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.

Pacific Rim Review

Guillermo del Toro’s robot vs. monster blockbuster crashed into theaters this weekend. Toro is known for a variety of of films, ranging from animated family movies, to horror, and fantasy. It’s really interesting that he can have his hands on such varied material. One year he is directing Hellboy, the next Pans Labyrinth. His offering to theater goers this summer from his latest film delivers for mech and science fiction fans.

A portal in the bottom of the pacific ocean opens and giant monsters (Kaiju) emerge and wreak havoc on mankind. The world truly comes together for the first time to combat the invaders. The world’s most talented engineers and minds collaborate to invent colossal human shaped mechs. These mechs are controlled by humans in real time. To alleviate the mental strain of this connection to the Jaeger, two pilots sync their minds together and share the load.

The story is cheerful and generally upbeat. The film goer is presented with some amazing action sequences and fights. I didn’t watch the film in 3-D but I was thoroughly entertained by the action. It was fast but not too fast that I couldn’t keep up with it. Plot and character developments come at a generally acceptable pace. The story never becomes too gloomy or have too many highs or lows.

The visual aspect of this film was one of its highlights. The movie felt grounded despite it’s large use of computer generated imagery. The backdrops never felt too green-screeny and there were actually some very cool sets. The ambient lighting in Hong Kong in particular was superb.

Idris Elba brought some good acting to the film in a role he is becoming known for; The Zen-Master like authority figure/leader. And we get his british voice –a nice change from the norm. Some of the comedic relief from Charlie Day(Always Sunny in Philadelphia) seems a bit too much at times but it works in most cases. The best performance in my opinon came from Rinko Kikuchi. Her character Mako is quirky, shy, demanding, and full of vengeance;all at once. How she pulls it off?, I’m not so sure but its really entertaining to see her interact with the other cast members. And of course we get a cameo from Ron Pearlman as a black market vendor for Kaiju parts— a sort of signature addition to the cast from Guillermo del Toro, that got plenty of laughs from his fans.The dialogue of the characters wasn’t revolutionary or exceptional in anyway but it was just so fun to let go and watch the story unfold.

In many ways this experience felt like I was watching a live action anime movie. The inner geek in me took hold. Mechs? Check. Monsters? Check. Akward romances? Check. Bizarre and at times stereotypical personalities? Check. The film was exciting and managed to keep me entertained for 2+ hours. Go to see it. It’s surprisingly satisfying and has the potential to be del Toro’s new big franchise.

‘Lincoln’ Review

Our most highly regarded president, next to George Washington gets yet another movie, fortunately this time he isn’t fighting off hordes of vampires. What we do get, is a pretty straight forward account of Lincoln’struggle to pass the 13th amendment through a divided house. Sounds tantalizing right? Sadly, the film is a sleep inducing two hours and thirty minutes of your life.

Spielberg who has the role of producer and director of the movie , was once well known for his producing and directing of blockbuster caliber cinema. His ambitious decision to take on the task of a biopic of the renowned president, was met with mixed reactions.I suppose I was stupid in allowing myself to believe that because Steven Spielberg was attached to the film, it would somehow be a bit more interesting.

Don’t get me wrong the movie is intelligent. It covers the very important and often nowadays overlooked topic of the abolition of slavery and racism in our country. Yes, I know it probably sounds professional to pretend to enjoy movies that are ‘deliberately’ slow and rigid in their telling but I refuse to compromise. The only thing that sets this film apart from being a cringe worthy BBC program is its permission to allow Lincoln to crack a few jokes now and then.

I suppose Lincoln’s personal story and joke telling were one of the best aspects of the film. One particularly scene I’d like to  mention involves a portrait of George Washington in the John.  He was well known for his humor and this was explored successfully in the film. The comedic elements of the movie lightened the otherwise colorless tale. Yet, even the comedic aspect of the film grew stale, leading to an on screen character eventually declaring that he can’t take another one of Lincoln’s stories.

Several parts of the movie I thought could have been handled a bit better; Lincoln’s family affairs and his imminent assassination. There were several scenes with Lincoln fighting with his wife about whether on not to allow their son to join the war but their only purpose seemed to be in cooking up a sense of empathy for Lincoln and his wife. Yes, Lincoln’s assassination happens off screen. Some may say this was done tastefully but I disagree. I think their was a missed opportunity to create some suspense and a more dramatic and climatic ending.

The BAFTA award winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis creates a believable character and is dedicated to his portrayal of the president, much like he is with most of his roles. Sadly the script is boring and uninspired and leaves little room for the actor to show any real emotion. The plot unravels at a snails pace and concludes in a anticlimactic and flat manner.

Do yourself the favor and limit yourself to just the trailer/preview. The story can be summed up in a couple words: My name is Lincoln and I want those gosh darn votes for my amendment. The best parts of the film arrive during debates on the floor of the house of representatives. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before though, in countless other movies without the old fashion, and at times difficult to follow style of speech. I suppose if you want to watch a history book unveil its self on the screen , you’ve gone to the right place.

Review Score : 5/10