Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Hunger Games - Mockingjay: Part 1 (2014)



I'm still trying to find time for an alternative since I watched THG3.1 (= like 4 days ago) but it seems I constantly fail. So, let's deal with this one, maybe it removes the curse ...

I went too sleep during this. Literally (well ... getting my eyes closed). Twice. I have to admit I was tired. Still, last time, when watching "Interstellar" I was even more tired, and the movie was longer. No eye closing. So ... So, the last "The Hunger Games" episode is nothing more than something like a prequel for the last part, leaving the impression (probably resembling the truth) that this movie was split in two and made longer just to cash in more ( IMDb was saying something like: highest opening this year. so ... ). Should I tell anything about the subject ? I'm not sure it helps. There isn't any Hunger Games in this "Hunger Games". Which is actually good. Finally a different story. The action is focused on Katniss becoming the symbol of the rebellion. Ok, that's enough. More, in the movie.

There's a mistery for me on how I got to see all the three parts by now. The first was so & so. The second left me the impression of a mediocre reboot. And the third is something like a teen movie meets a political thriller meets a dystopian sci-fi. Which might end up in an interesting combination if it wouldn't be below average on each of the three genres. And to put the cherry on top, as much as I was convinced by Jennifer Lawrence's acting skills in "Silver Linings Playbook" (getting over the subjective side, seriously :P) as much, after this "Hunger Games", seems to me that she should win the next year Golden Raspberry.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (= due to the fact I was close to snoring at some points, and maybe there was the best essential part of the movie which I unforgivably missed, who knows)





Thursday, November 13, 2014

7 .. Interstellar .. 2014



When I heard for the first time about Interstellar", and that a guy named Kip Thorne (just Google if doesn't ring a bell) is a consultant for the script, I said "that's it" - Nolan can reach a higher peak than what he got with "The Prestige" and "Inception". After seeing the trailers my enthusiasm dropped dramatically, reaching a bottom of "Armageddon meets Gravity" in terms of expectations. After watching the movie I have to admit how wrong I was, and to acknowledge that there still are trailers that don't tell everything :)

There are 7 years since I started this blog, originally only in Romanian, and with each anniversary I'm trying to find an entry that does worth every second spent watching. In the last couple of years I started having problems with this. Either I don't have time to search, or the movies quality is constantly dropping compared to the number of releases. "Interstellar" is neither "Armageddon", nor "Gravity". It's simply in a different league compared to the 1st, and it's many levels above the 2nd. So you could say that I got a subject for this year. And still, I don't see it on top of "The Prestige" or "Inception". But neither much lower :)

I'll respect the amount of info given by the trailers, and I won't tell much besides what you get in these. After the terrestrial ecosystem starts collapsing, NASA, semi-anonymous organization in an of-the-future budget restricted US, sends a mission with the task to find another life supporting planet. And since we don't have anything like this in the galaxy, the trip is interstellar. The crew sent to find green grass and sparkling water is not coming back, and NASA has to send somebody else to check out if first team's sent signals are a real hope for the salvation of the human race. Karma ( and we could start here a philosophical debate about what karma means ;) or to be closer to the definition I prefer: "the kismet" ) is choosing as the "unlucky" pilot for the "recovery" mission a former engineer. The guy has two kids, lost his wife, and in the context of the global famine was forced to give up his "space, the final frontier" dream for farming corn. What's next .. would be simple to describe, but hard to explain :) so maybe it's best to get a personal view over the movie by watching it. What can I say it's that either you can consider what you see on screen as a disaster movie a la "Gravity"/"Armageddon" in which you can start searching for plot holes, or to view it as an imagination exercise for still unexplained theories with plenty of consequent "what if ?"s, to which you can hope there exists somewhere a response path ending optimistically. And if this is something you can hope for, to find that path (if it is there) should be something certain. The kismet is after all just your choice ;)

Production related, I guess that "Interstellar" is the most Spielbergish film that Nolan made. I don't think I have to say more. Oh .. yes. Once again, we have the proof that it's possible to have superb cinematography without 3D ;) I'm waiting a nomination for that. If it's not coming I think I'll boycott that section in next year's Oscars.

I wrote about "Interstellar", but not much about 7 - the full age of this blog .. or 2014. Well, it's already a good thing, considering that in 2014 there were many weeks when I didn't write about anything. I've honestly considered a final blog shutdown for today, meaning yesterday, because as it can be seen I wasn't able to finish the entry the day I wanted ( I have my cheap Blogspot trick to make it look like that for the Romanian version, but that's still a cheap trick :) ). I was thinking that 7 years were enough. Enough to not have the effect it did by motivating me to see at least one movie per week, enough to get to a phase where I tend to repeat myself quite often in what I write, enough to realize that I'm fooling myself with the perspective of someday finding time to "jump to the next level" = making this blog financially productive. Besides that, 2014 was a pretty tough year for reasons I don't want to discuss here ( and 2014 is not over yet ... ). Sufficiently tough to cut even my mood for watching a movie to allow my mind to run free for two hours. I've been trying to recover a bit the missing entries in the last couple months, but it's a forced recovery, and again in the end is just a number to fool myself that I'm back to the usual frequency. So, should I say stop then ? ...

Building suspense :) ... Well, I don't like giving up. I'm tired enough to accept a compromise, but I hope I won't be ever tired enough to give up completely. I just didn't think yet on what kind of compromise to do. No time. Maybe I'll start again taking periodical "vacations" (hopefully not a permanent one), maybe something else. Anyway, I would like that the final entry on this blog to be a 5 rated one :P. And in case of "Interstellar" ...

Rating: 4 out of 5 ;)





Monday, November 10, 2014

Godzilla (2014)

It's back .. and in 2014 "Godzilla" has "friends". Why between quotes ? Explained below :) ...

The previous "Godzilla", Roland Emmerich's '98 "masterpiece", had only one positive aspect I guess = "Come with Me" - Puff Daddy feat. Jimmy Page. Well, at least according to some opinions (mostly Puff Daddy fans) .. although, the same tune was a blasphemy, according to other opinios (mostly Led Zeppelin fans), .. so in the end probably there wasn't any positive aspect about that movie. Therefore, I didn't add "Godzilla" v.2014 to the list of movies to catch in cinema, considering that a disaster remake can't be far from mediocre. There was a minor error in my reasoning, "Godzilla" v.2014 is not a remake (like "Godzilla" v.1998 probably wasn't a remake either). This doesn't mean that we have a complex subject worthy of a Nobel literature award, reason for this long intro actually = to avoid spoiling the whole movie in five lines ;) Still, to give the promised explanations ... In this new version, Godzilla is not the only over dimensioned roaring creature. And the quotes for "friends" means that the Miss Dinosaur competition gets pretty rough between contestants. For details on their challenges, like the opinion on the safety of Earths disadvantaged species (=the humans) check out the movie ;)

The acting is flat = the star is really Godzilla. The effects are ok. The sound is good. Besides these, the above variation from the classic standard disaster (=something really big bad and terrible is happening, and we have to save the day) gives some freshness. And still, for a giant monsters story .. there's still work to do to get to the "Pacific Rim" level.

Rating: 3 out of 5




Saturday, November 1, 2014

John Wick (2014)


"Wick" .. "John Wick" .. I think that's the missing cliche left out of the huge pile of them that we have in this movie. A movie that's too long to lose more time checking its duration on IMDb. So let's finish this fast ...

It rains. John Wick, badly beaten, crawls near a wall. Flaaaaashback - well, we actually figure that's a flashback way later. What matters is that it rains. Again. John Wick is burying his wife. Rains harder. A dark mysteriously silhouette shows up under an umbrella. The suspense kills us. For 2 seconds. That's how much time we need to find out that the mysteriously guy has the same job as John Wick (contract killer, if you've seen the trailer should be quite clear), and what he wants is just to present his condolences. John Wick leaves for home. The postman rings. Puppy delivery. A remembrance gift from his former dying wife. Tears (yeah, I know, I have a horrible cold heart). Sleep. John Wick leaves to do some car rounds and to fill the tank. Bad karma. At exactly the same the gas station are three bad guys who want the car (they're Russians .. obviously). John Wick doesn't sell. Not good. The Russians really want the car. And they come for it. But they don't find the path directly to the garage. So they first pass through the living room and beat the hell out of John Wick. They also kill his dog. Big mistake: they don't kill John Wick (unbelievable how many bad guys do this mistake in this movie, it really would've shorten its length). Well, we find out that one of the Russians is the gang leader's son. We also find out that John Wick worked for that gang. And we also find out that John Wick gets very upset if you kill his dog and steal his car ...

We find a lot of other stuff throughout the movie. Like .. the bad Russians never attack simultaneously (except the start beating) in groups bigger than 2 (doesn't matter if they are 14 at one place). Like .. the professional assassins are called by phone to be executed and willingly show up. Like .. the final showdown must happen during a thunderstorm followed by heavy rain. We also find out that the IMDb are sometimes really hard to explain. I also found out that I was unfair with "The Equalizer" = John Wick could get some lessons from daddy Denzel. And we also find out that probably we shouldn't give much credit to a couple former stunt men directing their first movie, based on a script written by a B movies author (and not even many of those). Not much credit, and probably not much time either. So...

Rating: 2 out of 5 (barely)




The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)


I'm gonna continue the last entry "trend" of sequels that I thought will waste my time, and eventually didn't :), with the 2nd part of the rebooted Spiderman franchise. ( Besides that, is Halloween anyway so I needed something with a mask ;) ).

I've seen when this was released plenty opinions on being the worst Spiderman movie to date. Also, there are plenty opinions saying that the tandem Alex Kurtzman/Roberto Orci is a real plague among the Hollywood screenwriters = after "destroying" Star Trek now the started doing it with other franchises, as the current one. I can agree with their scripts "quality" for "Transformers" without any doubt, but leaving that aside, things are far from being so bad. Yes, the script is superficial, has holes, there are 12 minute YouTube videos mocking smth like 100 scenes in the movie, it's in a word "Hollywoodish" with a big H, but ... it has a story, it's catchy, the jokes are becoming more natural + it has that something that you want from a two hours+ movie when all you need is to let your brain "fly away". I know, I'm repeating myself :) I said that before, but honestly I'm glad that I see movies giving me the opportunity to do it.

I didn't watch it in 3D, and I think it's one of the few cases when I regret it. The effects are superb even in 2D. But what's top notch in this movie is the sound & music area. Hans Zimmer's score boosted again my hopes after "Lone Ranger" that the guy is not yet left without ideas. Thing that happens at some point for most of the composers. Besides that we also have the sound editing & mixing. If this movie doesn't get an Oscar nod for this next year it means that my ears start failing ( or that the year is not over yet and something better will show up :) ).

I've skipped the story. I'll keep it spoiler free this time. And not necessarily because the story is simple. Some actually say that this movie has too many secondary threads, and too many villains. It's perfect, it doesn't get boring. And most important, it's fun ;) despite not ending the romance in a very happy note (well .. I couldn't keep it :P)