The Raid 2 Video Review

Video

I just wish it was shorter…

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Zero Dark Thirty Movie Review – Bigelow does it again

Before I start this review, let’s just say that I will not be focusing on all of the controversy surrounding this movie. I want to focus on what makes his film good, and not have any outside influences change my opinion.

SO ANYWAYS.

Zero Dark Thirty is the (supposedly) true retelling of the hunt of Osama Bin Laden. It isn’t a documentary, it’s structured like a film. However, I would label this movie as a fictional documentary, as the characters don’t really have backstory. The sole focus of Zero Dark Thirty is the story of how Osama Bin Laden was captured.

As I said, the characters of this film do not really have a personality. They’re more like pawns used to tell the story. You don’t come to feel for any of them. With that said, the cast is wonderfully acted, despite the wooden writing. The cast is so star studded that I can’t even begin to name them all.

I love this picture.

Jessica Chastain is the central protagonist propelling the story. She plays a CIA agent that has hunted Bin Laden almost her entire life. She is headstrong and stubborn. Chastain does a wonderful job, and is completely deserving of her Golden Globe win. She plays the character with such fire that you sympathize with her when she is down on her luck.

Onto the plot. The movie spans ten years, starting from 9/11 to the day Bin Laden is killed. It is structured almost perfectly. It will show how she finds a small clue in 2003, then it’ll jump 3 years to the next clue. The way the movie works is that you can see the common thread. You see how one thing leads to another, and to the eventual downfall of the Al-Queda leader. Even though the first two hours is a lot of talking and searching, it is still very tense and interesting.

The last two hours are intense. The Tier One team moves slowly and quietly, doing their job efficiently. Kathryn Bigelow doesn’t resort to a big action scene. It is very reserved, just like they did in real life.

There’s not much more to say about Zero Dark Thirty. It is perfectly crafted, well acted, despite the lack of character. It might bore the general audience, but if you love movies, you should go see this!

Overall: 7/10

Gangster Squad Review – So much potential, squandered.

Okay, before I start this review, I wanna talk about something (that I’ll probably expand to a full blog post later.)

I want to talk about expectations. Now, when I first found out about this movie, it looked magnificent, mostly due to the all star cast. This cast is a cast from heaven. Heavy hitters like Nick Nolte, Josh Brolin, and Ryan Gosling, and the up-and-comers that haven’t quite made it big yet, like Anthony Mackie and Michael Pena.

The movie is like this picture. It looks pretty, but not genuine.

Looking at the time period and subject matter, I was really pumped for this movie. I recently watched The Untouchables and L.A. Confidential, and those movies were AMAZING. Gangster squad looks like its in the same vein as those two, so expectations were high.

Then I found out that it wasn’t really a genuine, gangster flick. It was more of a “contemporary period piece”, if that makes sense at all. The only thing that’s from the period is the way they dress. It’s also full of a lot of stylish action set pieces. After I pulled my expectations back from L.A. Confidential to something like Fast Five, the movie became very enjoyable for me.

SLOOOWWW MOTIONNNNNNN

Alright, let’s dig into this movie.

The cast, as I mentioned before, is amazing. However, the characters they display are so generic, it sometimes seems that this movie is a parody of gangster flicks. Josh Brolin, the straight edge cop that doesn’t fall to corruption, (A theme that is really good for these kinds of movies, but is relegated to one sentence in Gangster Squad.) Ryan Gosling, the lady killer, Robert Patrick, the badass old guy, Nick Nolte, the proud police chief, Emma Stone, the girl trying to get out, etc. The actors are trying to hard to breathe life into these one dimensional characters, and only a few succeed. I’d say the best performances were from Josh Brolin and Ryan Gosling.

Oh, and how could I forget Sean Penn. Sean Penn plays a very exaggerated villain, that yells and screams and is supposed to be scary. Honestly, I really liked him because I could tell he was having a lot of fun with his role. I didn’t mind the make up either, he was playing a big bad wolf villain after all.

The dialogue, oh dear lord. The lines are written in a very modern way, so it completely takes you out of the movie. They don’t speak like they’re in the 50’s, they speak like they’re in 2013. Also, you see glimmers of hope that Gangster Squad will dig into a more meaty subject than “KILL EM GOOOOOOD”, but they disappear after a sentence.

“What makes us different from them?”, asks Giovanni Ribisi. It brings up the rash and violent behavior that the gangster squad is using, just like Mickey Cohen. It could let the characters change throughout the movie, showing a significant arc. However, Josh Brolin basically says, “because we have to!”.

you made zombie land! C’MON.

Another line is “War teaches you how to kill, not how to live.” This is also another really good theme, because many of the characters in this movie were previously soldiers of WWII. It could touch on the psychology of their actions, but the next scene has him putting a billion holes into gangsters with the typewriter.

Gangster Squad’s identity crisis is essentially its downfall. One scene has slow motion, stylized, Zack Snyder action, then the next has Josh Brolin telling his wife everything is fine.

guns, guns, guns, and more guns.

One of the crew or cast said this about Gangster Squad (I don’t remember who). They said that in each decade, there was a gangster movie that defined the generation. Godfather, L.A. Confidential, The Departed, etc. He said that Gangster Squad was this decade’s defining gangster flick. I’d say he’s about right with this. This movie does represent our generation’s ADD when it comes to film. Fast, stylish action over a substantial plot.

In the end, it’s a very fun action movie. If you want to go out with your friends, and need something with a lot of explosions and guns, this is the movie for you. If you’re looking for a more substantial gangster flick, watch some of the classics.

FUN FACTOR: 9/10

GOOD FACTOR: 5/10

Overall: 7/10

^ movie in a nutshell.

Is it bad, or are you just ignorant?

Hola bounjour hello!

The blog post today is just a question that I think about a lot. When I watch a movie or listen to music, and I don’t like it, I don’t know if it’s bad, or I’m just dumb.

For example, when I was watching Seven Psychopaths, I understood the plot and everything, but the movie was so jumbled, and the plot so unsatisfying that I didn’t like it.

There weren’t even seven psychopaths. Maybe I missed the point…

all the critics loved it so much, so I felt like I was missing something. I still kinda do, so I need to re-watch it.I felt the same exact thing when I watched Apocalypse Now Redux. I’m pretty sure I’m just not smart enough to interpret this movies. I understand the plot and everything, but I want more clarification on the theme of Seven Psychopaths and Apocalypse Now. I just watched Cloud Atlas, and I understood most of the little things in that movie, when all the critics say it’s a jumbled mess. I understood the themes and everything.

A bad movie I’ve seen recently was Paranormal Activity 4. I completely understand the motivations of the directors, producers, etc. It was obviously just a money grab. Also, the plot was RIDICULOUSLY thin, and hilariously acted. It failed on all levels, especially on the level of scaring me. It’s an extremely shallow movie, so I know it’s bad. I’m not ignorant of any of the facts.

Maybe I should just rewatch a bunch of these movies I don’t understand. First time I watched The Matrix, I had no idea what was going on. It was maybe on my 5th watch that everything finally clicked into place.

It was great.

Have you ever felt this way?

Les Miserables Movie Review – Tears, all the tears

General review: Be sure to drink a lot of water, because you will be crying. A lot. This movie is a musical that is semi-opera, filled to the brim with themes and multi-layered characters. However, the overarching theme of hope shines through the most. The cast did great acting-wise, but some do not shine so bright in the singing category. The set and costume design were amazing, and really put you into the time period. Tom Hooper does a great job in the direction and editing of the film, and it shines during solo pieces, such as I Dreamed a Dream. If you don’t like musicals, you will hate this movie, since it nearly reaches 3 hours. However, if you love yourself a good, emotional musical, get your eyes ready, because there will be tears.

don’t you already feel like crying.

Full Review: This movie is directed by Tom Hooper, previously known for The King’s Speech ( a decent movie, but nothing special. ) When he embarked on the quest to adapt this musical, he did something most never thought of doing: live recording. I’ll tell you one thing, the live recording does this movie justice, helping the actors shine while singing.

Let’s get into this.

The cast: *disclaimer: when I say they sing good, obviously not as good as the original musical cast, but just for the movie in general…if that makes sense.*

Hugh Jackman- His acting is great, and his singing is one of the best in the film. The age progression that they employ for him is also very good. The film spans around 20 years, and you really see time affecting him. His character development is great, albiet rushed in the beginning.

Anne Hathaway- Her story line sets up a lot of the movie, and it is very important for her performance to really hit home. Luckily, Anne Hathaway blows it out of the water with her acting, and her performance of “I Dreamed a Dream”. She sings the whole thing in one take! It’s great! Her voice is also very good (shown off when she and Hugh Jackman belted a few numbers during the Oscars a few years back.)

Russell Crowe- Oh Russell Crowe. His singing is very weak, and he often gets swallowed up by the other superior singers in the film. He belongs in a rock band (in which he is), not an opera/musical. His character shows no change whatsoever throughout the movie, even though the original character does, I think. He is just displayed as the antagonist. Grr, I’m bad. That’s about it.

Amanda Seyfried- She’s great (and adorable), even if she doesn’t get much screen time. Her voice has  a very quick vibrato, so it distracted me while I was watching it. It sounded like the girl version of the lead singer of Fall Out Boy. She serves her purpose, but doesn’t blow it out of the water.

The Plot- The plot is simple, but complex at the same time. The actions are very simple, but keeping track of all of the character motivations is the most fun. The intertwining lives and themes of this movie is what pulls the most heartstrings. The movie is about hope, war, love, death, life, forgiveness, and so much more. This movie is mostly about the human situation, and that is why many people can relate with it. Every theme gets its moment to shine, but hope shines the brightest.

The set and costume design are impeccable! You feel transported to the barricade of the French Revolution, to this time of rebellion and poverty. If the design was bad, most of the movie would have suffered.

The controversy – Many people have panned Tom Hooper’s decision to do the live recording, single cut songs, and zooming up close on the actor’s face. I personally loved this decision. It makes the song feel very personal, even if it is part of a spectacular event. There is a really good balance between the epic and the personal. I LOVE IT.

Overall score- 9/10

so epic.