The Place Beyond the Pines is has three distinct acts, the first is excellent, the second is pretty great, and the last one misses the mark almost entirely. [Read more...]
The film opens up right where the franchise did, with Erik Lehnsherr being separated from his family at a Nazi concentration camp and ripping a fence down in the process. Where we go from there is all new. After an introduction to Mystique and Charles Xavier who have become childhood/lifelong friends we catch back up with Erik who is hunting down the Nazi’s who tortured him and his family in the camp. Erik’s main target is Sebastian Shaw, a mutant himself who has collected a few others (mutants) around him, and Shaw is hatching something sinister between the U.S. and Russia.
The film is set right in the heart of the cold war, the Soviets and America on the verge of nuclear war, and Kennedy is in the White House trying to diffuse the situation. The unexpected help comes from these newly discovered mutants and this fresh new era really gives the series a fun playground to play in. The 60’s look is cool, sexy, and allows the characters to have a lot of fun, especially in these younger incarnations of these characters. The two leads, Erik and Xavier, are of course Magneto and Professor X from the films we are familiar with and getting to see them as young men is really quite fantastic. [Read more...]
The friendship between Annie and Lillian has been for as long as they can remember and when the later is in line to get married Annie is thrust into the maid of honor role. As Lillian is on the up, Annie is on the down, having lost all of her money trying to open a bakery, living in an awful situation and stuck in a sex only relationship with a guy she wants more from; Annie has seen better days. To make things even worse, Lillian’s best friend from Chicago seems to be trying to anoint herself above Annie, always trying to one up Annie every step of the way.
If there is anything to take from Bridesmaids, it is that being the Maid of Honor sucks (which I hope my best friend will remember when I am most likely crying my eyes out over all I have to do for her when the day comes). More importantly, and more relavent, it’s the relief that the look for the best comedy of the year can stop right now. Basically it’s going to take pure perfection topped with bribery of free puppies, slushie machines, and Ryan Reynolds to beat this one.
To sum it up, the film structures itself around the well-worn path to the alter, taking a machete along to carve out its own path away from the formula best known for the sappiness of the romantic comedy versions of these stories. To clarify, this is not a romantic comedy, though both of those words apply to the film. More comparable to The Hangover and Due Date in comedy and ridiculous events transgressing within simple journeys (though I will purposely refrain from unfairly labeling it is a female version of The Hangover), Bridesmaids draws its humor from the relationships of the characters as they find themselves in a constant spiral of unraveling events that hopefully have never actually happened to one group of people in short succession. Hilarious to witness; no doubt unfathomably painful to experience. [Read more...]
2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall introduced the scene-stealing character of Aldous Snow, who quite deservingly got a spin-off of his own with Get Him to the Greek. Though it was not exactly what I hoped for, it had enough hilarious bits to tip the scales in a favorable direction.
Following the events of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Aldous Snow’s life has become something that would be the perfect source material for an episode of the E! True Hollywood Story series. His sexual prowess is as strong as ever, but his sobriety has gone out the window, along with his career as a relevant rock star. Luckily enough for him there are people like Aaron Green out there who remember the better times of Snow’s musicality. During a staff meeting at the record company he works for, Aaron throws out the idea that they should have a 10-year anniversary concert at L.A.’s Greek Theater in a few days. Now he just needs to get Aldous there. [Read more...]
Adam is a cute, yet heartbreaking look at a man suffering from the inability to function “normally” in the world around him, especially when it comes to love.
Following his father’s death, Adam returns to their apartment to continue living his solitary life of ritual and habit. Everyday he eats the same cereal for breakfast, goes to work as an electronics engineer at a toy company, does his chores, eats the same frozen macaroni and cheese frozen dinner, and fills his time engulfed in the mysteries of the universe. Though this consistency may appear as a coping mechanism post funeral, it is actually because Adam has Asperger’s syndrome (don’t worry if you don’t know a lot about it. There is enough exposition in the middle of the film to fill you in). [Read more...]
This little spin on a love story is anchored by a fantastic turn by Hugh Dancy, but is marred by a bit of clichéd, contrived, and predictable subplot that makes a film that should stand out seem dull and ordinary too often.
Adam has asbergers and his father has just died and while he has enough independence to hold a job and live a somewhat normal life, his loneliness is likely to get the best of him as he is unable to really develop any relationships with ease. Enter Beth, a young 20 something that moves into Adam’s building and kind of clicks with Adam, even in his state of unintentional awkwardness. The two start off slow but as time passes they begin to form a bit of a bond and Adam beings to open up a bit to his outside world. But soon after they meet Beth finds out that her father is potentially in a lot of legal trouble and that dynamic begins to add stress to their relationship as Beth’s priorities are stretched thin.
The subplot in question is the one surrounding Beth’s father as it just doesn’t feel natural in the slightest. Sure things like this have happened, but it feels artificial to the story and only there for the sake of sparking drama and creating crisis for the couple. [Read more...]
Danny Boyle’s newest genre to play in is this great piece of sci-fi cinema that feels very fresh and original, most of the time, and keeps the viewer engaged throughout.
The crew of Icarus 2 is on a mission to reboot the sun which is dying and causing for a temperature decrease on Earth. The plan is to reboot it with a bomb equaling the mass of Manhattan and be the second and final attempt since the failed mission of Icarus 1 seven years prior. The crew of 8 is made up of a smattering of characters all with an individualized view of the proceedings from one another. Everyone gets a fair share of screen time with people only really ever gaining more due to the crew falling off one by one. This isn’t an actor showcase or focus on one lead, it is a true ensemble and everyone plays the part extremely well. The crew is very likable and sucks you into the story and we grow concerned for them as things begin to go south on the ship.
Cillian Murphy plays Capa the on board physicist who is responsible for delivering the payload (the bomb) and is the number one priority for survival of the crew. He does a great job as aforementioned at rationalizing the mission and lives and continues a string of great work by the actor ever since he broke out in 28 Days Later.
Chris Evans as Mace is also good here as the “for the mission” soldier who will do anything to see the mission through. Michelle Yeoh and Hiroyuki Sanada also do great work as the researcher and captain, respectively, on the ship and both make the most, especially Sanada, of their shares of screen time. Rose Byrne plays her biggest part in the third act and acts as the moral voice of the crew. Benedict Wong is also great as the flight analyst and his arc is a tough one to swallow at times. Cliff Curtis is great as the psychiatrist of the crew and helps us imagine the mystery and power of the sun and while also giving us the rational voice of the crew.
I know I have been avoiding the story, and that is with good reason, as the havoc that happens is best to unfold knowing as little as possible. In brief things go bad, events unfold, and the film devolves into a bit of horror at the end. The horror section doesn’t really make sense or really fit in the film, but it does work, we are just left with questioning why they went that route with the story; you’ll see what I mean when you see the film.
Production wise the movie looks fantastic, with all the special effects looking top notch and the ship itself is a marvel to look at. They also introduce some interesting ideas to help the crew cope with the journey and while a lot of the of things seem similar to previous sci-fi classics it never blatantly rips them off and usually puts a interesting spin on the proceedings. My only complaint is the weird use of filters toward the end during the horror proceedings, it’s just awkward and you can’t really tell what is going on half the time.
In the end, Sunshine is an excellent sci-fi film that could have been fantastic if it was just a hair more original and didn’t divert from it’s genre towards the end, even if it was done well. It is a must see for sci-fi fans and for anyone interested in an engaging, tense, and personal adventure that will take you on a realistic journey towards our sun.