Monday, August 31, 2015

McFarland, USA [2015] review

Kevin Costner plays Kevin Costner who does just enough to keep us interested. The real stars are the Mexican-American high school students who unfortunatelyhave to share screen time and story with the actors playing Kevin Costner's family AND the Mexican-Americans adults that are portrayed as gangsters, but SPOILER ALERT, are simply just a group of automobile enthusiasts. The movie thinks that the story of these cross country runners wouldn't be interesting enough that they had to pad it with side stories that just distracted from the main plot. I enjoyed the main plot and there is one specific scene towards the end of the movie that really pulls at the heartstrings. Also since this was based off a true story, I really enjoyed the recap of the current status of the original cross country team as well as the real life coach that Costner portrayed. It was definitely better than Disney's "Million Dollar Arm", and part of me thinks that they could have cast Jon Hamm in Kevin Costner's role and you could have still had the same movie. All in all, it may not sound like it, but it was enjoyable and the end was just enough to save it.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Kingsman: The Secret Service [2014] review

Many months ago, when I first saw trailers for this film, it put a bad taste in my mouth. The actors came off very conceded so I had no interest in it. Also, I enjoy some British humor, but some can really turn me off. Regardless, a friend highly recommended it so I put it on my Netflix queue and here we are. I'm happy to report that the movie was actually good and very entertaining. There were some predictable parts, but the non-predictable parts were very well done. I didn't like the main character at first as he reminded me of a British Eminem, but thankfully he grew on me. He does pull of some crazy parkour moves towards the beginning that seemed to come out of nowhere, but later it's mentioned that he dropped out of the military, so he probably learned it there (ha, ha). The cinematography of the church scene, in particular, was very well done and probably my favorite scene. I definitely recommend that you add this movie to your queue. I wouldn't mind watching it again in a few months.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’ [2015] review

Another successful return to the world of Dragon Ball Z. There was a good amount of humor spread out throughout the film, even during the very serious scenes. I would have like more in movie explanation why Goku and Vegeta had blue hair, but I was to find some what of an answer online after the movie. As a casual fan I was able to follow most of the "inside" jokes, as well as appreciate some of the characters' "signature" moves/attacks. It did seem that a lot of characters were sidelined (not even shown) and even Vegeta himself felt sidelined, but the movie alludes that the Saiyans will need to eventually put aside their pride and work together, which is something they won't be doing anytime soon because 1) it would be against their character to do so and 2) the movie would be over too quickly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Inherent Vice [2014] review

In the first few minutes, as the plot unfolds, it becomes apparent that everything is somehow connected. While I enjoy a good mystery, I felt that I needed to map it out on paper and utilize the subtitles to keep it all straight. This movie was more enjoyable when I went back to re-watch certain scenes. I found a lot of humor in the first half of the movie, but unfortunately, the pacing of the second half of the movie slowed down considerably where it didn't pick up back again until the climax/finale. So while there were some success with the plot, it was hard to ignore the weaknesses.

As for the characters, I did enjoy all the recognizable faces as well as the acting. Even though Reese Witherspoon had a small role in the film, I did enjoy seeing her and Phoenix act together again. Some of the stoner type of acting grated on me a bit, but thankfully it didn't detract too much and sometimes it added to the humor, especially in the way the hippies were treated by the police.

I'd give this movie 3/5 stars with it potentially earning .5 to 1.0 points on a full second watch.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Focus [2015] review

Despite the negative reviews, I really enjoyed the twists and turns of this movie. I thought Will Smith and Margot Robbie worked well for the most part, but I found it difficult to feel any real chemistry when both characters didn't trust each other, and as an audience member, I didn't trust them because I was waiting for the next twist. I thought I had guessed the final scene, but it turned out I was only half right so I was happy to be proven wrong.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation [2015] review

I liked it. The opera scene was fun, the water sequence was a stretch, the knife fight wasn't needed, and of course the movie wouldn't be complete without the obligatory car chase. I would say that I liked Ant-man slightly more as it had more humor and less predictability. I do have to praise Cruise. He doesn't phone it in and he continues to be a pleasure to watch, at least in this franchise.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Taken 3 [2015] review

This movie was a huge improvement from its predecessor, attempting to capture the magic of the first film, but it doesn't quite get there. The first movie was definitely lightning in a bottle; it's a shame that corporate greed led to two unnecessary sequels. I do enjoy Forest Whitaker as an actor, but unfortunately he's mostly sidelined throughout the film. The director was probably going for a Fugitive-Harrison Ford-Tommy Lee Jones dynamic with Neeson and Whitaker, or maybe not, but again, it doesn't quite get there. The final scene with the two of them summarizing the plot is a testament that the plot itself wasn't that great in the first place. It is nice to have this trilogy complete; we can all hope they leave it alone. Final thoughts: The overall point of this franchise is that someone is taken and rescued while watching Neeson be bad ass and detective at the same time. No one was taken to be rescued in the final installment so in the end we get one dead character and everything else was pointless.