Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. What If - What an annoying, shitty movie. I think I hated it so much, because I heard really good things about it. I don't usually look forward to romantic comedies, however when there is one that I like; I really like it. I was a bit skeptical with this movie because I'm not really a fan Zoe Kazan (I hate Ruby Sparks with so much passion). I heard really great things about her chemistry with Daniel Radcliffe in this movie; and I am always willing to give actors a chance to prove me wrong. Radcliffe is an example of an actor who has changed my mind. He was so awful in the Harry Potter movies; it's one of the reasons I couldn't make it through those atrocities. However, he was a strong presence in both The Woman in Black and Kill Your Darlings, plus his EPIC rap moment on The Tonight Show still blows my mind (Watch it: . It's the best. I've watched it at least a dozen times, in amazement). He is adequate in this movie; playing the "normal guy" with ease. Kazan, however, is still on my shit list. Her character is super annoying; and I realize that this isn't her fault (this time, anyway), but I do wonder if another actress in the role would have been less grating. As for the movie, I hated the entire plot. The theory behind "men and women can't be friends" is explored, in a really awful, sexist way. This "theory" is something that is projected from men, as way to control their own feelings of jealousy. The movie is a horrible representation of this, because the guy does have feelings for the girl (from the beginning), lies to her during their entire "friendship", she does lead him on several times and gives her boyfriend a completely legitimate reason to act jealous. Then *spoiler*, they get married and live happily ever after and now I want to murder someone.

2. Life After Beth - Aubrey Plaza. Zombies. I'm there already. Add in Dane DeHaan? Whoa. This movie had so much potential. Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to this potential. It's funny and cute in some parts, but overall it's not very memorable. I'm sad to say that I don't actually think I'm a fan of Plaza. I LOVE her on Parks and Recreation so much, but she does the same character (the awkward, side-eyed snarky girl) in every project and sometimes a role needs more than that. I'm not sure that she has more to offer, and if she does, then she needs to show it. Pronto. Dane DeHaan, on the other hand, is excellent. He's better than this movie. He elevates the emotion; and the complications (you know...of having a zombie girlfriend). There are some great supporting actors (Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Paul Reiser, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines...the list goes on) that are severely underutilized. Why cast such a group of funny actors, and give them nothing to do?

3. Rage - I had to see this movie. It's a Nicolas Cage movie called Rage!! The genius behind that decision deserves an award. The movie is not good. I wasn't expecting it to be good, so nothing lost; nothing gained. It's basically a slightly more violent, harsher version of Taken (although Liam Neeson > Nicolas Cage. Always and forever). The only difference is *spoiler* the girl actually turns up dead 30 minutes in. I definitely wasn't expecting that. That was about the only interesting thing that happened, though. I stopped paying attention to it about 1/2 way through and then picked it up again at the end (the middle was super boring). It's super ridiculous to cast Rachel Nichols as Cage's wife. The 16 year age difference is bad enough, but their lack of chemistry is evident with every scene. Also, I have an unjust hatred towards Ms. Nichols because she RUINED my favorite show, Alias. I still haven't forgiven her, and it's unclear if I ever will. Also, the chase scene made me laugh because it was filmed in slow-motion. Let me repeat: a chase scene in slow-motion. Is this because Nicolas Cage can't run fast?

4. The Purge: Anarchy - I liked the first one. At least, I liked the idea of the first one. I just felt that the stakes weren't high enough. The audience was forced to sympathize with a wealthy family, who could have easily just built a safe room to protect themselves during "the purge". I was so happy to see that they made a movie around a group of people who can't afford such protection. There is also a clear commentary on the class warfare that would occur during an event like this, which I felt was lacking in the first one. This setup is just so much better. I like the cast, too. Frank Grillo is always awesome. And Matt Saracen!! I didn't realize that he is married to Kiele Sanchez in real life!? How cute. Anyway, I liked the movie, but I still felt like the concept isn't as fully explored as it could be (but I'm sure more sequels are on the way). The movie is way more predictable than it should be. I knew exactly how every scene was going to play out; who would die and who would live. It takes away the tension, a bit. I really, really loved his car, though. That texture?! WANT.

5. Oculus - As you may know, I'm not really big on supernatural horror movies, so this movie is already at a disadvantage for me. I still wanted to see it because of Karen Gillan. I like her, a lot. Then I started the movie and I saw Battlestar Galactica's very own Katee Sackhoff and I got overly excited. The plot is so stupid, it hurts. A haunted mirror. Really? Am I supposed to be scared of that? Are people really scared of that? HOW? WHY? I don't get it. The only thing that is 1/2 interesting, is the psychology behind it - the idea that the brain creates narratives for things/events that it can't comprehend such as a traumatic experience. I wish this was explored more, but instead the movie focused on some pretty silly elements. I did like the way it cuts between past and present; it held my interest, which is more than I can say for similar movies. Plus, that light bulb scene? Holy cow. That's a scene that I will never forget. Unfortunately, the worst part of the movie is Gillan. I'm not sure if it was just a terrible role for her; or if she is, in fact, a bad actress. I loved her on Doctor Who, and she was awesome in Guardians of the Galaxy (I didn't even know it was her, until it was over).  I refused to watch Selfie, so I don't know how her acting was on that show (I'm guessing, everything about that show was not good). I still really like her, though, and, to be fair, this character is just awkward. The casting was weird - they looked nothing alike to be siblings; so I spent the movie thinking that was going to be the "twist", which distracts from the plot. I liked the way it ended (it was predictable, but it had to end that way).


  1. Speaking of Aubrey Plaza, were you aware she's the title character in the Grumpy Cat movie?...Were you even aware that such a monstrosity as the Grumpy Cat movie even exists? Well it's Plaza once again playing the exact same role AGAIN. Blergh.

    Here's a funny Shortpacked strip about Selfie.

  2. Oh, and how was Alias ruined by this Rachel Nichols?

    1. Yeah...I've heard of the Grumpy Cat move. Such crap!

      Rachel Nichols was one of the new characters introduced towards the end of the series. I hated the whole thing. Not entirely her fault; the other characters were awful too.