Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Divergent - I liked a lot of things about this movie, but overall I don't think it will leave any lasting impression. It really needed to be about 30 minutes shorter; there are so many repetitive/unnecessary scenes. The plot is interesting - it basically sets out to test the "nature vs nurture" debate; while also arguing an inherent sense of a contradictory human nature. We are not just one defined label; we are built with many labels, and often, forced to pick one. It is also a direct commentary on religion; although, it steers clear of being that controversial, which is ultimately disappointing. The movie doesn't really pick up until the whole "divergent" part, but I think it built a solid beginning to a story that will grow with the sequels. The cast is endless (aside from the main stars, the cast includes: Ashley Judd, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Stevenson, Tony Goldwyn and Maggie Q). I like Shailene Woodley (because she is an alum of The O.C. and therefore, I will always root for her), as an actress. She's given some solid performances and she is strong here. I just hope that she educates herself before she opens her mouth and says something stupid again (Miss "I'm not a feminist because I love men"). On a side note, I sort of love the scene where she gets to smack around Miles Teller because that's what should have happened in The Spectacular Now (I'm kidding of course, I would never condone violence in a any kind of relationship)

2. Locke - Sometimes I like these confined space type of movies, if they are done well and if there is a strong actor/actress involved. Tom Hardy is definitely strong enough for a role like this. My problem with the movie is that it takes place at night in a moving car - so I had trouble focusing (I have really bad eyesight - and I haven't been to the eye doctor in over 10 years. I KNOW!).  I really like watching Tom Hardy talk - the whole movie is pretty much him talking, which is much different than his past roles (Lawless, The Dark Knight, Warrior). I love his accent. It almost sounds a little Irish. I have no idea where he is from; and I don't care enough about him to look it up. Anyway, it's an interesting movie, and it flies by. It's a pretty short run-time, which is great because if it were any longer I may have been bored; instead I was like "wow...it's over?! It just started!". I do have some issues with the way it portrays women with the "bitches be crazy" mentality. He's obviously a dishonest asshole, but we are forced to sympathize with him because both women he talks to are irrational. But, that's a minor issue (and one that I am sadly used to). I wouldn't really call it a "thriller" as it's described (it's even on the poster), but overall, it's a solid movie.

3. Gambit - This is one of those movies that I put on to fill the silence while I cleaned my apartment. It was released in the UK over 2 years ago, but was just recently released in the US (via VOD). I had interest because of Colin Firth. I LOVE Colin Firth. Yes, he almost always plays the same character, but when he doesn't he is fantastic - like with A Single Man. Absolutely stunning performance. I figured the movie would be bad (Cameron Diaz is a box office draw, so if they are shelving this, it must be bad). Her accent in this movie is embarrassing; that Texas slang never sounded so cringe-worthy. The whole movie can be boiled down to one scene - an innuendo that she is a prostitute and refers to his penis as "the major". It's overt comedy, with no intelligence behind it. I just don't find stuff like that funny.

4. Transcendence - Dumbest movie I've seen this year. It didn't even try to make sense. First, it's a plot that Ross (from Friends) came up with (15 years ago!), so needless to say, the story seems very outdated. It started off okay, because it questioned "the soul" - where it lives and what happens to it when we die. Then, it goes all "technology is scary and it's going to take over the world" and takes it to such extremes that technology is actually becoming the world (like...physically. Yes...it's that dumb). Second, there is such a strong cast that is wasted. I don't hate Johnny Depp (and I never will), but I will agree that he's kind of given up a bit. I was more excited about Rebecca Hall and Kate Mara, but they could not save this atrocity. Kate Mara's hair in this movie is scary bad. Plus, she's not even in it that much. Does Hollywood not realize how great she is yet? She should be a HUGE star by now. Get it together, people.

5. You're Next - So, in a way, I'm disappointed by this movie because I heard that it is supposed to be a genuinely terrifying movie and it isn't. I'm not easily scared by movies, but I was looking forward to something that would give me a fright. However, I really, really like this movie. A lot. It goes against a lot of horror tropes - and not in the same way that current horror movies do (the trend that started with Scream is to pretend that the film is different by satirizing horror, but then doing the exact same thing - more current example would be Cabin in the Woods. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both the Scream franchise and Cabin in the Woods). This movie is about a family, instead of a group of friends - which already sets up a different dynamic. They are also adults instead of dumb teenagers. And, the best part, the young, pretty girl is actually the bad-ass hero. Not only does she take control of the situation, she never once relies on a man to save her. It's kind of awesome. The best line "how were we supposed to know you were really good at killing people?!" Made me laugh so hard. There are some pretty gruesome kills, but the one I felt the most, is the wire through the throat scene - only because I ran into a wire when I was a kid (playing midnight Hide & Seek...bad idea). I remember the initial pain so clearly; I honestly thought I was split in half - and I felt blood everywhere (sorry, gruesome, I know...I'll stop). Luckily, I didn't hurt myself too seriously (not even a scar!). Still hurt, though. Anyway, I also LOVED the music in this movie - I don't even know how to describe it, but it's memorable. And the scene in the dark, with the camera flashing - perfection. I definitely recommend this movie, even if it didn't scare me - it's still a really solid, well-made movie.

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