There are some movies out there that could be considered slower-paced… MoreThere are some movies out there that could be considered slower-paced than most, and then there are those films where they move at such a snail's pace that the likes of caffeinated drinks and a purposeful mentality is needed before embarking on such a cinematic adventure. "Foxcatcher" is the latter.
"Foxcatcher" is a peculiar beast; not only is the legendary comedy star Steve Carrell playing quite possibly his first dark figure, but the film itself is a chilling tale that creeps at a lumbering pace. It isn't quite so slow however that progression occurs within an hour into the movie -- it just so happens that Bennett Miller reveals story progression crumb by crumb. By the time the film begins finalizing the final act, the narrative takes only 3 significant turns, revealing that the plot, in its entirety, is very slim in density. So why a whopping 2 hour and 10 minute running time for such a gaunt plot? Miller crafts the film to have the tone -- cold, haunting, and dreariness -- as its focal point. By the final minutes of the film, Miller successfully engulfs the audiences in a sludge of dread, betrayal, and confusion that's hard to shake off way after the film has come to a close.
"Foxcatcher" may not be the most fast-paced movie nor is it the most immersive, but just like "Requiem for a Dream", its subtle tone slithers around -- up the leg, to the neck. It's not quite the greatest movie that has ever hit cinema theaters, but its different approach to convey a dark, dreary, and cold world differ it from many other films.
I was one of the few people that didn't particularly enjoy the first… MoreI was one of the few people that didn't particularly enjoy the first Avengers film. Yes yes, I know. It was enjoyable, but being heralded as one of the comic book movie greats? I beg to differ. With Joss Whedon taking the helm for the second time, "Age of Ultron" improves upon the first but not without its fair share of problems.
The Avengers faces an anomoly. With old and new faces alike, the Marvel universe -- the Avengers in particular -- continues to be a powerhouse because of its cast. From everyone including Robert Downey Jr. to the highly underrated Elizabeth Olsen, it's a feat to see so many great actors on one screen, but this is also the Avengers' greatest vice as well. The narrative, though it does fixate on key characters from time to time, is an absolute mess; it has the daunting task to give each and every character the limelight. It attempts to tell a convincing narrative where every character fulfills their role and convey their motives. Not only that, but the film also needs to leave room to new characters. So once the film takes the time to slow down to portray a character's story arch, it's not very effective. Surprisingly, Joss Whedon manages to make the film not feel bloated as bloated as the film sounds.
The Avengers faces much opposition with its very medium. The biggest sales pitch it provides is the wide array of different superheroes getting together. But its very own allure is also an almost impossible task -- to portray a cohesive, entertaining, immersive film alongside so many characters. There's no way to work around this issue when the very foundation of an Avengers movie is to bring many people together in one showdown.
Despite such an apparent flaw, "Age of Ultron" is a damn good time. Unlike the first film, action set-pieces carry weight. Though it doesn't carry impendent action-set pieces like "Captain America 2: The Winder Soldier", there is a level of tension in the sophomore outing that the first considerably lacked. This alone makes the action all the more exciting, exhilarating, and downright fun. Not only this, but Joss Whedon has a sure knack of writing great comedy bits. "Age of Ultron" is more witty, funny, action-packed, tense, and perhaps even more cohesive than its predecessor.
Yes, "Age of Ultron" hits a huge wall that perhaps can never be vaulted over in future Avengers films. But despite such a shortcoming, there's no denying that it overcomes many of its predecessor's flaws. Hell, it's summertime; enjoy it as it is: a damn good popcorn, action packed movie.
It's safe to say that because the sci-fi genre calls upon grandiose… MoreIt's safe to say that because the sci-fi genre calls upon grandiose CGI spectacles and imagination, the genre is saturated with many blockbusters, albeit excellent blockbusters. "Ex Machina" comes into the fray with a very different vision that takes everything from a tired genre and humanizes it with very real questions. It's such a refreshing take that it's hard to see the genre the way Hollywood has in the past.
But don't get me wrong -- there's always room for sci-fi blockbusters. Everything from "Terminator 2" to "District 9", this genre alone has contributed to years and years of entertainment for Hollywood. However, "Ex Machina" doesn't seek to wow viewers with life-sized robotics and spectacles -- it challenges viewers, leaves them breathless, sitting at the edge of their seat questioning the characters' motives, analyzing what may happen next. The attention is in the ideals that it presents; the CGI and visionary elements of the sci-fi genre are just a mere backdrop for its compelling narrative. As much as sci-fi flicks has thrown millions of dollars into outstanding CGI set-pieces, "Ex Machina" is a well-rounded machine altogether (Sorry, that pun was too easy) -- breathtaking cinematography, a fascinating script, a pulse-pounding score that hits hard), and excellent performances to boot.
However, "Ex Machina" is not a light film nor is it for the average joe. Though it is intriguing throughout, the pacing does tend to seem slower than the average blockbuster film, but I personally did not have any issues with it. The main faltering factor with "Ex Machina" is that though it is primarily a very thought-provoking movie with very human elements sprinkled evenly across the narrative, too many ideas are thrown in, many left unquestioned -- not unquestioned like an open-ended film, but just as a mere question to jolt the mind. I would understand if there were hints of its answers as symbolism or small nuances as its vehicles, but there were none to be found (or perhaps I was too unaware to spot them). That doesn't say that all ideas are left unanswered, it's just that the film unravels an entire box full of ideas on the drawing board and chooses only a few as its focal point.
"Ex Machina" is an extremely ambitious and stylish thriller that challenges viewers with very real questions. It's broodingly dark, probably one of the most darkest sci-fi films I have seen to date, but an outstanding one that'll leave many breathless.
Matthew Vaughn, quite possibly the most overrated director of all… MoreMatthew Vaughn, quite possibly the most overrated director of all time.
SAY WHAT ALBERT?
I'm sorry if I am speaking blasphemy but there are only a handful of his films that I've found entertaining, to be specific, the latter X-Men films. But when "Kick-Ass" came into the picture, everyone heralded it to be a damn good time. Not only was the direction sloppy, but the action was just downright boring. Now "Kingsman: The Secret Service" pervades into the scene with a swagger like James Bond with the attitude of an angry teenager ready to blow up. In that sense, it is a beast of its own, but everything else falls flat.
Coupled with a 007 like strut, "Kingsman" could have elaborated on a very interesting premise, but what you see in the trailers is what you get. There is nothing in particular that the narrative digs into that makes the world that Vaughn creates interesting. With that aspect of the film lacking, the only thing left for the film to exceed on is the action, and does it succeed? In one particular church scene, it does. With the camera zipping around with low frames per second shots, it can be exhilarating, but all the other action scenes can be summed up in one word: flat. This paired with some of the ugliest green screens, Vaughn once again fails to deliver.
"Kingsman: The Secret Service" has some shining moments to boast, but with an interesting premise to potentially elaborate on, Vaughn doesn't utilize it enough to make the film a resounding one.