Gone Girl: Review

“Did you kill your wife?” This is the slogan for the movie and the most important question asked in this film, but all is not what it seems in this mysterious drama. Ignoring misogynistic claims from the community, which are actually  sort of legitimate, I’m going to just focus on whether this film is good or bad. Gone Girl is a thriller that absorbs you in its story. The adaptation from the best selling novel from Gillian Flynn, translates relatively nice onto the big screen.

Thanks to the great directing from David Fincher and the source material. Major plot devices and elements aren’t sprung on you at the last possible moment for shock purposes. Rosamund Pike’s performance as the alleged killer’s wife Amy will certainly be receiving some nods come awards time. Ben Affleck portrayed the alleged killer’s role with a level of charisma and skill that is really great to watch. His performance up to and including the trial is really a a strong and pleasant reminder of what we could possibly be receiving when he masks himself as the caped crusader.

Gone Girl is  considerably dark; a theme and mood that Fincher is becoming synonymous with. Fincher flourishes in this adaptation of this mysterious and gloomy story. He somehow manages to invoke sympathy from multiple angles in this story, a difficult task considering this particular narrative. There are limitations to what can be done with adaptations, such as these. I couldn’t really comment on the faithfulness of the film to the source material but I was left wanting more at the conclusion of the movie.  We are given a fantastic build up and a relatively anticlimactic ending. This I must reiterate has no impact or takes away from the overall film in any way.

I was left satisfied and was thoroughly engrossed throughout. Affleck is truly on a great streak right now. We can only hope that his involvement in the Batman film does not force him out of roles like this. This might be on the last films we see before we can only see him as the Bat. I highly recommend going out to the theater and seeing this or pick it up on Blu-ray!

Transcendence: Review

Transcendence wanted so bad to prove to you that it wasn’t mediocre. It sports a great cast, great special effects, and  the premise of the story had so much potential that I almost had a semi reading the plot summary. Hollywood needs to learn that you can’t just throw money at a project and expect for the best.

The plot seemed like it was trying to do too much with too little time. A little more focus on the science behind what was happening on screen could have been beneficial. On the other hand, it also could have highlighted how ridiculous everything in this film actually was. We get a ton of run-of-the-mill performances from big name actors but the only real stand out is Paul Bettany. Maybe they should have thrown a couple more smooth talking English actors in the mix to give the illusion that the dialogue wasn’t uninspired.

Sentient artificial intelligence is a topic that I’m very attracted to. I am a great supporter of the Mass Effect series. This is a franchise that really shows how well a story about artificial intelligence can be done. In the universe of Mass Effect Artificial Intelligence is outlawed due to the dangers they present to organic beings.The basic premise of the plot in Transcendence is a bunch of religious nut jobs in an organization called R.I.F.T attack a scientist named William Castor. He is a man who is researching and developing a sentient machine. He is gravely injured and his grieving wife decides to take their research to the next stage by “uploading him”. The plot is a convoluted mess and the actions of the people on screen make little to no sense. In fact I think some characters roles in the film are so insignificant, I ponder why they even made it pass post production.

Wally Pfister who received well deserved attention for his cinematographic  work  on the movie Inception, made his directorial debut on the film. He did a  fair job but to be blunt I think this film needed him more in the cinematography aspect. Characters move around the screen in Transcendence like they don’t know what they are doing or where they are going. It just felt really sloppy and awkward at times to watch.

Transcendence is mostly horrible. Avoid it, unless you like blockbuster mediocrity.

Locke: Review

Skepticism is the first feeling that rose in me upon deciding if I should watch the film Locke. A drama which follow the story of a construction worker in his car. The entirety of the film takes place in his car, with only the main character Ivan Locke ever getting any screen time. How in the world would this movie work? So many things could make this movie be a disappointment but in the end Stephen Knight did an admirable job directing this piece. What kept this movie interesting was the constant flow of dialogue and story.

You’re witnessing the movie as if it’s in real time. You aren’t bombarded with too much artsy overdone cinematography or wide shots. You’re literally being taken on a ride with Ivan. I really enjoyed Ivan’s character. Even though Tom Hardy’s character has done wrong by his wife and he has royally screwed up in his professional career, he goes over and beyond to make things right. The feelings of empathy I felt for his character actually surprised me. I know he did some things that would be very hard to be forgiven but I’d have to actually think about how I would feel if I was him. Tom Hardy really makes you want to forgive him. His actions can’t be undone but he hopes that he can redeem himself and prove to himself  and possible to his father that he  is a good man.

A pretty  good indication of acting quality can be derived from how well an actor can bring forth intense feelings without any other real actors/actresses to physically relate to. This was  a great job for  Tom Hardy and a great casting decision as well.  Just him,the camera, and raw emotion. Movies like this do wonders for actors. Of course he could do super fun and high paying jobs like being Bane in the Dark Knight but taking a role in a independent film like Locke is just as important. It’s much more challenging and rewarding. Locke actually exceeded my expectations. I found myself almost cheering for the cheating British lad and that says a lot. Or maybe it says nothing at all. Maybe I’m just brainwashed after all the film business is an industry dominated by male protaganist who can literally get away with anything. All I know is, it was really interesting to watch and I’d go as far as recommending it.

Changes Coming to MovieandTVBuff

I think the previous way I went about having this site running was a bit too strict. I focused too much on the site being an actual authentic review site and less on just writing my own opinions. The review process can be a  kind of a black hole of sorts. You waste a large portion of your time thinking of things to say that sound professional without actually saying anything at all. So from this point forward I’m going to write my reviews/thoughts in a more bloggish or casual manner. Hopefully this new way of making post on here will encourage me to write more and get less burnt out in the long run. I love all types of media so I’ll still stay focused on what I enjoy; videogames, movies, and TV shows. Starting now it will be a lot more laid back and with much less word count.I think that’s a good thing too. No one wants to read a block of text. That’s all for now guys. MovieandTVBuff.com will be back shortly.

The Counselor: Review

From the writer who brought us The Road and No Country for Old Men, comes the tale of a naive lawyer who tries his hand in the dangerous but lucrative business of drug running. This is a film that had sparks of brilliance but ultimately failed due to having a  plot that doesn’t effectively translate to the big screen.

The screenplay is full of witty and intelligent dialogue. Sadly it was hard to suspend belief while watching because this attribute applied to almost  every character. Almost  every member of the cast was too smart for there own good, It was bit hard to follow the narrative when you are bombarded with long winded conversations. These extended scenes of dialogue paid off at times but on the other hand it just seems as if the characters were just going off on tangents. This really threw off the pacing of the film.

The focus on the characters of the story is trademark Ridley Scott. His direction in the film really allowed for the development of some interesting personalities. We are treated with some some impressive lighting and camera work. The dark scenes set in mexico offer a great visual and atmospheric contrast to what is happening under the surface.

The movie sports an impressive and ensemble Cast. Javier Bardem, is always an interesting guy to watch on screen. Bardem plays the role of Reiner; a drug dealer who invites the counselor in on some of the action.  He  brings a unique flare to the characters he portrays. He exudes an exotic essence of culture and his personality was one of the more memorable in the film. And he also manages to bring to the film what is becoming a signature attribute of his; his knack for having the wildest hair-dos. The most technically impressive acting which shouldn’t come as a surprise, was the performance from Michael Fassbender. He has an ability to portray some varied and powerful emotions.

Brad Pitt gives a good performance but I think he needs to work on a new accent because it seems like its been dragging on for a couple films now. One of  the biggest surprises for me though comes from the casting decision of Cameron Diaz as the antagonist. I have to give it to Diaz. She really portrayed the cold and calculating girlfriend of Reiner expertly. My blood was boiling just about every moment I saw her on the screen. She might be known for more lighter  roles but she definitely has more potential then being the usual pretty face in romcoms.

The Counselor is a clever and sexy drama but probably won’t provide enough thrills to keep the average movie-goers attention. The film has moments of suspense but it is overshadowed by some bad decisions in its pacing. With all the talent attached to this film Its surprising this film wasn’t better. The pieces just didn’t fall together. The dialogue occasionally felt like the characters were showing off. The story was convoluted and ended in a somewhat abrupt manner. The Counselor was saved by splashes of humor, violence, and some utterly superb writing for most of the dialogue. In the end, I’d say definitely pass on this one until the Blu-ray or digital release.

Score: 6/10

Carrie (2013) |Review

Sitting through this film was extremely hard. I seriously considered walking out the theater during this abomination but taking into account the ridiculous movie prices nowadays, I decided to sit it out for the  giggles.  This was seriously a movie that shouldn’t have been made.  With so many things wrong with this film, I think I’ll start first with the couple positives of the movie,  then go from there.

Julianne Moore plays the part of the religious and abusive mother of Carrie. Her representation of the devout and somewhat psychotic nature of Margaret White was disturbing and pretty much on par from what I expected from this Stephen King character.  The scenes of self mutilation were particularly disturbing,  Gabriella Wilde actually surprised me in her portrayal of Sue Snell. She didn’t have much dialogue in the film but her character actually did evoke some sympathy from me.

Stephen King said something along the lines of “why remake the film, when the original was so good?”. Why can’t Hollywood let good films and franchises die? This film didn’t add anything  substantial to the previous movie. What we do get is a performance from Chloe Moretz that is overacted and downright awkward. Yeah, shes supposed to be the kid that everyone hates but I haven’t watched a film and shook my head in embarrassment this much, since the first G.I Joe movie released.

The use of special effects was distracting to the story. The flashy Hollywood effects were decidedly unimpressive and pretty much ridiculous at times. It’s sad that the people who made this film focused so much on transforming Carrie into something that the masses could relate to.  More work should have been done on the casting and cinematography.

The direction of the film was pretty sloppy. Portions of the film just fall flat. Queue scenes of Carrie at the library watching a boy type at impossible speeds on a computer. Additions of modern day bullying and technology appear to be an after thought.  Even after everything that happened to her, the buildup to the finale was somewhat of a let down. While watching, I felt  that somehow she was overreacting to the whole situation.

All of this is from a woman who directed Boys Don’t Cry. I’m  pretty much dumbfound at her work here. She managed to take the beloved and tortured character, Carrie, and somehow make her motives seem flawed. I went into the film with a neutral state of mind and left somewhat irritable but mostly disappointed.  All things considered it could have been worse. Lindsay Lohan was actually considered for the role at one point…

Score: 3/10 – You’ll Cringe… for all the wrong reasons.

Captain Phillips | Review

Paul Greengrass, best known for his work on the Jason Bourne series, bring us another compelling thriller to the cinemas with his latest work Captain Phillips. Stories based on true events are usually a dime a dozen but this film succeeds in creating a suspenseful and interesting film through his signature documentary style film work, a great cast, and solid screenplay.

The film got some flack for portraying Captain Phillips as a bit too much of a hero. In truth, he was a bit of a stubborn and smug guy who ignored countless warnings from his crew. Despite some criticisms, the film successfully toes the line between staying somewhat true to the story and yet bringing us a Hollywood script that is actually interesting to watch.

Tom hanks brings one of his top performances the the film. He portrays  the moralistic and stoic character believably. His accent took a bit to get use to but as the film progressed it began sounding a little a less John F Kennedy impersonation and more Bostonian. The real star of the film however is Barkha Abdi who masterfully steps into the role of Abduwali Muse. Abdi a Somalian taxi driver made his acting debut in the film and was chosen from an extensive 700 man cast pool. He brings to life the desperate nature of Muse’s situation and his way of life.

The film had some impressive production values and felt exceptionally grounded. Paul Greengrass thoroughly researched Somalian piracy and the events that happened on that day. Greengrass and the crew filmed on an actual ship and life boat instead of a green screen. And to further accurately recreate the location of the story he filmed the Somalia portions of the film in Malta. Paul Greengrass’ attention to detail and signature documentary style camera work paid off immensely for the authenticity of movie.

The film kept me on the edge of my seat. The dialogue for the Somalian cast was truly effective and some of the improvised lines really brought the characters to life. The film was a rare example of how to do a film based on factual events. Reasonably paced, a fine cast, good cinematographic techniques, and a interesting script to boot; there isn’t hardly a criticism to be found here. Besides a seemingly overused and somewhat Hans Zimmerian-ending track for the finale I can’t really think of any flaws. Captain Phillips is an intense and engrossing film and I highly recommend.

Score : 9/10