Star Trek Into Darkness retains the humour, charm, and eye popping… MoreStar Trek Into Darkness retains the humour, charm, and eye popping visuals that made its predecessor such a phenomenal work. I was slightly disappointed with a subplot involving a possible war between the Klingons and the Federation that was suddenly dropped halfway through. The film is also not quite as dark as the trailer would suggest, relying a lot on humour and a sense of tongue in cheek fun. Aside from that, Benedict Cumberbatch is incredible as the narrative's central villain. You aren't likely to see a creepier villain in a summer movie this year. The friendship between Kirk and Spock is the heart of the film, and director JJ Abrams never loses focus in their developing relationship at every turn. A great sequel for fans of the original, die-hard Trekkies, as well as anyone who enjoys watching blockbusters with intelligence.
Baz Luhrman's The Great Gatsby is gorgeous to look at and is quite… MoreBaz Luhrman's The Great Gatsby is gorgeous to look at and is quite possibly the most unique film adaptation of F Scott Fitzgerald's novel to date. Having said that, it probably will have more of an appeal to those who haven't read the book. It runs about twenty minutes too long and is never quite as enthralling as Fitzgerald's prose. The cast is amazing, but some of the novel's most memorable moments - particularly the TJ Eckleburg billboard, the hit and run, as well as the flashing green light - have lost much of their poetic significance in translation to the screen. All in all, I'm not sure if I can recommend this film as a good adaptation of the book - and because The Great Gatsby is my all time favourite book, I'm exceptionally critical of this film - but I can certainly recommend it as an honest and faithful tribute, one that is certainly a visual feast if nothing else.
Not as good as the original, but a vast improvement over the second… MoreNot as good as the original, but a vast improvement over the second installment, Iron Man 3 is well made and eager to make you laugh at almost every turn.
The film frequently resorts to comedy - and Robert Downey Jr. has some of the best lines in the entire movie - to mostly cover up the dark thematic material that revolves around a ruthless psychotic terrorist known as the Mandarin. The Mandarin is played brilliantly by Ben Kingsley. His army of minions give Tony Stark a real run for his money since they all seem to be made out of fire.
Plot holes aside (ie: how exactly do you kill these minions?), the story is engaging and entertaining. The action scenes are nicely edited together with more than enough explosions that would impress even Michael Bay. The performances, particularly by Guy Pearce and Gwyneth Paltrow, are well done, even if some actors (Rebecca Hall and Don Cheadle) are incredibly underused.
I can't imagine a 4th film in this series, since I can't see any reasonable excuse to continue the Iron Man saga. Hopefully, director Shane Black and Marvel will quit while they're ahead, as this is a sequel that's definitely worthy of concluding the series.
Schnectady, New York: A town filled with people desperate to get out,… MoreSchnectady, New York: A town filled with people desperate to get out, corrupt officials, and kids with troubled pasts. It's the kind of town that you would never visit or even pass through unless you had to. The Place Beyond the Pines is a film about this town over a fifteen year span. It is an emotionally draining experience, but not necessarily a fulfilling one. The story's twists and turns are more predictable than director Derek Cianfrance seems to think they are. And just like Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines moves along with a kind of self-importance that often crosses the line from art to pretentiousness. All in all, a watchable film but not one that really requires more than one viewing.
Pain & Gain doesn't work, and that's not in the least because of its… MorePain & Gain doesn't work, and that's not in the least because of its starring cast. Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie really try hard to make this movie as entertaining as possible. The problem is that they're let down by a weak script and director Michael Bay.
This film marks Bay's first departure from large scale action pictures, and it shows. In the past, he has frequently been able to make up for ill conceived jokes and poor storytelling with eye popping visuals and fast paced action scenes. Not so in the case of this crime drama. He has no handle on setting the tone for the film. It sometimes tries to be lighthearted, while other times it's overly serious. Bay also frequently resorts to his "action film" tactics that feel out of place.
In the hands of more capable filmmakers like the Coen Brothers or Wes Anderson, this would have been a great film with a story that proves truth is stranger than fiction. But under Michael Bay's helm, the film is a misguided attempt at a caper that exists for the audience to ridicule the protagonists rather than sympathize with them.
It would have been better if they had just left Indiana Jones as a… MoreIt would have been better if they had just left Indiana Jones as a trilogy. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is a colossal disappointment, not least because it doesn't feel at all like an Indiana Jones film. Where the other three films had Indy chasing down ancient religious artifacts that possessed mystical abilities, Crystal Skull is about aliens. Aliens? Yes, you heard me right, alien crash landing. We've gone from the Ark of the Covenant to outer space. Why why why why why?
All of the Indiana Jones films required a suspension of disbelief, but the things that Indiana Jones and his companions manage to escape unharmed from in this film are so ludicrous it takes all the fun out of the film. Indy survives a nuclear blast by hiding himself in a fridge, emerging from it in one piece? Shia Labeouf and Cate Blanchett swordfighting while standing in two different moving cars? Indy and his crew surviving three drops down waterfalls the size of Niagara? Forgive me, but how could any director, not least one as seasoned in the craft as Steven Spielberg remotely think these were good ideas?
Let's hope Lucas, Spielberg and Co leave this franchise alone before they desecrate it like the prequels did to the original Star Wars saga.
The most interesting aspect of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is,… MoreThe most interesting aspect of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade is, surprisingly enough, the relationship between Indiana Jones and his father Henry (played by non-other than Sean Connery). While the two certainly joke and fight evil together, the underlying tension between them is always apparent. Henry was never really there for his son, but, as he puts it, that lack of presence actually made Indy the great man that he has grown up to be.
The rest of the film is great. Steven Spielberg has still managed to find creative ways to test Indy's fear of snakes, and his ability to face impossibly odds to retrieve mystical artifacts that prove to have direly terrifying consequences. This time around, he's on a quest to find the Holy Grail, and no doubt some strangely sinister people are after it as well. As always, Last Crusade continues the franchise's ability to provide unique and incredibly fun adventures.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is nowhere near as good as its… MoreIndiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is nowhere near as good as its predecessor, Raiders of the Lost Ark, but it hasn't lost the sense of adventure that made that earlier film so iconic. Certainly the boundaries of realism and plausibility are stretched rather thin, but this sequel (actually a prequel since the events take place before the events in Raiders) is solid entertainment.
This time around, Indy finds himself narrowly escaping a botched attempt in China to retrieve a precious diamond. He ends up in India, where he is employed by a small town to find a stolen gem as well as a multitude of kidnapped boys. This endeavour is quite unsettling as the truth that Indy uncovers is not only mean-spirited but downright terrifying. Accompanied with a cast of popular Indian actors that add to this film's universal appeal, Temple of Doom is a fun adventure that will disturb and enthrall in equal doses.
I loved this movie. Loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it.… MoreI loved this movie. Loved it loved it loved it loved it loved it. Loved its sense of adventure. Loved the chemistry between Harrison Ford's artifact obsessed Indiana Jones and Karen Allen's headstrong, alcohol tolerant Marion. Loved the clever banter and witty dialogue. Loved the evil villains who were portrayed by actors that made you hate their characters at every turn. Loved the humour that continually made you never take the film too seriously. Loved the car chases, shootouts, and hand to hand fight scenes. Loved the mysticism that revealed itself in the third act. Loved the mystery plot's seemless integration of history, fantasy, and archaeology. Loved Indiana's sidekick Sallah (played by a younger John Rhys-Davies). Loved the fact that no movie collection is complete without this masterpiece from director Steven Spielberg, writer Lawrence Kasdan, and producer George Lucas. This is nothing short of an incredible picture that is without a doubt one of the greatest movie adventures of all time.
Yeah it's stupid, and that's why I liked it. Any movie where actor… MoreYeah it's stupid, and that's why I liked it. Any movie where actor Jurgen Prochnow tells a Das Boot in-joke is alright by me. The title of this film alone tells you exactly the kind of film it's going to be. Beerfest will be about a team of ordinary people practicing and preparing for the ultimate drinking competition. Audiences will be subjected to lots of drinking and lots of games. Some may prefer to be actually doing these things instead of watching characters do them, but Beerfest has a lot of fun with its concept. Anyone who has ever had a crazy binge story can relate to this ridiculously over the top yet hilariously charming film.
Also keep in mind that this was written by Broken Lizard, the team responsible for Super Troopers and Club Dread. Both of those previous movies were incredibly dumb but someone help you if you didn't find them funny. Beerfest is right in the same league.