Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Fast & Furious 6 - As a whole, I am a fan of this franchise - the only one I didn't like was the Tokyo Drift one. I enjoy it for what it is: super awesome car chases, hot people, cheesy dialogue, and more car chases. I like that women are a part of the action, and even the female character who doesn't participate as much in the action, is still a supportive female presence, instead of a nagging one. It's surprising that a movie like this actually gets female roles right, but it does. Plus, how can anyone resist watching a fight between Michelle Rodriguez and Gina Carano? Fucking aaaaawsooome! I actually like Gina Carano, even though I wasn't impressed with her in Haywire (I think her performance was a result of bad circumstances - the altered voice, the over-choreographed fight scenes, the awkward dialogue = disaster), however, she proves herself here and I've seen her in a few interviews where she seems authentic. Also, I really like Gal Gadot - I'm not sure why everyone is freaking out about her playing Wonder Woman (the biggest complaint seems to be that she's too skinny, which is ridiculous). You may wonder why I am focusing on the female characters in an action movie geared towards men. I don't have a reason, other than because I want to. The only other comment I have is that watching this movie, after the death of Paul Walker, was a bit of a downer; certainly not the ridiculous fun that was intended. I tried not to think about it, but it was inevitable.

2. The Family - Horrible movie. It's certainly not the worst film of last year, but I would vote it the "dullest film" of last year.  How do you make a mob story starring Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer boring? It has to take a certain talent to make something this disastrous. It honestly baffles my mind that the same person who created Leon: The Professional, also created this. It makes no sense!!! The biggest flaw in the movie is Dianna Agron - she has absolutely zero personality (no surprise there) and her story line barely makes any sense. The plot of the movie is all over the place, with no direction or motivation. There is no character development, or any understanding for the actions that they take. Plus, it takes place in France, but all of the French people speak English (with a French accent). Stuff like that always drives me insane.

3. Prisoners - I like this movie a lot. This is the type of movie that I know if I watched it again, I would pick up on something else that serves the plot; something brilliant. I thought it felt too long, but after I really absorbed everything, I realized that every single scene is an important piece to the puzzle. There's a lot more depth than I think people give it credit for after a first watch. However, I do think it's a little convenient - the way it ends, makes no sense (*spoiler - didn't the cops do a search of the house? They said they did. I realize that part of the story is the investigative approach of a cop versus the intuition of a father, however, the main cop, is definitely invested in the case - wouldn't he ensure a thorough search?). There are also, at least, two other plot points that I take issue with that are hard to ignore. I'll try my best though, because with a film like this, the good parts are much stronger than the weak parts. I love the theme of being obsessed, i.e a prisoner of your own obsessions, and the moral ambiguity behind it all. The cast is incredible, headed by Hugh Jackman, but consists of fantastic supporting performances as well.  If this movie was released during the Holidays, I think we would be seeing a different Oscar race (at least in the performance categories).

4. Lee Daniels' The Butler - This could have been a good movie; it's a fascinating story that spans decades of American history.  The problem is that because it spans so much time; a lot of important information is glossed over. It felt really unfocused.  Also, I find it weird to base a story on a real person, but add an additional (and very important) character to the story; his son, the one who joins The Black Panther movement, doesn't exist in real life. The character was just created as a story-telling device. It does a disservice to the story, though, because it's basically stating that the "real" story, isn't all that interesting (it is, if they told it right). The other problem, the bigger problem, is the casting. Truly laughable casting - in a film that is supposed to be serious, it is really distracting. It's confusing because it almost seems like distraction is the intent ("this movie sucks...but look who we cast as the Kennedy's!").  I was also extremely distracted by Yaya Alfia because I spent an hour trying to figure out how I know her. She seemed so familiar, but when I checked her IMDB page nothing stood out. Then I thought "maybe...I actually know in real life", which led me to look into her background further only to realize she's from America's Next Top Model (I'm a huge fan of ANTM. Go ahead, judge me. I deserve it.). I didn't realize she started acting - good for her, she is one of the few credible performances in the movie. On a side note, this poster I used is a much stronger image than anything in the entire movie.

5. Drinking Buddies - This movie was a nice surprise for me. I wasn't expecting much; hadn't really heard much about it.  I expected a cute, cheesy, romantic buddy comedy.  None of those words in that sentence describe the movie at all. It's a mature, authentic depiction of friendship, love and lust. The biggest highlight is Olivia Wilde - I love her; have been a fan since her O.C days.  I am ecstatic that she absolutely kills this role. I like Jake Johnson on New Girl, but I think he does the same character here, so it's hard to judge his acting ability.  He is very likable, though, and that is necessary for this role. In fact, it's necessary that all of the characters are likable and easy to relate to (they all are), because it makes everything more complicated. None of the characters are depicted as bad people, even though they all do hurtful things - which I think is more true to life. Shit happens, you know? People change, feelings change and will continue to change. It's the only fact of life: change.

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