Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s kinda/sorta prequel to his 1979 sci-fi classic, Alien, is visually stunning but surprisingly empty. I really wanted to love this movie more than I actually did. It felt like two films uncomfortably mashed together. One film is a straight-up Alien prequel with the typical “trapped in an alien enviornment/no one can hear you scream in outer space” tropes but with Scott’s flair and panache (this is probably from the original script by Jon Spaihts). The other film, likely from Damon Lindelof’s rewrite, is a philosophical about the nature of our creation and what makes us human. The movie asks all the big questions like “Who made us?” and “Where did we come from?” but when it comes to answering those questions, well…let’s just say you can take the writer out of Lost but you can’t take Lost out of the writer.
It wasn’t horrible. It’s one of those movies where you don’t laugh out loud very much but you will say to yourself, “That’s so funny.“
The structure was weird but that’s to be expected when you base a movie off a self-help book (which worked so well for my least favorite romantic movie of all-time). The only noteworthy performance is Anna Kendrick as Rosie who gets pregnant after a one night stand with an old high school crush, Marco (Chace Crawford). Elizabeth Banks was pretty good as well but she always is.
Honestly the movie was a bit of a mess the more I think about it. About 95% laughs came from Rebel Wilson as Janice, a dim-wited employee of Wendy’s (Banks) shop and The Dude Group, a secret society of fathers played by Chris Rock, Rob Huebel, Amir Talai and Thomas Lennon. Unfortunately, all of the funniest parts featuring them are in the trailers and commercials.
The Cabin in the Woods is a hard movie to review. It’s hard to praise this film without giving away it’s concept. It’s better not knowing anything about the twist. Don’t worry, this isn’t an M. Night Shyamalan twist. From the opening moments of the movie, you know you are in for something different.
On the surface, this is a basic “kids go into the woods” horror flick. One thing I do think it’s okay to know is that it isn’t. If you are going into this film hoping for a horror movie and just a horror movie, you might be disappointed. But if you are open to a humorous and slightly witty subversion of the genre, you are in for a treat.
The performances are okay (although Fran Kranz as the stoner Marty got annoying really quick) but the standouts were Richard Jenkins and Bradley Whitford (I can’t say anything about their roles). Their chemistry is the best thing about this movie. You’ll be rooting for them despite what that actually means in the context of what’s happening in this film.
Wikipedia: Francis Elliott “Fran” Kranz is an American actor. →
The one question I kept asking myself after walking out of of the movie theater was, “Would I have enjoyed this film more if I hadn’t read the book?” As an adaptation, it was okay. It was like a Cliff Notes version of Suzanne Collins’ book. You got the basic idea but none of the nuance. The problem is the nuance is where a majority of the story lies.
Young Adult is one of those movies that I didn’t hate but didn’t love either. I thought the performances were good particularly Charlize Theron as reprehensible and (likely) mentally unstable Mavis Gary trying to reconnect with her married high school ex. Patton Oswalt as her former classmate and unlikely friend Matt Freehauf was also pretty good. Sometimes it’s hard for me to take Oswalt seriously because when he talks, I automatically think about his comedy sets but in this film, I got over it pretty quickly.
I appreciated that the movie never tried to make Mavis sympathetic. She was a horrible self-centered person at the beginning of the movie and (spoiler alert) she leaves her hometown pretty much the same way (with a few dents in her armor). The only problem is that doesn’t make for much of a movie. You want to credit director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody for making a movie that defies the movie convention that your main character has to change and grow but, after watching this, I now see why this convention exists.
Dialogue-wise, this was probably the least Cody-esque film she’s done. With a few exceptions, if you hadn’t told me she wrote this movie, I wouldn’t have known which is really the nicest thing I can say about a Diablo Cody script.
Before you ask, no I haven’t read any of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series nor have I seen any of the Swedish adaptations starring Noomi Rapace.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a pretty standard whodunit with two exceptions: some graphic scenes/imagery and the performance of Rooney Mara as cyber heroine Lizbeth Salander. Disgraced journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) is hired by Henrik Vanger (Christopher Plummer) to help solve the disapperance of his favorite niece Harriet 36 years earlier. Blomkvist later hires Salander, who went above and beyond the call of duty in her background check of him, to assist him in solving the mystery.
The best thing I can say about The Muppets is after it ended, I was genuinely happy. There are always movies that entertain me or intrigued me but there aren’t many that make me leave the theater with a smile on my face. That’s how this revival of the Muppets made me feel. Everyone involved (Writers Jason Segal & Nicholas Stoller, director James Bobin and music supervisor Bret McKenzie) got it right.
Having not read the book it’s based upon and having been familiar with the going-ons of baseball during the years covered, I still found Moneyball relatively enjoyable (note I said “still”).
If this movie had been made in the 70s or early 80s, it would have starred Clint Eastwood. That was the first thought I had about Ryan Gosling’s nameless character who I will refer to as “The Driver” from this point forward. The Driver reminded me of the number of cowboys Eastwood used to play whose number of line you could probably count on your two hands.
The second thought I had was “Wow, this violence is pretty graphic.”
I’ve always heard about the films of Nicolas Winding Refn (Vahalla Rising, The Pusher trilogy) but after seeing this, I’ll be hunting his films down. I loved everything about the ambiance of this movie. Between the slo-mo and the soundtrack, it had a very classic feel to it. It definitely had a lot of directorial flourishes but I didn’t mind them at all.
Gosling was great as usual but I think this may have been his second best (I will always have a special place in my heart for Lars and The Real Girl). As previously mentioned, Gosling does not have a lot of lines but he’s able to convey pages worth of emotion with a furrow of his brow and tightening of his grip. At first, I wasn’t feeling the budding relationship between the Driver and Irene (Carey Mulligan who clearly went to The Natalie Portman Black Swan School for Delicate Acting for this role) but after the violence ramped up, it served as a great contrast. The Driver was sweet with Irene and her son, Benicio, but when he was unleashed, it was quite jarring (particularly the scene in the elevator with Mulligan and a thug sent to dispatch them).
All the supporting performances were good particularly Bryan Cranston as Shannon, The Driver’s employer and only friends, and Albert Brooks as Bernie Ross, the mobster who ultimately comes after them both. Ron Perlman as Berine’s partner Nino was a little hammy but it’s probably been awhile since he’s gotten to play a guy with this much energy and Oscar Isaac (Irene’s husband, Standard) made the most of his scenes.
I would highly recommend this movie but be warned, there are some scenes of extreme violence. There aren’t a lot of scenes like that but those few scenes were very intense and graphic (not just visually but the sound effects too so closing your eyes won’t be enough).