Only God Forgives

 

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7/10

This review will no doubt be the weirdest and most contradictory of all of my reviews. First of all, i want to say that i enjoyed the film. It was definitely a good old fashioned Japanese revenge film. It reminded me a lot of the kung fu films because of the graphic violence of it. I also enjoyed the cinematography and the way the film was shot. Nicolas Refn sees a world in his films that is both beautiful and frightening. He is a director that i really enjoy, and i felt he did a good job here……..mostly. On the negative side, i can fully understand why this film was booed at Cannes Film Festival. This movie definitely isn’t for everyone, and i will go ahead and tell all of my readers that i would be very surprised if anyone else likes this movie. One thing that is good and bad about this film is that it’s dominated by the performance of Vithaya Pansringarm. Make no mistake about it, this is his movie. As much as you are told in the trailer and synopsis to hate this man, he is the guy you will feel the closest to. You understand why he does the things he does. Ryan Gosling and Kristen Scott Thomas are kind of wasted here. It’s a shame because you have great actors like these two in the film and they are practically on sleep mode the entire time. Only God Forgives will go down as possibly the only film i have ever liked and not recommended at the same time

The Conjuring

 

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7.5/10

I really enjoyed this horror/suspense movie about a family that is the victims of a possession. Based on a true story, this film has been receiving mostly positive reviews with even some comparing it to The Exorcist. Personally, i thought the film was done really well with great acting and a lot of visuals that make the non-horror fan very scared. I don’t think deep horror fans (like myself) will be that scared or bothered by this film. I found 2012’s Sinister a little more bothering to me. That doesn’t mean that this film doesn’t deserve the praise it’s getting. The Conjuring tells a very creepy story that makes you wonder how this family is ever going to get out of it. Some of the negatives of the film was the weak body count and a somewhat anti-climatic ending. Some of the positives was the great acting led by Vera Farmiga as a psychic with the ability to see demons.Also, i don’t praise child actors often, but i thought they were outstanding in this film. All five of the children add something to a great formula. I also think the musical score is one of the best of the year. I think the music in particular is where a lot of the comparisons to past horror films comes from. I would recommend this film to horror fans new and old who are looking for a recipe on horror films done right. There have been many done wrong in the last 15 years, but The Conjuring is one that we will be talking about for years to come.

Pacific Rim

 

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7/10

This film was like a mix between The Power Rangers movie and Real Steel. I will first of all start by saying that i enjoyed this film a lot more than all three Transformers films and Battleship. This film has a lot better characters and real life drama than those films could ever comprehend. This movie is a big war with robots taking on monsters that appear out of a portal from the ocean floor. My only problem with that premise is that it never explains why the portal is there in the first place. I would’ve liked some background on when the attacks started, but instead we arrive midway through a random attack of San Francisco. Another problem i had was the training class of stick jousting. I understand why they had to do it, but why couldn’t it just be a boxing class? The robots don’t use sticks so why do the trainees have to? Stuff i liked about this film was the cast. Idris Elba has always been an amazing actor in my opinion, and he really adds a dramatic layer to this film. Charlie Hunnan is great in the lead role that gets a little cliche at times, but gives us more than a typical jock in this role. In my opinion, the action was 2nd to none in 2013 film, and i would definitely be curious to see how this film looks in 3D. Overall, i recommend this film for the action buffs. I think it provides a good story with tons of great fighting scenes between the robots and the monsters.

Despicable Me 2

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7.5/10

This film was really entertaining and almost comes as close as the laughs it had in the first film. Gru and his minions are back in this sequel to find Gru a wife. It’s obvious at about 20 minutes into the film that this is going to be Lucy (voiced by Kristen Wig). While i normally love Kristen Wig, i found her role to be the only thing about the movie i didn’t like. Her character is annoying at times and doesn’t have a lot to do. The Minions are better than they were in the first film with such bits as singing ‘I Swear’, and rowing boats with their funny sounds. I enjoy the Dispicable Me franchise, and it seems like a spinoff with the minions is right around the corner. One of the better things with franchises like this is that the whole family can see it. There are enough grown up jokes involved in this film that Mom and Dad can take the kids and not worry about being bored for 90 minutes. Side note – I am strongly debating being Gru for Halloween. I guess i will just have to see what i can do about it. Overall, a really good film that i recommend everyone sees in a theater. Really, there isn’t much better out in theaters right now. Probably Man of Steel is the only thing i would see above this.

Man of Steel

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7.5/10

Such a beautiful film with a cast that really hits a home run. Zach Snyder is back with another amazing piece of cinematography. As a fan of Watchman and the beauty of Sucker Punch (Cause not much else was great about that film), this movie only improved my opinion on Mr. Snyder. This is the film that every Superman fan has been waiting decades for. In my opinion, this is the greatest Superman film of all time. Great acting performances are handed in by Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe, Laurence Fishbourne and of course the amazing Michael Shannon. I didn’t really like Amy Adams as Lois Lane, but she is a football field better than Kate Bosworth. It also took some time for me to adjust to Henry Cavill as the man with the cape. I am not fully in his camp yet, and it may take another Superman movie to see what he can do when he is deeper under fire. The problem with making a Superman film and why nearly no one has been able to do it is because he is the strongest and fastest superhero on the planet. It’s hard to put someone up against him and make him seem defeated and vulnerable. Zod is an excellent choice to put up some adversity, but i had a couple other villains who i would’ve preferred. I absolutely loved the action and destruction in this film. After being slightly disappointed with Iron Man 3, Man of Steel redeems my faith in the superhero genre. My favorite part of the film was definitely the epic showdown between Superman and Zod which goes through buildings and streets like they are wallpaper. I longed for more scenes on Krypton as i felt they were some of the best of the movie. Overall, i definitely recommend this film and would like to hear your opinions on where it ranks among the original four Superman Movies and the 2005 Superman Returns

This is the End

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7/10

A very fun movie that i would recommend to groups of friends who are out to have a good time. This film added a comedic touch to the end of the world genre and i think in that aspect it succeeds. There are very funny comedic performances by Craig Robinson, Michael Cera, Danny Mcbride and Jonah Hill, to name a few. Where it fails is in the running time of 106 minutes which makes it feel like 2 hours. The movie does have slow spots in between where it almost runs out of ways to make Armageddon funny. I did think the effects were pretty cool, and the damage done to LA was an absolutely amazing scene that would make Michael Bay crap his pants. I recommend this film if you just want to have a good time and not see anything too serious. It definitely has an ending that has to be seen to be believed.

Rapture Palooza

 

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7/10

A straight to DVD release that is definitely one of the funniest films of the year. Craig Robinson stars as Satan. He inherits the earth after the rapture takes care of 3/4 of the population. The film reminded me of a mixture of Dogma and Idiocracy because it could easily be written by Kevin Smith or Trey Parker/Matt Stone. This is definitely the role of a lifetime for Robinson who is responsible for most of the laughs and great lines. That leaves two problems that aren’t a big deal, but clearly obvious. The first, No other character even comes close to having the meaning that Robinson does. God even makes an appearance (I won’t spoil who it is), and it’s just not as big of a deal because this film totally focuses on Craig. The other problem is that some scenes step on some real good laughs by lasting a little too long. It’s like the cameraman forgot to stop the camera from rolling just to see if he could get another laugh out of his actors. Overall, Rapture Palooza might be the funniest film i have seen this year. It’s these kind of films that make me always take a 2nd look at straight to DVD releases. Sometimes, they are better than 80% of the stuff that is in theaters. There are way too many stars to name, but Anna Kendrick, Rob Coddry, Ana Gaestyer, Paul Scheer and John Michael Higgins to name a few. I definitely recommend you give Rapture Palooza a shot. It’s only 84 minutes, so it’s definitely an easy sit. I can also imagine that there are some amazing improv deleted scenes on the DVD.

Now You See Me

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7/10

This is the best example of cast carrying a script. The first hour of this movie is really well done, and then it takes a turn for the unbelievable. It’s funny that this film is about magic because it is every bit as unbelievable as the sport it exploits. The difference between this being a good movie though is the cast. It was great to see Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson back together (Zombieland) and Michael Caine with Morgan Freeman (Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy). Freeman is excellent as a former magician who reveals all of four horseman’s secrets. You really have to suspend disbelief for some of the craziest magic illusions you have ever seen. The ending is kind of satisfying, but has a twist that is very easy to see coming. While the film is good, it suffers from a weak script that keeps it from becoming as good as The Prestige. It is however better than the other magic film of this year, Burt Wonderstone……..WAY BETTER. I recommend this film to anyone if you can go watch a movie and suspend a lot of disbelief. Basically, if you appreciated the logic of The Fast and Furious series, then you will love this.

After Earth

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7/10

I was very surprised with how much better this movie was than i thought it would be. Will and Jaden Smith are father and son (Big stretch i know) who crash land on Earth 50 years after it is deemed unlivable. From there, the movie tells a tale of boy becomes man in the form of Jaden Smith stepping out and making this movie his own. I was really surprised that Will took a backseat on this one. This is clearly Jaden’s movie and you know it from the opening 5 minutes. This film featured a lot of excellent fighting scenes with the creatures that inhabit the earth. The only negative i really had for this film was the annoyance of the accents that the main characters had and the lack of acting from Jaden Smith. I know he is a teenager, but he doesn’t even come close to inheriting his father’s range. Overall, a good movie that i would recommend to anyone who liked Will’s 90’s films.

Fast and Furious Six

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7/10

A very fun movie that will make for a good time in any friend group. The movie had a lot of great qualities including non-stop action. It also featured great comedic turns by Tyreese and Ludacris. The biggest shining moment in my opinion for the acting was that of big time up and coming actor Luke Evans. He had a great role as the smart villain Owen Shaw. Some of the things i didn’t like about this movie were the way some things weren’t explained well within the plans. Also, some of the characters don’t have much to do or say because it is such a large ensemble. The biggest problem with this movie however, is the INSANE and illogical stunts. I understand that this is a Fast and Furious movie and most people will think i am whining for a bad reason, but this was unbelievable even for Fast and Furious standards. Just a total new definition of gravity portrayed in this film. Overall, i recommend it because it is one fast paced action thrill ride that doesn’t need cheap 3D effects to pull of a good film. Fun for everyone

Mud

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7/10

Matthew McConaughey stars in this coming of age tale about a man on the run and living on an island when he befriends two children. To be honest, i didn’t really know what to expect when i saw the trailers for this film. I knew i definitely wanted to see it because of the amazing cast (Reese Witherspoon, Michael Shannon and Sarah Paulson to name a few), but i didn’t know if it would be any good or not. My answer is that this is a pretty good film that tells a good story. The problem with that story is that it drags out at times and has pacing problems while getting to the big conclusion. The film runs in at 2 hours and 10 minutes, and really has no reason to be that long. Other than that, my only other problem with the film was the concentrating on some of the outside storylines. I would’ve appreciated a better telling of the stuff outside of Mud trying to get off of the island. This film is packed with good things though. This includes amazing performances by the two little boys (Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, respectively). They give the movie a “Stand By Me” kind of feel with the great bond the two boys share. All they want is an adventure to get them away from their less than thrilling lives and they found it in this stranger who shows up out of nowhere. I also enjoyed the settings of this small town where the youths wonder what adult to trust, if any. Overall, i recommend this film when it comes out on DVD next week. If Mcconaughey doesn’t bother you too much, then give it a shot. It’s a little long, but a lot better than most of the theater releases that have come out lately.

Oblivion

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7/10

Overall a pretty good movie that could’ve been a lot better. I went into this film with very low expectations and i think that is why it paid off well. Tom Cruise is part of a cleanup crew that is trying to pick up the pieces after an extinction war with aliens in 2077. I am not usually a Tom Cruise fan, but i feel like he brought a lot to a good character that i legitimately cared about. This movie has great action, well written characters and great cinematography that creates a beautiful film to look at. This movie could’ve easily fallen into the disaster of other Cruise films like Minority Report, but this movie had the genius that is Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo giving a decent performance as the leader of the alien race. I don’t want to give too much away, but one of the things i didn’t like was the last two minutes of the movie. The ending (at least the one you thought) would have been a pretty damn good way to end it, and i probably would’ve given this film a 7.5 if it ended there. But the last two minutes are completely implausible and it leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth. I really had a fun time watching this film and was well entertained with the 2 hour run time. I recommend this film to sci-fi fans, but for anyone else i am not so sure. I could easily see people not agreeing with me on this film, so for non sci-fi fans i will say check it out on DVD.