Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Moon (2009)

Genres

Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Director

Duncan Jones

Country

UK

Cast

Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott, Kaya Scodelario, Benedict Wong, Matt Berry, Malcolm Stewart, Robin Chalk

Storyline

Near the end of his three-year contract with Lunar Industries to harvest helium-3, the fuel now used on Earth, astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) finds himself a bit nervous and anxious as he finds out that he is not alone like he was supposed to be.

Opinion

I've seen Moon pop up quite a lot in the Thursday Movie Picks posts, so after months and months I finally watched it, and thank god it lived up to the hype. A fantastic and mind-blowing sci-fi drama is what I was expecting and that's exactly what I got.

The sci-fi story Duncan Jones wrote is intriguing, tense and thought-provoking and explores how we feel about a possible future dominated by evil corporations without being preachy nor treating the corporation as the villain. He also uses the lunar setting to explore and dig deep into human identity, with subjects such as alienation, loneliness and isolation. So, yeah, this isn't your typical sci-fi flick.

In addition to a compelling story, Moon also has a great main (and only) character as well. A character that feels incredibly real and relatable thanks to a brilliant performance from Sam Rockwell who is completely convincing as the confused astronaut. And the way he transitions from angry and insane to desperate and powerless, simply amazing.

In spite of barely having any special effect and the complete lack of action/spectacular battle scenes, Moon still qualifies as a brilliant, involving sci-fi movie that will stick with you for a while and will make for a great cinematic experience.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

Genres

Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Director

Michael Bay

Country

USA

Cast

Shia LaBeauf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Patrick Demsey, Kevin Dunn, Julie White, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Keiko Agena, Lester Speight, Josh Kelly, Alan Tudyk, Ken Jeong, Glenn Morshower, Buzz Aldrin, Bill O'Reilly, Elys Baskin, Andy Daly, Mindy Sterling

Storyline

Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeauf) is yet again trying to start a new, normal life. Unfortunately, the Autobots and their human allies discover a lost piece of Cybertronian technology, and Sam discovers a conspiracy by the Decepticons who plot to use it for their own evil purposes.

Opinion

Just because you don't believe it can happen, it doesn't mean it won't happen. That's what I like to tell myself after watching a movie like Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Because I thought the series hit the bottom with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen but Michael Bay just had to prove me wrong.

Everything is terrible in this one, starting from the script. It easily qualifies as one of the worst script ever. I mean, the story isn't just plain stupid but it's complicated as well. Because apparently, the writers weren't up to write a story that was both stupid and simple. They tried to do what Nolan did with Inception, and you don't do Inception unless you are a filmmaker/writer worth of being called so. Also, if you are trying to write a smart story, you should probably avoid all those plot holes that make it look like Swiss cheese.

The terrible writing also expands to the characters. From Autobots to humans, there has to be somehting like a million of characters, one more stupid than the other, one more meaningless than the other. Starting from Sam Witwicky's new girlfriend, "played" by a dreadfully Rosi Huntington-Whiteley whose presence is almost unbearable to Patrick Dempsey's pathetic human villain. Because Decepticons weren't enough, the film needed more villains. Not to mention the other pointless characters that completely wasted talented actors such as Frances McDormand and John Malkovich.

The dialogue doesn't get any better. It is simply pathetic. Just like the jokes, they are so not funny and fall flatter than a crêpe. Food aside, any attempt at humour is painful to watch.

What's even worse though is that Transformers: Dark of the Moon isn't even the stupid action-packed blockbuster I was getting used to with this franchise. The action is terrible as well. There are just too many explosions, too many scenes that try too hard to be special or memorable. And the special effects, well, they weren't that bad six years ago in a theater in 3D but now, on a small screen in 2D, there's really nothing great about them.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Storks (2016)

Genres

Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Directors

Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland

Country

USA

Voice Cast

Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan-Michael Key, Anton Starkman, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Danny Trejo, Chris Smith, Awkwafina

Storyline

Storks deliver babies...or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for a global corporation. But when stork Junior (Andy Samberg) accidentally creates a baby, he must fix the error by delivering the baby.

Opinion

This movie was not on my watchlist. Also, I was expecting a truly awful film. That said, I still decided to give a try because I'm an animation junkie, and I'm glad I did because it was quite a surprise. It may not be the best animated flick of the (past) year, but it still is a funny and entertaining family film.

That said, let's start with the first flaw, the story. It is paper-thin and feels forced, not to mention how little sense it makes. The setup is also a bit too complicated for a kid movie. The good thing about the silly story is that it explains to kids in a very imaginative/unrealistic yet nice way the decline in births in latest years, the reason being people picking objects over babies. Now, whether this does or doesn't suit little kids, it's up to you to say.

The characters really make the difference here. The film starts off pretty slowly and isn't very exciting but as soon as the character of Tulip, a goofy and silly young woman, is introduced, the film gets better. It's simply because the character is amazing and incredibly funny. And her chemistry with Junior, the stork, is beautiful.

The animation is also very cute and colourful. Everything looks beautiful, from the settings to the facial expressions of the characters. Especially the baby who is super cute and adorable, and that's a lot coming from someone who doesn't like kids. 


Saturday, 20 May 2017

Pay It Forward (2000)

Genre

Drama

Director

Mimi Leder

Country

USA

Cast

Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment, Jay Mohr, James Caviezel, Angie Dickinson, Jon Bon Jovi, Marc Donato, David Ramsey, Gary Werntz, Kathleen Wilhoite

Storyline

Grown up with an alcoholic mother (Helen Hunt) and an abusive but absent father (Jon Bon Jovi), young Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) attempts to make the world a better place after an assignment from his new social studies his teacher (Kevin Spacey).

Opinion

September 2015. Pay It Forward is on tv and although it's on my watchlist because of Kevin Spacey I don't bother watching it. I tape it instead. And forget about it. May 2017. I find the VHS having no idea what's in it. And what's the better way to find out? Watch it, of course. And so I did, and I was completely drawn into the movie because, in spite of its flaws, Pay It Forward is a very well done and inspiring movie.

And most of the credits go to the writing - and to the author of the book, I guess. Although at some points it gets a little unlikely, some of the turns it takes and some of the dialogue feel a bit forced as they are used only to keep the movie go forward but they don't really add a thing, the story is well written, it flows incredibly smoothly and it's also moving and touching without being too sentimental.

The message this film sends is amazing. With a pyramid that reminded me of the get rich schemes some people promote, this film makes you think about the meaning of life. It shows how easy it can be to make the world a better place. How inexpensive. But it also shows the unfairness of life, how some people actually try to make a difference but they eventually pay with their lives for it.

The characters are another of the film's strengths. Not only they are so well written and developed you start to feel what they are feeling and care for them, but they are also well portrayed. Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt are great, but Haley Joel Osment really steals the show with a truly emotional performance. 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Get Out (2017)

Genres

Horror, Mystery

Director

Jordan Peele

Country

USA

Cast

Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener, Caleb Landry Jones, Lil Rel Howery, Betty Gabriel, Marcus Henderson, LaKeith Stanfield, Stephen Root, Erika Alexander, Zailand Adams

Storyline

Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) go upstate to visit her parent's for the weekend. It starts just fine but as the weekend progresses, it turns into a disturbing nightmare.

Opinion

For the past few months, I've been reading reviews praising Get Out which only made me want to see the film even more and had me expecting a great horror movie. I left the theatre happy but disappointed, because, while it was a suspenseful and creepy film, it really didn't work as a horror for me because it wasn't scary. But, like I said, it was a pretty good thriller.

And the good starts from the solid script. A script that features a simple yet engaging story that doesn't have any mind-blowing plot twist but whose plot points are very well structured, and will keep guessing what's going to happen next as director Jordan Peele skillfully builds tension and suspense.

The characters could have been a little deeper and better developed, but they aren't that bad for the genre. In spite of that, Daniel Kaluuya manages to shine as the leading character, Chris, with a performance that captures the horror and shock felt by the character as well as a wide range of emotions in a very genuine way.

However, what I liked the most about Get Out is the fact that it talks about racism and it does a pretty good job. This is the kind of movie that really makes you reflect on how African Americans are still treated in certain parts of the United States. Sure, Peele used a pretty unrealistic theme, but it works.