Month: June 2014

Snowpiercer (2014)

Snowpiercer is certainly one way to tackle the issues of class disparity and climate change — at once, no less. The film’s entire premise is based on these two ideas, and then it takes its characters and audience on a great thrill ride of a movie. It does so effortlessly and stylishly. From its opening to its conclusion — and all the action and turns scattered throughout — this is an incredibly enjoyable experience. Here’s the premise: Sometime in the near future, the planet’s average temperature had increased to such an extent that humans finally decided to do something about it. We sprayed some sort of chemical in the air to take down the temperature, but there was a problem: it worked too well. The planet froze over. Humans and animals alike died out. The only survivors were those who boarded a train that is constantly in motion. It has been running non-stop for 17 years as Snowpiercer begins. At the tail of the car, the lower-class citizens reside. They’re cramped, eat nothing but “protein bars,” and are at the mercy of those near the front, who are the upper-class. At the beginning of the film, a quiet murmur exists. Questions like “Is it time yet?” are asked. The lead, Curtis (Chris Evans), replies with “soon.” They are planning revolts and revolution. Past attempts have failed. They believe that...

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Movie 43 (2013)

Before Movie 43 was released, the cast list was announced. Names like Elizabeth Banks, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Gerard Butler, Emma Stone, Kate Winslet, Gerard Butler, Anna Faris, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Bell, Sean William Scott, Dennis Quaid, Greg Kinnear, Uma Thurman — the list goes on and on — were announced to be involved. That’s not even half of the cast; I skipped some of the bigger names, too. I tell you this because I want you to try to think of ways these actors got involved with a $6 million sketch comedy movie. So, yes, Movie 43 is essentially just a series of short, profane, sketches featuring big-name actors. There’s an overarching story — which actually differs depending on where you live — that attempts to tie them together, and some meta-humor thrown in which winks at the audience and says “Yes, we know this is stupid, but we’re doing it anyway.” I don’t think that exact line is in there, but I’m relatively certain something along those lines was said (or at least implied). The framework for these sketches comes in one of two forms. The first involves Dennis Quaid pitching a movie script to Greg Kinnear which features all of the sketches. While he describes them to Kinnear, we actually get to see them. Kinnear is disgusted, but keeps listening after Quaid reveals a gun. In...

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Ghost World (2001)

Based on the comic book of the same name written by Terry Zweigoff, Ghost World is a coming-of-age story different from most similar films you’ll see come out of Hollywood. It doesn’t adhere to genre conventions, it takes a different direction in its story, it contains far more wit and satire than most movies are allowed, and it ends more ambiguously than these types of films generally do. All of that might upset some viewers who are used to formula and happy to accept it, but if you’re looking for something different, this might be one to check out. Ghost World begins with high school graduation. Enid (Thora Birch) and Rebecca (Scarlett Johansson) have finally entered the real world. They’re not popular people; they smirk at everything, doing so with more snark than the body should be capable of producing. Their plan is simple: they’re going to get jobs, rent an apartment together, and live happily ever after. They spend their free time making fun of their surroundings, listening to music, wandering, and stalking interesting people. One such person winds up being a loner named Seymour (Steve Buscemi), whom they notice after they see an ad placed in the local paper claiming he had a “moment” with a blonde woman at the airport but never got her number. He hopes she’ll see the ad and call him. Enid calls,...

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The Rover (2014)

 In recent years, films centering around or having the story taking place in the country/continent of Australia have dwindled. Which is sad, because there is a lot creative potential in this place. And that’s where “The Rover” comes into play. Directed by David Michôd (“Animal Kingdom”), the film is a post apocalyptic view of the nation starring Guy Pierce and Robert Pattinson (yes, Edward from “Twilight”, shut up). The movie is very good, yet there is one major flaw to it. “The Rover” is an exciting visual landscape as well as an intense drama from Australia. An economic collapse of Australia has left many in an abandoned environment. One of these people is Eric (Guy Pierce), who wants to forget the past as it is too horrifying for him to take. Suddenly, a group of bandits come and steal Eric’s car. Now, in a broken-down truck, Eric must get his car back at all costs. Along the way, he meets and young kid named Ray (Robert Pattinson) who is badly injured; it just so happens that Ray’s brother is one of the bandits. The two must form an unlikely bond and team up to meet their own personal quotas: Eric- to get his car back, and Ray- to get revenge on his brother who left him to die. “The Rover” is an intense drama that needs to be seen...

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

I saw How to Train Your Dragon a couple of years after most people and while I liked it at the time, I wasn’t quite as enamored with it as seemingly everyone else on the face of the planet. Sure, it was cute and funny and enjoyable — not to mention absolutely gorgeous — but it had a lot of problems that kept me from truly falling in love. I re-watched it prior to seeing the sequel, and while I felt those problems persisted, their impact was lessened. I was more drawn by the humor, enjoyed the simple story more, and so on. Perhaps I’ve softened with time. I mention this because I feel it’s important to mention the context in which this review originates. Taking place five years after the first film, How to Train Your Dragon 2 follows Hiccup (voice of Jay Baruchel) and his dragon, Toothless, exploring the vast world after having made peace with all the dragons of the region. He is being pressed by his father, Stoick (Gerard Butler) to become the new chief, he’s still with his now-girlfriend, Astrid (America Ferrera), and his village now entertains itself with dragon races. Without spoiling too much, a villain soon emerges who wants to capture all the dragons, raise an army, and take over the world. With the help of a vigilante dragon tamer (Cate Blanchett),...

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