Friday, 30 January 2015

The Book Thief Review

The Book Thief
My Rating: 6.5/10

"Heartwarming and unique look at lives in Nazi Germany. Character development is key and is written and performed well (Geoffrey Rush being the stand out). The originality of the narrator really makes this story into something different. My only issue is, I didn't care as much as I should have. I have no idea why, maybe I am just having a heartless day. The film is undeniably a journey for the viewer, but maybe some of the emotional notes were presented off-beat or narrative oddly structured. You may feel the same."

Rotten Tomatoes Rating:46%
IMDB Rating:7.6/10

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Begin Again Review

Begin Again
My Rating: 6/10

"Begin Again has a basic plot and a lot of music. It revolves around two characters, both with difficult personal lives but one thing  in common, a love of music. 

Unfortunately there is little time given really to put some real emotion into their separate personal lives and so the ending is less impacting. The other thing is although I enjoyed the lead characters and their chemistry I had trouble relating to them at points. I also never learnt their character names and so in my head just called them, 'Mark Ruffalo, Keira Knightley, James Corden, Cee Lo Green and Mos Def'. 

That aside the soundtrack is fantastic and they are constantly throwing new written material out for us. Both Keira and Ruffalo really show their passion for music and there are plenty of wonderful scenes to accompany that. For example the joint ear phones in New York scenes and how Mark first hears Keira's performance while drunk.

I kind of felt like the film was grasping for the musical fulfillment that maybe 'School of Rock' or 'Frank' gave but not quite getting there.

What brings Begin Again up from a 5.5 to a 6 is the ending. It's not quite what you'd expect, and as mentioned in my 'Paper Planes' review we all like a bit of the unexpected. Especially with this familiar formula.  
It's not bad. It's not going to blow your mind but I like it!"

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 83%
IMDB Rating:7.5/10

Friday, 16 January 2015

Paper Planes Review

Paper Planes
My Rating: 7/10

"This film has a lot of issues. Little nit picks here and there. Like shoddy, unrealistic dialogue, iffy side characters and a scene they pretty much stole from the Disney Short, Paperman. But... this film has enough heart to help me forget almost all of the problems.

Firstly, it was a basic kids/family film in that we all 'hope' it's a happy ending and it usually is. Occasionally, as film goers we like to see everyone randomly die or be depressed at the end because it is out of the norm. But we must all admit that we still like a good happy ending.

Paper Planes, at it's core is a story about a father and son and where it shines is the build up of that relationship. Surrounding this heartfelt center is a bunch of fun, likable characters to join the ride. Something else I loved about the film is the wonder of travel in the eyes of the lead character. Coming from a junk yard of a home to Sydney and Tokyo!

The nit picks are obvious when you watch it, there are plenty. But I say go and enjoy it anyway because the ending is lovely. Look out for the heartfelt scene where the lead talks to his competitors father while playing golf.

PS: It's kinda karate kid but with a paper championship"

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: none
IMDB Rating:7.4/10

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Lucy Review

My Rating: 3.5/10

"So I recently reviewed 'Under the Skin' starring Scarlett Johansson. I gave it a 9/10. The only reason I mention that is for one; the two films were released close to each other but also similar posters were designed. Both portraying the actress (Scarlett Johansson)'s face staring outwards. So in a subconscious way, I think i expected similar from both. These films could not be further apart. 
I originally wanted to see Lucy because it had a cool trailer. I still stand by that, the trailer is cool. Plus it's not too often you see a female lead in an action movie. (Go watch Hanna)

The beginning of the film is alright while the lead character (Johansson) has a personality. As soon as she gets the super brain power she loses all of that relatability. Throwing away both her emotion and sympathy. The very smart lady wants to shoot everyone. I'm not entirely sure how gaining more knowledge turns you into a nut case.
At this point the audience has completely no way of relating to her as she is basically a dead eyed killer. We needed more signs of humanity than we were given.

Lucy gains a sidekick who is this french detective with no reason to be there at all and again, no personality. He's just there to get a kiss at the end. Gosh, I found his presence so annoying. 

The bad guys have no personalities, popping up in the stupidest ways and they all talk nonsense. They were played out in such a way I was not sure whether I should laugh or not.

Morgan Freeman stands around and says stuff the whole movie. I did like his character, but probably just because it was Morgan Freeman. He had a believable passion for the studies and if the rest of the movie was not so moronic his research might have sounded a lot more impressive over the visuals. 

There is only one bit of the film I liked. To read spoiler drag over the invisible text. The time travel scene and the moment when Lucy disappears completely in the chair. I'm not sure why, but I quite liked that bit 
End of invisible text

Weird cuts of animal footage and a relatively cool soundtrack make it seem like they were going for something more interesting but falling short. 

The problem is, if you're looking for an easy bit of entertainment it does not even reach that. 
Here is a quote from a friend. "For a film about how smart we could be it was dumb as shit."


Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 66%
IMDB Rating:6.4/10

Monday, 12 January 2015

Two Night Stand Review

Two Night Stand
My Rating: 6.5/10

"What I like about this film is it is presented a bit like a bottle episode. The whole plot is based around two characters having to get to know each other because they're stuck inside an apartment.

The performances are good and mostly it's fun to watch the chemistry. 
The issues I have with it are the characters are not entirely likable (for me anyway) and perhaps the relationship development takes a few little leaps from hate to... really like each other.. 
Also it sticks to a very familiar structure which is a shame as those emotional moments we're just waiting for and then disappointed by. 
Those things aside it has a feel good ending like a basic romance should and the two leads do have chemistry so it's worth a look. Not to get personal but I thought the main guy had a creepy face."

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 32%
IMDB Rating:6.5/10

Sunday, 11 January 2015

These Final Hours Review

These Final Hours
My Rating: 4.5/10

Some spoilerings in this one

"Shot in the place I grew up I was curious as to how good this biggish blockbuster film would be. Some interesting films have come out of Australia in the past and I was hoping this would be the next one.
Unfortunately, it's not the best film ever. No, it's not even the best end of the world film ever. But it's not bad. My problem is the acting of the two leads kind of carry it. The main dude, Actor Nathan Phillips portrays every emotion he can brilliantly. You can clearly see the hurt and thought processes going on in his mind. His chemistry with the little girl is good, but could have been fleshed out a bit more in the script. 

The party they go to in the film is a good touch for atmosphere but any story progression there just seems weak. Shouting at a girl and her brother we don't care about that they're underground bunker is not deep enough. For me, that scene did nothing.

Some generally emotional scenes include the family in the library and the lead character discovering the death of a relative.

The ending felt off to me. We needed more involvement with the lead and this love of his before he decided to return to her. It was a nice feeling but not impacting for the viewer. He should have stayed with the little girl, whose relationship with him had been built up on screen.

My only other issue is, with all of the violence and destruction... why is every house you see in this film a massive, clean, beautiful, italian house with an orange tint effect. Where is all the rioting? It seems to be happening elsewhere in the film, but not by these homes.
I know there are grubby looking houses in Perth so I find that to be a weird creative decision.

But anyway, the story makes sense at least, even if it's a little bit stupid. If you're an end of the world movie watcher I'd suggest it. But for some more impacting emotion I'd suggest 'Seeking a Friend for the End of the World' which has a better version of the ending."

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 89%
IMDB Rating:6.6/10

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Let's be Cops Review

Let's Be Cops
My Rating: 5/10

"I really like Jake Johnson as an actor, he seems to choose great roles and performs well. But Let's Be Cops probably won't stand up as memorable in his IMDB.

The problem is, the idea is unique and fun but can only be taken so far. The characters insanity is very funny, how far they will take pretending to be police. But so much of it has been done before and eventually, once they are pretending enough it just becomes another police spoof.
As we all know there are plenty of them around. So I end up finding myself comparing this film once again to Hot Fuzz, The Heat, Naked Gun and 22 Jump Street.
It's fun as you'd expect but has no real emotional grip and not too much to really laugh or even smile about. Once they are police, the police jokes don't compare to those of other films. 

Let's Be Cops is not as funny as The Heat but it's unique idea holds it up.
I'd say this is a 'If it's on TV give it a try, but don't bother with purchase"

Here is my The Heat Review " 

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 18%
IMDB Rating:6.6/10

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Review

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
My Rating: 8/10

"It's a feel good family film with a brilliant cast. It has some laughs in there, it all makes sense. It's not going to pull at your heart strings until you bleed out of your eyes but it will draw you a nice picture and give you a chocolate milk.
That is my review of this movie. I liked it.

Also: It had Dick Van Dyke and Disney Peter Pan songs in it so win win."

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 63%
IMDB Rating:6.5/10

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Review

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
My Rating: 8.5/10

"This movie splits me right down the middle. Here is the problem, the animated monkeys were better written and better acted than the humans.
The humans were a bore. The lead human had no real reason to do the things he did, no driving force to be that friend or hero for the monkeys and no reason to be liked by the audience. 
The other humans were more plot devises to help us see the moral dilemmas of the monkeys.

The other half of the film is the Apes, their survival, family, friendship and betrayal. I can't even explain how good this stuff is. Caesar, the big Ape on Campus and how the others see him is beautiful. I have to say that seeing the previous film may have assisted in my emotional enjoyment... perhaps. He is extremely likable. 
I'm not sure if it was deliberate but the Apes are a LOT more human than the humans. That comment SOUNDS like it might be impressive if it were deliberate. But I'm not so sure. I really wanted to like them and I think the film wanted me to as well. Sigh.

Humans aside this film could still make you tear. I almost did. In the end; the drama of the animated characters is so good, really so so good that I'm pushing the rating up."

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%
IMDB Rating:7.8/10

22 Jump Street Review

22 Jump Street
My Rating: 10/10

"I've not reviewed the first one but I'd say I'd give it a .. hmm.. 6/10. Enjoyed but mind was not blown, at all. It had some unique qualities (The partnership was excellent) but ultimately it was just another cop spoof.

Then I saw 22 Jump Street. Everything was perfect. I was laughing a lot, at almost every joke, every edit and cut. It worked in similar vain to Edgar Wright's comedy film making. 
Which brings us onto.. Hot Fuzz. Hot Fuzz is one of my favourite films and an excellent police spoof so I am constantly comparing similar recent releases with it (The Heat, Let's be Cops). 
(I'm not including Leslie Nielsen films because he is God)
I think 22 Jump Street gets as close as an american (team) police spoof will ever get to as good as Hot Fuzz.

Why? No, it's not just because it has the laffs. The drama between the characters is a lot better than the previous one or any other spoof cop film of late. It does not feel predictable or unrealistic.

Oh yeah and I really don't like many of these 'college spoofs' either, luckily that matters not in this case.

Go see it folks! "

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 84%
IMDB Rating:7.2/10

Tracks Review

My Rating: 7.5/10

"This film shows off the journey of a woman walking across the desert of Australia. Her reason for doing so? Just wanted to do something for herself.
Through brilliant direction and acting from lead, Mia Wasikowska, we are thrown into a long and blindingly hot survival story. 
I enjoyed this film a lot. I loved the survival aspect, the making friends and enemies along the way and the lead character's development throughout. She wants to be independent and go ahead with fantastical ideas because they are there and she knows they will give her the feeling of accomplishment. But while doing so she is realizing maybe she does need at least some people to support her. Both for emotional support and for knowledge of the lands. Take from this film what you will, but that is what I took.

My only two issues with this picture is that maybe it does go on a tad bit too long. Only a little bit, because the longer the wait, the more impacting the ending is. But there are few long shots of desert I just think were unnecessary. 
My other issue is she keeps having flashbacks of her past. They never really felt very important. So 7.5/10 from me. Recommended. 

Oh yeah and that American actor from the new STAR WARS popping up was a shock, but he's brilliant."

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%
IMDB Rating:7.2/10

Friday, 9 January 2015

Paddington Review

My Rating: 8.5/10

"Here are the two big thoughts presented in most reviews of this movie: 'It's a sweet and cuddly family picture' and 'It portrays multi-cultural london.'

These things it does quite well. Particularly the first one. Ben Whishaw's voice stands out as the title role and what a perfect choice. I'm not going to mention old Colin's little story here because everyone else already has.
Every shot is beautiful with colours to match the moods and so many little touches throughout (Tree). The cast is perfect, no wrong doing there. Never thought I'd see Peter Capaldi and Nicole Kidman working off of each other so well. 
The story overall is pretty good, basic but not entirely predictable. 
My only problems with this film are as follows. Some scenes feel disconnected from each other. Scenes that are meant to follow on a characters path of development or a dramatic moment will then cut to that same character dealing with something else. Or the abrupt scene where Paddington is coincidentally placed outside of the school the daughter goes to and seen as a hero. Plus some of the action scenes just didn't feel right, whether it be because the bear looks ugly in some shots and cute in others or whether it was because it seemed out of place compared to the source material. 
Source material aside this film gave Paddington a back story, and I really like it. It explains so much about the characters personality and growth before the films even started. It's not just a useless pre-title thingy.

Even though characters did seem to jump development in personality from scene to scene, the development was still there
So with all the laughs, all the lovable characters and of course Paddington himself... this is most definitely, a rewatcher. 
PS: At the right angle and the right lighting, Paddington looks adorable. "

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%
IMDB Rating:7.8/10