Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past


X-Men: Days of Future Past

Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer(s):  Simon Kinberg (screenplay), Jane Goldman (story), Simon Kinberg (story), Matthew Vaughn(story) 
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Daniel Cudmore, Bingbing Fan, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Lucas Till, and Evan Jonigkeit
MPAA Rating: Rated PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.
Running Time: 131 min
Synopsis: The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 90% "Fresh", Top Critics: 98% "Fresh", Audience: 95% "Like It"

Metacritic: Critics: 74 out of 100, Users: 9.1 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 74 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Based on characters and story-arcs from X-men comic created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby . 

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: This film had a lot different type of action scenes that worked very well.   
  • Comedy Elements: The comedy breaks the tension at the perfect moments.       
  • Dramatic Elements:  Some of the best dramatic scenes in comic book movie.        
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: This film has comic book fantasy elements, but it sprinkles in some good time travel elements as well.       
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 9: Looking at this cast list one of your first thoughts might be, "Damn there are a lot of characters in this film" You would be mistaken. I believe they had a perfect balanced between the old guys (Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, ect.) the new guys (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, ect.) and the even newer guys ( Evan Peters, Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, ect) Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen have great chemistry as longtime friends, there off screen friendship may have helped with that. James McAvoy could very well get a nomination for his acting in this role. It was nice seeing Xavier, who is well known as being very hopeful, be at his all time low. Xavier at the beginning of this film is more or less a drug addict. Evan Peters was the biggest scene stealer ever. Peter Dinklage is great. I like the fact that the filmmakers filled the parts with good actors. Bolivar Trask isn't traditionally a "dwarf" but who cares Dinklage does a great job, and they don't mention he's a "dwarf" at all in the film.       
  • Art Direction: 9: Before you start barking up the wrong tree, saying things like, "Quicksliver costume is garbage" Even though I would have agreed with before seeing the film. In the film the costume makes sense. Yes its not your typical Green/ Blue with white lightning bolt but it makes  sense in the film trust me on this one. This film takes place primarily in the 70's so a lot of the art and costumes have that vibe except when the film shifts to the future.          
  • Cinematography: 8: I think it was well shot. There were a good amount of dramatic scenes that just took the cake.            
  • Direction: 9: I'm glad to have Bryan Singer back on this film. I believe the X-men franchises is his baby. It was good to bring back Singer's style from the old X-man film while at the same time respecting Matthew Vaughn's work on X-Men: First Class. Singer did a nice job "fixing" all of the continuity problems from X3, Origins, and First Class.   
  • Editing: 8: I think they did a great job handling the time traveling aspects in this film. It was nice seeing a compare and contrast element in the film.  
  • Screenplay: 9: Where to start. I really liked the story. Do I have issues with the adaptation from the comic books, yes, but the story we got on screen was great. I mentioned the compare and contrast elements briefly above, I believe the story expands on that even more so. Xavier and Magneto are enemies, primarily because they have different views on how to handle mutants. There's a really awesome scene that showcase that very conflict between them. Compared that to their future versions, they are old friends that are willing to sacrifice each others lives to save their kind, mutants. It's kind of inserting as well that Trask is a guy who is a "dwarf." From a larger scope that makes him a "mutant" He's not a mutant as defined in the X-Men universe but he's not "normal" either. Compared to the guy, okay with the idea of eliminating the "mutant issue," even though he admires them.                
  • Sound and Music: 8: Mixture of the old and new I like it. Some of the music brings the humor out.  
  • VFX: 9: Not as par as Godzilla, but it was very well done.           
Overall: 9: I think die hard comic book fan might be a lit fussy on how they handled some things but I think they can get over it. Movies and Books are two different things. I had a really good time in this film and I think you will too.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: Godzilla (2014)



Distributor: Legendary Pictures
Director: Gareth Edwards
Writer(s):  Max Borenstein (screenplay), Dave Callaham (story)  
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of destruction, mayhem and creature violence.
Running Time: 123 min
Synopsis: The world's most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity's scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 73% "Fresh", Top Critics: 67% "Rotten", Audience: 81% "Like It"
Metacritic: Critics: 62 out of 100, Users: 8.1 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 69 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Based on classic Japanese Kaiju films with the same name. 

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: The last twenty minutes is where its at, nice Kaiju on Kaiju action.  
  • Comedy Elements: Um, not too much comedy to see here.       
  • Dramatic Elements:  A SAD attempt at drama.        
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: This film is chalk full of monster film goodness.       
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 7:  Don't get me wrong, I love the cast of the film. There is some great talent among them. I felt some of them were underutilized. I will explain this in more detail in the writing section of this review because it's more of a writing flaw. Bryan Cranston owns every last minute on screen. Ken Watanabe has one of the best voices. It was awesome listening to him tell us the origin of Godzilla.         
  • Art Direction: 8: I liked that the backdrop of this film was the "Ring of Fire." They don't mention that in the film, but its interesting to look at the location of the film and make that geographical connection. (Philippines, Japan, Hawaii, Las Vegas, and San Francisco) The locations match up with the story. Again, this movie main focus was Godzilla, and the art a visual effect showcase that aspect.    
  • Cinematography: 9: Oh man a lot of these shots were awesome. The POV shot of the soldiers parachuting in was one of many ways the cinematographer emerged the viewers into this world. I personally like how they showcase the scale of Godzilla and MUTO's compared to everything else. The action sequence was filmed in a way that emerged the audience without using shaky cam. I kind of liked seeing some of the fight sequences on the news because it, placed it in a 2014 world. What I mean is we are so obsessed with our screens, our devices, and our technology that we don't pay attention to the disaster happening outside.           
  • Direction: 7: The director of this film is fairly new, he has only done one or two pictures before this one, most notability Monster. On Monster he did pretty much everything (VFX, Directing, Writer, Cinematographer, ect) I think the skills he learned on that film translated over because the biggest positives of this film is its VFX and Cinematography           
  • Editing: 7: I interrupted this monster fight for a meaningless "dramatic" scene.   
  • Screenplay: 5: I want to explain underutilized characters / actors in this film.Bryan Cranston's plays a guy, father of Aaron Taylor-Johnson character,  who becomes obsessed with figuring out the real reason the power plant he worked was destroyed. This very same "accident" takes his wife's life, which adds to his drive for the investigation. !!!SPOILERS!!! After Ken Watanabe's character discovers Cranston's character and more importantly, his research, Cranston's character is killed by one of the MUTO's. His death has little to no impact on the other characters in the film. You would think his death would impact Aaron Taylor-Johnson character and be apart of his driving force to solve this MUTO issue, but it's not END OF SPOILERS That's one of many examples of character being written flat in this film, BUT this flatness is kind of a positive because this film isn't a story of humanity defeating giant monsters. This film is about Godzilla being a hero.
  • Sound and Music: 8: I liked the score it was very fitting, That Godzilla roar was perfect.  
  • VFX: 10: I hope for the Academy recognize this film in the visual effect category when award season come around. I think the director's background with VFX help because this movie looked damn good. Godzilla was awesome visually.          
Overall: 7.5: Are you a guy? Did you like dinosaurs as a kid? Do you like giant monster wrecking cities? If you said yes to all these, then go see the new Godzilla.              

Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Review


The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Distributor: Sony
Director: Marc Webb
Writer(s): Alex Kurtzman (Screenplay), Roberto Orci (Screenplay), and Jeff Pinkner (Screenplay), James Vanderbilt (Screen story)  
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, and Dane DeHaan
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action/violence.
Running Time: 142 min
Synopsis: Peter Parker runs the gauntlet as the mysterious company Oscorp sends up a slew of supervillains against him, impacting on his life.

What Others Are Saying?

Rotten Tomatoes: T-Meter: 54% "Rotten", Top Critics:37% "Rotten", Audience: 77% "Like It"
Metacritic: Critics: 53 out of 100, Users: 7.8 out of 10
MRQE Metric: 55 out of 100
My Review

Source Material: Based on comic book characters, from Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. 

Entertaining Value:

  • Action Elements: Short burst of action mix among the love story that explodes into a giant battle sequence near the end of the film.     
  • Comedy Elements: There are a lot of playful and kind of "cheesy" one liners, lines you expect characters from a spider-man comic to say.       
  • Dramatic Elements: There is great chemistry between Garfield and Stone.        
  • Sci-Fi / Fantasy Elements: This film is chalk full of "comic book fantasy" elements.       
Cinematic Value:
  • Acting and Dialogue: 7: ALL the actors in this film did a great job, but there was some major character development issues, but we can't blame the actors for that. Andrew Garfield again brings another "old school" but modern Peter Parker to the screen. I liked Emma Stone's portrayal of the adventurous, sexy, and smart Gwen Stacy. Jamie Foxx pulls off both the super geek and the supervillain. Dane DeHaan dose a good job as Harry Osborne but the entire time I was thinking to myself, "This guys reminds me of a younger Leonardo DiCaprio."              
  • Art Direction: 7: I felt most of the comic book movies now days go with the "Ultimate" versions of the character design. I'm fine with that decision if it reduces the amount of spandex on the screen. The part I didn't like about the "modern" Peter Parker is making him a "hipster" on a fashion basis. Where was that geek / nerd Peter Parker? 
  • Cinematography: 7: The cinematography in this film seems to borrowed some plays from the Zach Snyder playbook, especially when dealing with some of the action sequences. I'm talking about the Snyder slow motion. I understand that Spider-Man has spider like reflexes and they want to capture that on film. Nature filmmakers will sometimes use a high speed camera to film, then play it back at normal speeds creating the slow motion effect. I believe the filmmakers on Spider-Man want that same cinematic feeling.   
  • Direction: 6: I personally felt this film was a little bit on the slow side. I'm say that as I was sitting in my seat I was thinking, "Hurry this up and get to the action already" Its not that I'm a an action junkie, but I didn't expect the film to put as much emphasis on the love story as it did. To a certain degree this film "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" its fans. Meaning the love story aspect of the film slowed the film down. Don't get me wrong, the love story did give the film a little more meat, when it comes to story, but from a pacing aspect I believe it slowed the film down.     
  • Editing: 6: "Short burst of action mix among the love story that explodes into a giant battle sequence near the end of the film." pretty much sums up the editing in this film. 
  • Screenplay: 6: I mentioned before about the bad character development, well let's examine that claim. Electro: He goes from a nobody geeky guy who works for Oscorp to a damn near omnipotent supervillian. The film gives us little to no transition between the two. Harry Osborne is supposed to be Peter Parker's best friend, but we really don't get that vibe on screen. We only really get one scene, where they showcase that really good friendship, but that was more of "I haven't seen you in very long, lets catch up" I think the reason the film fell short in this area is because it was a bit on the over crowed side. I understand the filmmakers are trying to establish a Spider-Man cinematic universe. I believe this film is to be the bridge to other films in the Spider-man universe. All I'm asking for is some breathing room, especially when it comes to the character development. The filmmakers did get one thing right and that was the relationship with Gwen Stacy. Peter has this inner turmoil of trying to uphold the promise he made with Gwen's father verses his great love for Gwen. This emotional connection between Peter and Gwen makes Gwen's inevitable fate from the comic books a powerful scene.                         
  • Sound and Music: 7: I liked how they worked the "original" Spider-Man theme in the film, but I disliked the "Dubstep" / "Electronic" themes for Electo. I disliked because it was little to cliche.   
  • VFX: 8: It was very well done.    
Overall: 6.75: I enjoyed this film from a entertaining summer comic book stand point, but I was a little disappointed from a cinematic stand point.