don’t change. Nothing occurs that is notable within this movie that involves change. Everyone stays that same and no one seems affected by any monumental  happening within this dead end town. Nobody, except perhaps Rebel Wilson’s character. But even she cannot save this movie.

Chris Colfer appeared to envision this character who railed against the system and, in the process, changed the view of his classmates, but I think he forgot that part when he was writing this script. His constant push against the system also comes off as quite stale and annoying. Alright, we get it. You’re better then everyone else, you’re smarter then everyone else, we know, we know. Eventually, his constant fighting comes off as somewhat narcissistic, without a bit of selflessness.

I could go on and on and on about how bad and disappointing this movie was, but I would just be beating a dead horse. This movie sucked and please refrain from watching it. 

Jesse Eisenberg Wears a Fake Mustache

In Movies on June 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

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Last night I had the pleasure of seeing “Now You See Me” and was surprisingly delighted with the fairly original story, the humor, and the fast pacing.

“Now You See Me”, directed by Louis Letterer, known for directing the great “The Incredible Hulk” starring Edward Norton, stars Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Isla Fisher, Dave Franco, and Melanie Laurent. Esienberg, Fisher, Harrelson, and Franco, are the Four Horseman of magic. They are united simply by a calling card that features an Egyptian eye on it. All of these individuals bring their own type of magic to the table as well. Franco, Jack Wilder, is good with what I would deem, hand magic, meaning card tricks, spoon bending tricks and fighting people. Harrelson, Merrit McKinney, is a mentalist meaning that he uses target guessing and hypnotism to ascertain what an individual is thinking. Eisenbgerg, Daniel Atlas, and Fisher, Henley Reeves, are both performance magicians. They love the stage and the big finish. They are all brought together by a mysterious figure who has a plan for a series of performances, involving the robbery of banks and individuals. Freeman, Thaddeus Bradley, becomes acquainted with the group when they begin their performances because he is a famous magic debunker and Michael Caine, Arthur Tressler, is involved with this group because he is the financier of their first few shows. Once, the group does begin to successfully rob some banks, Ruffalo, Dylan Rhodes, and Laurent, Alma Dray, become involved as Rhodes is the F.B.I. agent interested in catching these individuals and Dray is an INTERPOL agent  determined to do the same.

This movie features an all-star cast, with a fairly decent script, and one hell of a twist. Before I begin the actual review, I would like to say why I believe this movie was destined to beat “After Earth” in the showdown this past weekend.

First off, Shyamalan’s directing is no longer a boost but a hindrance now. I think this occurred even before “After Earth”. The cast of “After Earth” features predominantly Jaden Smith over Will Smith and does not hold a flame to the all-star cast of “Now You See Me” so right there are two major differences that account for the winner in this showdown. After coming in third in the box office records, Will Smith stated that he wanted to focus more on indie movies rather than blockbusters and I, for one, am certainly glad he has decided it. I love Will Smith, don’t get me wrong, but he could be doing so much more than just starring in July 4th mega movies.

So, all in all, I enjoyed this movie. It is very fast paced and there are some moments that appeared rush and could have used some further toning down.

One big problem I had with this film, was the sweeping camera shots. Seriously, Letterier went above and beyond with these shots so much in fact that I nearly hated this movie specifically for that reason. However, what did save it, was the twist ending and it was fairly unpredictable. It put a lot of things in perspective after it occurred and I think that’s what really made this film.

The humor was also well worth it. I don’t know how much free rein Harrelson was given but he was given enough to make some hilarious quips that were true to him and just made the movie that much better.

Eisenberg is also quite good in this film. Just the right amount of cocky and it appears as if he is showing some Mark Zuckerberg in this role.

All in all, I would say that those two members really stood out to me because there wasn’t a lot of time for character development, and I guess this movie suffered slightly for it. The audience is shown these people and then they are doing something and then the movies over. I’m not going to admit that this movie dropped in my regards because of that but it would have benefited from a little character development.

So, check out “Now You See Me” if you like a fast paced story with a pretty damn good twist. It’s like a combination of “The Prestige” and “The Usual Suspects”

A Substance That is A Combination of Both Dirt and Water

In Movies on June 6, 2013 at 10:28 am

ImageAlso known as Mud!

I was able to catch this movie with my mother, who agreed to see it because she wanted to annnnd because she wanted to get me out of the house for a surprise graduation party.

“Mud”, directed by Jeff Nichols, stars Matthew McConaughey,  as Mud an individual on the run determined to reunite with his lover Juniper, Reese Witherspoon, despite the potential life threatening situation that both of them may encounter. Determined to meet her and stay on the low-down, Mud makes his home on a deserted island where he encounters Ellis, Tye Sheridan, and Neckbone, what an awesome name, Jocob Lofland. These two boys are determined to have the boat that Mud is living in or get the pistol that he is wiling to trade them, IF they help him build the boat. Ellis is instantly accepting of Mud while Neckbone is a bit more concerned with who this individual is. This acceptance is mainly due to Ellis’s current situation in which his parents Mary Lee, Sarah Paulson, and Senior, Ray McKinnon, are separating, because getting a divorce is much too expensive.  Determined to prove that love is tangible and possible, Ellis decides to help Mud and Juniper reunite despite life threatening danger.

Wow. This movie currently has 99% on rotten tomatoes and it deserves every damn percentage point it gets. Acting. Incredible. Story. Fairly original. It’s a combination of many things, Stand By Me, with a love story, but I mean what movie isn’t a combination of other movies and/or themes.  Wonderful cinematography.  Just a beautiful beautiful story.

 

Tye Sheridan’s performance is worth mentioning because of how good he is ANNNNDDD how he manages to hold his own alongside such big wigs as McConaughey and Sam Shepard. His performance was extremely moving as well, allowing the audience to incorporate his own hopes and dreams alongside theirs. Even a jaded audience member, such as myself, wants to see love truly thrive in the end. Why can’t it be like that? Why? He also hits the notes with precision, Sheridan shows the audience his anger, his hope, his joy, as if he is really Ellis. Some of the best scenes with Ellis involve him just staring off in the distance. Hoping. Believing.

Matthew McConaughey’s performance does involve him taking off his shirt, however, it is applicable in this movie. His southern drawl is like a smooth glass of whiskey in this movie. Seriously, him saying “Hell of a thing….” just gives me chills. The monologues he delivers were just awe-inspiring, ranging from the protection his shirt offered him to his youthful days with Juniper. I really think that if McConaughey continues selecting roles like this he will only get better and probably garner a few Oscars as well.

Jacob Lofland as Neckbone also delivers. He had the posturing, the accent, and the execution of a rural southern boy. He became this logic ridden realistic kid who was willing to go along with Ellis, knowing full well that love doesn’t always play out in real life as it does in the books. I felt like I could really relate to this kid. He was steadfast and strong, loyal as a dog, and fairly smart. He just knew the right thing to do and did it and when he encountered something awful, he took it for what it was and didn’t become emotionally distraught, rather he acknowledged it and moved forward.

If you want to catch a movie off the beaten path with actors who bring it and a story line to boot, check this movie out. You really won’t regret it