Self/Less: Review

Self/Less is a film which reminds you constantly not to suspend belief. The plot in Self/Less isn’t bad in itself but paired with bad writing/dialogue and a flat performance from Ryan Reynolds it pushes the film from being a promising B-  film to a soulless cash in on tried formulas. An over reliance on action movie tropes ,such as exaggerated military training capabilities, makes Self/Less fall into the category of outright silliness at times.

Characters behave and react to events in illogical and absurd manners. We are treated with a relatively disappointing and weakly written female supporting roles in a post-Mad Max society. A thoroughly unscientific plot attempts to prove that it is grounded but falls painstakingly short and expounds the gullible nature of Ryan’s on-screen “wife” even further. What could have been embraced as a distant undiscovered possibility is squandered by unconvincing narrative.

This movie had an intriguing premise which would be better suited to relish in its obscurity. It focuses on tried and overused devices in Hollywood filmmaking. With a lack of rational characters and motives, Self/Less fumbles while searching for it’s identity. While there is an obvious protagonist and antagonist, there really shouldn’t be. The audience is essentially forced into an opinion which would be fine if there was some sort of reasonable payoff.

We are given a glimpse about a debate on who is really right and wrong but ultimately do not care due to lack of execution. Self/Less isn’t a terrible movie but it certainly isn’t one that treats its audience as though they are remotely intelligent.

Verdict: 4/10 (Skip)

 

Dark Editorial: Jurassic World | Review

With all the mayhem and death that was going on in this film, they failed to show any on-screen kids getting eaten or hurt by dinosaurs. They showed plenty of adults getting eaten alive, though. The best they could show on-screen was the aftermath of kids with scratches getting treated. I suppose this can’t be helped. Our world has extremely weird taboos and standards. Being that violence and murder is fine but when it comes to anything sexual with nudity, then it’s too much for television/movies.

Another thing that I found amusing was Hoskins, head of InGen security, trying to persuade people to use the dinosaurs for military use. None of his arguments brought up our current use of canines overseas and how this would just be the evolution of military uses of animals. I guess that would be too real for audience and would make them feel guilty. People would like to forget that that there are actual animals dying in wars who are trained to sniff out IEDs. They had to paint this guy as a bad guy, so you can’t really blame them.

In the end, this movie was a good popcorn movie. If you are looking for a fun movie to watch, you won’t be disappointed.

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!

Fish Tank(2009): Review

In an ocean of independent films about troubled teenagers, Fish Tank truly sets itself apart from the pack. This a movie that I fell in love with progressively as it went on. Fish tank is a film I’m going to shower with praise because I really just can’t any faults in it.The best word to describe certain aspects of the film Fish Tank is authentic.

I sat there watching certain parts of the film, simply admiring how grounded the world seemed. It felt like I was looking outside of a window in  East London and spectating the lives of these characters.Camera work is phenomenal in this film.  The imagery isn’t the usual pretentious indie affair. There’s actual meaning for what the audience is allowed to see. The way the cinematographer selected what he should focus on was genius and allows for some great symbolism.

The director did a great job with the pacing in Fish Tank. A lot of independent movies end abstractly and almost feel completely detached from the rest of film. Fish Tank starts, progresses, and ends in a satisfying manner. It’s helped even further with fantastic writing.  The characters in Fish Tank are extremely well done. The performance by Katie Jarvis as the character Mia was really gripping.The dialogue was very well thought out for all of the characters. The dialogue almost seemed to give off the vibe that it was improvised for some sections of Mia’s scenes. That statement isn’t a criticism though; it’s just a testament to how absorbed I was in the world that Andrea Arnold had directed and penned.

Fish Tank is a forceful  drama that mesmerizes you by doing everything right. It’s a moving  piece of British cinema that works because its characters are convincing. It boasts a fantastic supporting cast and a real winner with a break out performance and debut from Katie Jarvis. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more work from Andrea Arnold. I recommend this film if you like your heart strings being played on.

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.

Transformers: Age of Extinction| Review

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With the exit of Shia LaBeouf from the franchise, many people, including me, have mixed opinions about this recent addition to transformers. I suppose it helps that they cast Mark Wahlberg to try and fill in that gap of stardom. His role in the movie wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. There wasn’t much character development for most of the main characters of the film. This is what made the first transformers movie so good. I found it hard to feel any sympathy for the humans. Why should I? It felt like these characters were just pushed on the audience. The robots got more face-time than most of the actors. I wonder how much of this film was shot in a green room. It must have been exhausting for the actors.

When the actors did get face time it seemed like they were forcefully saying some cheesy pun or line that made me cringe. I remember one line in particular where the autobots were talking about Optimus Prime and one of the autobots says something along the line of “That’s a leader you follow in the dark” and another autobot replies dramatically “NO… That’s Optimus Prime”. Without thinking I say out loud “NO… that’s Gay”. My buddy and I had a good laugh. It was immature and insensitive but I didn’t care at that moment. It reminded me of that scene in Godzilla where Ken Watanabe dramatically says “ We call Heem GODZEELA”. It was that bad. The movie delivers on a lot of action and great fight scenes but ultimately falls in pacing and seems drawn out. It seemed like a big part of the movie was just watching cars speed down back roads and highways. This movie is definitely rental material for a quick thrill with little substance but if you want a little more than that, you’re better off passing this one up when it hits Blu-ray and dvd.

 

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.