IP Man 3 is a thoroughly enjoyable action the has quite a few heart warming scenes. The film tells story of Bruce Lee’s teacher as he fights against gangster wanting to take over a school while he learns his wife has a tragic illness. The film provides as its hallmark incredible action scenes coupled with innovative camera angles. The film however felt to long and the supposed antagonist feel one dimensional at best. For instance, Mike Tyson plays a mob boss but the film gives only a weak excuse of prime real estate for tbe reason why he wants to take over the school. The final confrontation between IP Man and other wing chung master feels tacked on than a natural conclusion and once again the audience is given no real motivation as to why he dislikes IP Man version of kung fu. Overall it is an enjoyable movie but the loose plot only servers to move the story enough until another action scene is needed.
#IPMan #BruceLee #Martialarts #Moviereview #Kungfu
The 1990 Night of the Living Dead is an interesting retelling of George Romero’s 1968 zombie film. What I enjoyed most of the film was that it was not a shot for shot remake of the original rather the film provides the cast of characters with new and interesting motivations. For instance, Barbara in the first film is quite timid and docile to the chaotic world around her. This version provides us with a stronger female lead as she takes much more initiative in the decisions the party makes. In reverse, Ben is a much more vulnerable man as he tried to find semblance of reasoning of his situation. The other characters tend to have the same arch. I feel that this film focused more sympathetically on the part of the zombies. It was overtly obvious that it Romero wanted the audience to feel that ultimately humanity feeds on itself. The most disappointing aspect of the film was the zombies. I felt that with Tom Savini credited in this film we would have received more rewarding effects. Overall the 1968 version feels more concise in its message and the 1990 version feels rushed and unfocused.
Dunkirk is a cinematographer’s dream. The film provides audiences with a cavalcade of visual delights while still being precise a blade. The drawback of the movie is largely its plot and overall story. The characters lack any outstanding traits that they come across as too generic that when they are asked to make some heroic gesture it feels forced at best. Dont get me wrong from start to finish Dunkirk is a visceral masterpiece but the individual parts of this machine lack originality to the point of apathy. The editing was interestingly chosen as Cameron through the later part of the film allows the audience to piece together the several snippets given in the earlier part of the film. The down side is that Cameron doesn’t allow the audience to take in the moment before cutting away to another location. I really tried to attach myself to someone I this film but we don’t spent enough time with anyone to try and begin carrying for their wellbeing. The overall visual experience is worth the price of admission however without any memorable characters this film may be lost in time.
#Dunkirk #moviereview #WWII #Jamescameron
#Aliens #Moviereview #ScFi #horrormovie #actionmovie
Director: James Cameron
Writers: James Cameron, David Giler, Walter Hill, Dan O’ Bannon, and Ronald Shusett
Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Michael Biehn, Carrie Henn
Aliens is a wonderful representation of the science fiction action film. The film provides audiences with well choreographed actions scenes while giving horror films fans some memorable moments as well. The performances by each of the main cast added to the tension while the detailed scenery allows the audience to feel so to the action.
The strongest aspect of the film is its cast of characters. Ripley played by Sigourney Weaver gives a truly emotional performance as she moves from being a more passive character to being a more proactive action heroine. The supporting task plays their roles perfectly as they are a group of space marines treating their next mission as standard operation in which they are fully prepared. What I love most about the marine characters is that when their plans go array the story allow them more avenues in expressing their true selves. For examples Private Hudson played by Bill Paxton. Private Hudson initially comes across as a macho filled individual who seems enjoy his violent work. However as the move progresses we see his true self as a young man who just wants to go home.
The use of practical and special effects truly elevate this film from being a good movie to an all time classic action film. The use of miniatures the close focus on characters truly make one claustrophobic and anxious about what is behind each corner. As a horror fan what I loved about this film was that James Cameron did not show the Alien outright at the start of the film rather there was general increase an attention to the importance of not giving away the true star of the film. The films has few negatives such as run time seemed too long and there several earlier times when an ending felt more natural. I for instance did not feel Ripley needed to fight the Alien Queen with the loader as she faced her fear in the facility on the planet.
Overall I highly recommend everyone to go out and watch this film.
Dad’s Army (2016)
#DadsArmy #WWII #Moviereviews
Director: Oliver Parker
Writers: David Croft and Harnish McColl
Starts: Mark Tandy, Russell Balogh, Andrew Havill, and Michael Gambon
I know it has been several months since my last blog post but I hope you all have been well and continue to read these reviews.
Dad’s Army for those interested was previously a British sitcom that ran from 1968 to 1977 on the BBC. The main plot line of the show comprised a group of volunteer tasked with preparing for the possible of Britain by the Germans during WWII to comedic affect. The television characters ranged from an uptight captain, a rather aloof to an overzealous corporal all the characters had a down to earth charm about them that is a credit to the actors that played those roles. So when I saw the trailer for Dad’s Army some time ago I thought it would be nice to expose a new generation of possible fans to this beloved television show. Sadly I was mistaken in every expectation.
Dad’s Army (2016) was a complete disappointment in particular the characters and the plot. Every character in this film comes across as one dimensional with no charm. The aspect that made the television series great even from the first episode was the sincerity of motives for each character. The film did not allow any of the characters to truly grow as they felt dumbed down which made me feel sad when they tripped on their own plans. For a comedy like this to work, the characters have to feel genuine in their actions. The performances were unmemorable as every time a character spoke I kept thinking that I could have been watching the series instead.
The plot was the weakest point of this film due to its most out of place character of Miss Rose Winters played by Catherine Zeta-Jones. The final cut of the film ultimately made Ms. Winters seem very much like a modern day woman who was dropped in to WWII Britain. The purpose of Ms. Winters is that she is a German spy tasked to obtain information regarding the sea fortifications of coastal Britain. She is unwittingly aided by the volunteer group who can not see her beyond her physical beauty to see her true motives. I continuously rolled my eyes as each time the gang swooned over Ms. Winters when it was obvious to us she was playing them for fools.
Overall I do not recommend that you take the time to watch this film but do take the time to look in to the original series.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
Director: Ridley Scott
Writers: Dan O’ Bannon, Ronald Shusett
Stars: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Bill Crudup,
Alien: Covenant can best be described as a tensionless film that offers very little to audiences to hold their attention. The film is filled with too many visual one dimensional characters and relationships that moments of supposed drama fall within the realm of indifference. The visual aspects of the film are well done as one can expect from a Ridley Scott film. The location choices, physical sets created and the attire of the characters all felt appropriate.
For those looking to watch Alien: Covenant I would advise you to first watch Prometheus (2012) as Alien: Covenant is the direct sequel. The overall plot is one seen in most of other Alien movies. The film follows the crew of the Covenant and its two thousand plus colonists as they make their way to a new planet. The crew stumbles upon mysterious signal on a planet that appears to good to be true. The crew eventually meet David (Michael Fassbender) following an attack from a “baby” alien. The plot eventually leads to the crew becoming aware of the why the planet though picturesque is essentially empty of life and David’s role.
The only saving grace for the film is Michael Fassbender who plays two roles as David the same synthetic Prometheus and Walter an updated version tasked to serving the Covenant crew. The interactions between David and Walter is best described as an older brother younger brother relationship. David being the “older” brother has let his negative experiences with humans be the driving force for his pursuit for a twisted view of creation. Walter being the “younger” brother is more naïve as he knows very little beyond his primary duties. The plot hints of David slowly trying to entice Walter to accept his world view.
The rest of the cast was a generic collection of people that the film did not bother to appropriately develop making their struggles meaningless. For example, Daniels (Katherine Waterston) in the first part of the film looses her husband and the captain of the ship. Though this should be a heart wrenching event it happens far too early to make the audience care because we know nothing about her. This can also be said of Tennessee (Danny McBride) and Karine (Carmen Ejogo) as their relationship as husband and wife is never truly established other than a few throw away lines of banter between them.
The reason why Alien (1979) was such an effective movie was that it did not go beyond itself and try to be a grand tale. Alien (1979) was essentially a slasher film in space. The tension in the original was slowly increased over time the audience could feel the fear alongside the crew. By trying to create an epic sci-fi story out of Alien is very much trying to build a house with to few resources. Ultimately the ending of the film leads to the covenant heading back on course with a few new crew members.
I recommend those reading this review to wait until this film is available on their on demand service or when its physical release is drops in value. I do not think that this movie justifies someone taking the afternoon to pay full theater prices and food.
Hail, Caesar! (2016)
Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Writers: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Stars: Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Scarlett Johansson
Hail, Caesar! is one of the worst films I have ever watched. The film offers no redeeming qualities in regards to an engaging plot, likable or interesting characters, or even a notable message or comment. This “film” can best be described as a series of images that offer no artistic or entertainment value.
The strongest aspect of the film (I use strongest as loosely as possible) as a poor attempt to comment on the studio system and Hollywood itself as just a machine for the elite to broadcast their version of the acceptable. This was poorly executed as the dialogue felt more fluff than substance and it was not supported by the surrounding environment or characters.
The plot of the film follows Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) who is a studio fix who is tasked to ensures the films are made in a timely manner. We follow Eddie during the course of a few days as we tries to put out fires involving a pregnant unmarried starlet (DeeAnna Moran/Scarlett Johansson a kidnapped dolt (Baird Whitlock/George Clooney), all the while the studio’s prestige picture gets done. These series of problems may seem interesting on paper but on camera the actors are one dimensional and unappealing. I do not know if this a deliberate attempt to comment on films today but the fact it is so ambiguous does not help.
The only redeeming character of the film is Hobie Doyle (Alden Ehrenreich). Hobie is very much the “regular” guy of the film as he is presented as western star embarking on a more dramatic role. Hobie throughout the film is very much a more appealing character in that we are given most insight in to his motivations as to why he is a movie star. Hobie for lack of a better phrase is person not a character.
The coen brother’s films have been known for their less than coherent plots but Hail, Caesar! provides nothing of value for the audience. There are no characters to keep one interested for the length of the film, there is no interesting scenes that one should wait to see, and the message of the film is too muddled to be effective.
I do not recommend this film to anyone as even the most die hard coen brothers fan can hardly justify this being at most an average movie.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)
Director: James Gunn
Writers: James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a wonderfully entertaining film that includes a compelling plot, excellent character development, and a sense of joy that many recent comic book movies have failed to do.
Guardians of the Galaxy is the first film in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe that has been able to accomplish the task of making their main characters 3 dimensional. Throughout the film we seen Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Rocket, and yes Yondu transform from just characters on paper to real people. For example Yondu (Michael Rooker) in the first film is very much a basic villain and comedic foil for Star Lord. The sequel paints him as a much more broken character who has to live with his past choices and his struggle to redeem himself. Star Lord (Chris Pratt) when finally meeting his father is faced with an emotional struggle in which he has to choose between the “real family” he just met and the family that has been there all along. James Gunn handles these swings in emotional tones quite nicely as they are under cut by lines of humor to keep the move light.
Guardians Vol. 2 is also the first Marvel movie to have an interesting villain played by Ego (Kurt Russell). Ego is very much a charismatic individual which allows our hero’s and the audience to be very open to his plans. Ego also is the first Marvel movie villain that has a plan that is more complex than getting a McGuffin to take over the world. The film showcases Ego as thinking on a much larger scale than previous bad guys.
Music is once again a central component to the success of this film. A combination of late 70s early 80’s songs are sprinkled appropriately in to the film which enhances the emotional elements for the audience. For example, the film begins with us joining the Guardians fighting a creature as a job. James Gunn under cuts the seriousness of the threat by opening the film with a song by Electric Light Orchestra.
The films has no glaring weakness other than a few moments where James Gunn may have slightly over used comedic to undercut what might have been serious monologue by the characters. For instance, when Nebula (Karen Gillan) completes a very raw monologue about the harrows she faced as a daughter of Thanos the other character in the scene gives an almost t.v. sitcom response that could have been left on a serious note.
If you have not guessed by now I am recommending this film to anyone and everyone because it is more than just another comic book movie. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the first film I have seen this year that can be described unironically as fun.
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Stefan Zweig and Wes Anderson
Stars: Ralph Fiennes, F. Murray Abraham, Mathieu Amalric
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a fairly entertaining comedy from Wes Anderson. This film in my opinion is the best example of a “Wes Anderson” film that Wes Anderson has ever made. From his use of particular camera angles, lines of dialogue, color patterns and even his use of miniatures it is very much a true expression of his film making prowess. That said the characters sometimes feel one dimensional to a fault with the overarching plot feel more flash than substance.
The strongest part of the film is also its most trying aspect. The film is shot in two ways either characters are moving horizontally which they are tracked by the camera or characters are moving towards the camera down hallways. I am not a film expert so please forgive me if I don’t know the technical terms. However, my point is that after the first act one can stat predicting how the rest of the film will be presented. Some may like this style but I felt these continued view points did not add to the story or tension or anything more to the film.
The overall cast of characters was quite lacking aside from Ralph Fiennes (M. Gustave). M. Gustave is the concierge and in his own words is the main reason why visitors go to the hotel. As the film progresses the comedy is in the ability for Gustave to remain pretentious even in the mist of danger ultimately until the end. This is contrast to the other walking caricatures that Gustave meets and knows. I got the sense that the character Gustave was Wes Anderson’s way of looking down at almost paint by the number movies that are produced today.
I would recommend this film to those who are firstly fans of Wes Anderson. I would also recommend this film to those studying cinematography as the film’s camera style is a good teaching tool. Those expecting to have fits of laughs when watching a comedy this is not for you. The dialogue is dry and there are very few outright “jokes” to keep you entertained.
As always thank you for taking the time to read this review.
Justice League Dark (2017)
Director: Jay Oliva
Writers: J.M. DeMatteis and Ernie Altbacker
Stars: Matt Ryan, Camilla Luddington, Jason O’ Mara
Justice League Dark is a solid film that serves as an introduction for new comic book fans to the supernatural world of Detective Comics (DC). Prior to watching this film I was not fully aware of the variety of DC characters that focused on the supernatural. Upon completing this film I was quite intrigued with characters Constantine and Etrigan to the point of going to my local shop and buying a few issues. For those looking for a fully formed plotlines and characters the hour and fifteen minute run time is going to leave you feeling unsatisfied.
An interesting aspect of this film is that Batman (Jason O’ Mara) is very much the vessel that helps the audience enter the world of Justice League Dark. The general plot begins with events around the world in which individuals are performing horrific acts on each other as if they were seeing demons. Batman goes out and seeks John Constantine (Matt Ryan) in hopes of obtaining insight on to what is going on. The film proceeds to present the rest of the case with brief flashbacks to explain their motivations and powers.
The weakest point of the film was its limited run time. An extra 20 to 30 minutes would have allowed more time to give Constantine a more thorough back story. The film portrayed Constantine as a one dimensional cliché of the selfish badass who has a heart. I would have enjoyed a short presentation of how John became the foremost authorization of magic and the supernatural and why every character had some grudge against him. This goes for Zatanna (Camilla Luddington) as she is also very much veiled in mystery.
I recommend this film to established Justice League Dark fans who are looking to get their friends in to this series in DC comics. I feel that DC should have offered in the box an online subscription to this series so that audiences have the option to follow up with the characters they just watched.
As always thank you for taking the time to read this review.