1. A Good Day to Die Hard - I'm a fan of the Die Hard franchise. Not like a huge fan (a "die-hard" Die Hard fan?), but I find all of the movies entertaining. The first one is obviously the best, but the rest have been sufficient fun. I was planning on watching A Good Day to Die Hard in the theater when it was released on Valentine's Day, but the terrible reviews deterred me. I don't think it was as bad as the reviews suggest and I even preferred it to the previous one, Live Free or Die Hard (mostly because I can't stand Justin Long). The plot felt a little lazy and the dialogue consisted mostly of John McClane yelling out "But I'm on vacation!!", but the action is fun and that is really all I was expecting. It's clear that this was an attempt at setting up Jai Courtney to take over the franchise. No thank you, he's no Bruce Willis.
2. Spring Breakers - Overall, I like this movie. I'm not sure I agree with the praise that it has received (I've seen it on several "Mid-Year Best of 2013"), but I do agree that visually, it is stunning. The beginning is basically a really beautifully shot "Girls Gone Wild" video. There are some really cool shots throughout, my favorite is the shots of the girls in the hallway with their legs against the walls. I didn't like the repetitive dialogue, but now I understand why people constantly quoted the film. It definitely gets under your skin. As soon it was over, I actually turned to my cats and asked "why y'all actin' 'spicious?". While the film is commentating on the current state of our youth, it conveys a bit of contradictory sentiment. While it criticizes youth (and mostly women), it continues to glorify guns, violence and rape culture, instead of delving into any real depth of the problems in our society. The whole "spring break" thing is not really my scene (shocking, I know), so it left me a little confused. I spent a lot of the movie going "wait....what?". For instance, "wait...what..." they are in college? I thought spring break was a high school thing? These girls seem really immature for college (one of them is carrying a backpack that is a teddy bear. I don't understand.). Another, "wait...what..." do they think James Franco as "Alien" is hot??? Because...um ew. I don't even think he's hot without the gangster getup. I agree that Franco really went all out for this role and he killed it. One of the best performances he's ever done, but if he was supposed to be "hot", then he failed miserably. Also, "wait....what...." why the constant Britney Spears references? I've thought about this one, at first I was confused because I think of Britney as being "my" generation and not the current generation of young girls, but I realized that these young girls were actually the ones that grew up with her (while I was already in high school). It all makes sense now and it is actually a brilliant commentary on the sexualization of young girls. It also gave us the greatest scene in the history of movies: James Franco singing "Everytime". Absolutely fucking brilliant. Last one, "wait....what...." is that Heather Morris from Glee? How did I not know she was in this? (Unavoidable side-note: Speaking of Glee, I woke up to some terrible news this morning with the death of Cory Monteith. If you look under the "Glee" tab at the top of my blog, you will see my love for Cory. Writing about Glee was just an excuse for me to gush over Cory. I am heartbroken. Seriously. I'm not one to get upset about the death of someone I don't know, but this one hurts.)
3. The Giant Mechanical Man - I appreciate that the title is explained within the first 5 minutes of the movie. I really like the idea of this movie; its main theme is finding what you love, be passionate about it and find someone that appreciates you for your passion. It's not as easy as it sounds. Tim (Chris Messina), finds this out when his girlfriend tells him "I never believed in you Tim, I just thought it was charming". Jenna Fischer plays Janice, a woman who is struggling to find her passion. You can guess how the story ends and in all honesty, there isn't much to the movie. The whole thing is boring and obviously predictable. The actors are likable enough. I really like Chris Messina, he's one of those typical, genuine New York guys. Every time I see him in a movie or show, I think, "wait, I know him!" but I don't. Topher Grace is probably the most memorable part because he plays the creepiest of all creepy guys (a motivational speaker). He gives advice like "If you don't know what to talk about, then talk about yourself". Worst advice ever.
4. The Imposter - This is one crazy, unbelievably real, true story. I'm not a huge fan of documentaries. As a Film Studies student, I had to take 2 classes on the subject and I referred to those classes as "nap time". I'm usually fascinated by the story, but I just hate the style in which the story is told. What struck me about this film, is that it plays like a typical documentary, but then there is a twist! It's quite thrilling to watch, and it held my interest for its entire run time. I guess, it's not a twist if you know the story, but I didn't, so it all played out very well for me. The story is about this guy, Frederic Bourdin, a French man who pretended to be a missing child from Texas. The beginning will leave you baffled as to why his family would believe that this man is their child. None of it makes sense. The family isn't really portrayed as being at all intelligent - the sister actually asks the question "isn't that like across the country?" when talking about Spain. But really, the missing child had blue eyes, blond hair and a Texas accent - he comes back 3 years later with brown eyes, dyed blond hair and a French accent and they believe him? No one is that stupid. Then, the film reveals some theories that make a whole lot of sense, although we still don't know what actually happened, which is ultimately frustrating.
5. Dead Man Down - I was really excited for this movie. Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace and the director of the original The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; I thought it would be a slam-dunk. I wanted to see it in the theater, but it was gone before I could blink. I didn't think that meant it was bad, just that it was poorly marketed. It wasn't really bad; it just wasn't all that exciting. There's a whole lot of tension, but none of it develops into anything memorable. The film suffers from bad lighting - most if it takes place at night, so most of it is really dark. How are we supposed to see how hot Colin is when everything is so dark!!! Also, while Colin does a decent American accent (and actually it's supposed to be a Hungarian accent that is pretending to be American...which had to be difficult), he's just not as hot. I have huge problems with Noomi's story line. She is supposed to be a disfigured woman, from a tragic car accident, but painting some scars on her face hardly makes her a monster (plus you barely see the scars because everything is so fucking dark!!). She is definitely supposed to be seen as physically flawed (kids throw stuff at her and call her names), but she is still more beautiful than an average woman (scars and all). I can't relate to her need for revenge, instead I see her as being ungrateful and vain. His need for revenge was real and gut-wrenching, hers was petty and unnecessary. The movie could have easily fit into a compact 90 minute action-thriller and it would have been a much better movie.