Sunday, 30 November 2014

Nightcrawler (2014) - Movie Review

Directorial debuts are kind of a bizarre thing to see happen in real time. Sure, looking at films like Alien 3 or The Pleasure Garden can be interesting considering what their respective directors David Fincher and Alfred Hitchcock would go on to make, but that’s only because of the gift of hindsight and knowing that they did go on to make more movies and become regarded as great directors. It’s another thing to see a directorial debut and it being the only thing to go on: It could be a great film and then the director drops off of the radar; it could be awful and yet the director goes on to make even more like it; or any happy medium between the two. A recent example of this going right would be Chronicle, an excellent found footage movie (Yes, those exist) whose director Josh Trank is currently working on the new Fantastic Four movie. Will we get such a success story with this?

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Fat Pizza Vs. Housos (2014) - Movie Review

Whether it was watching TV standards like The Late Show and Kath & Kim, seeing stand-up gigs by the likes of Adam Hills and Carl Barron, or just by living in this country myself, I can’t think of a single time in my life when I wasn’t being influenced by Australian comedy. To quote the comedian Vince Sorrenti: “We don’t need to protect the Australian way of life; the Australian way of life is our fucking protection. It’s the most benign existence on Earth.” We are easily the most laidback people on the planet and it shows in our collective comedic styling, given how quick we are to take the piss out of ourselves and everyone else within earshot. To carry on that tradition, we have today’s film.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (2014) - Movie Review

Sometimes, we see movies for reasons that are in no way rational; the fact that I have seen The Room in cinemas twice this year is proof enough of that. I’ve said before that I try not to let my expectations dictate how I anticipate a movie, but every so often I’ll get kind of hyped for a movie just because an actor I like is in it. This is… a weird case. I say weird because the actor I wanted to see here isn’t even one of the main characters. In fact, I had no idea just how much screen time he was going to get. Who that actor is, I’ll get to momentarily.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) - Movie Review

As I write this, I am also working on a presentation about film tastes for a class I’m taking. In it, among other things, I make mention of critical hype and how it can ultimately damage a person’s film experience: You build up too much hype about how good (or bad) something is and you could end up giving someone else expectations that cannot possibly be met; this is the Detox Effect at work. With how much I was looking forward to today’s film after my last review, as well as how much talk I’ve seen involving this movie both on and offline, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was cautious.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) - Movie Review

Upon hitting cinemas, The Hunger Games ushered in what I like to call the ‘Third Wave of Modern YA Adaptations’. The first wave was caused by the early Harry Potter films and created a desire for stories involving destined child heroes in fantasy settings (well, a more immediate desire for them at any rate) with adaptations of The Chronicles Of Narnia and the like. The second wave was caused by the simultaneously over and under-abused punchline that is the Twilight series, creating a want to see romantic stories involving the undead. Such films that fall under this would include Red Riding Hood, The Host and Warm Bodies, along with many other trite bits of fluff. With the third wave, we have a sudden influx of apocalyptic settings, veering more into science-fiction than fantasy, and the ever-growing need to be taken seriously. In 2014 alone, we’ve had Divergent, The Giver and The Maze Runner as by-products of the Third Wave, not to mention The Hunger Games’ own Mockingjay which has just come out. Before I get to that movie though, I figured I should catch up a bit on the series, having only seen the first movie (It was really good, but mostly because of the second half).

Thursday, 20 November 2014

I, Frankenstein (2014) - Movie Review

It’s a bit of a double-edged sword seeing Australian names in mainstream cinema: Sometimes you get James Wan, director of The Conjuring as well as the original Saw; and sometimes you get Baz Luhrman, director of Moulin Rouge and Australia, among other pieces of aggravating drivel. I love seeing this great (at times) country I live in being represented in Hollywood, but it doesn’t always yield the best results. With today’s film, we have Stuart Beattie as writer/director who’s had a very murky track record of late, having been a co-writer on G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, the aforementioned Australia as well as a re-writer on Punisher: War Zone. Let's see how well he does here.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

The Legend Of Hercules (2014) - Movie Review

The story of Hercules and his Twelve Labours is one of my favourite ancient legends, so much so that the only good essay I ever wrote back in high school was on it and the reasons behind the longevity of the story. It's a tale that has been adapted numerous times before and with good reason: It's a great story with lots of potential, full of action, cunning, darkness and redemption. However, even with that in mind, I find it kind of odd that we got not one but two movie adaptations of it this year alone. We’ve had Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson, which took a different spin on the story and looked more at the idea of Hercules being a literal legend, something I found quite fascinating. True, it didn’t completely succeed at that idea, and it had more than a few narrative issues, but overall it was a decent watch. Prior to that, we also had today’s film which is a relatively more straightforward telling of the origin of Hercules.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

God's Not Dead (2014) - Movie Review

I am not really a religious person, but I don’t identify as an atheist either. Since I don’t think what I believe falls under agnosticism either, I have taken to calling myself a ‘cynical spiritualist’. I believe that everyone is free to believe what they want without being persecuted. However, if someone uses their religious leanings (or lack thereof) as their reasoning for doing stupid/vile things, for example the Westboro Baptist Church, I believe that we are all well within our rights to mock them for doing so. Punish for what they do, not what they think. My own personal philosophies have been brewed over time from a mixture of tenets from different religions (e.g. Christianity, Buddhism, Ancient Egyptian, Dudeism, among others), and they continue to build themselves over time. I have, at different points in my life, identified as a Christian and a rather militant Atheist, so I like to think that I can look at today’s film with some level of objectivity. Then again, talking about religion on the internet is like coating yourself in gasoline: You’re kind of asking for flames.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Love, Rosie (2014) - Movie Review

One of the key events that lead me to watching new films as intently as I do was when my therapist recommended a movie for me to watch as part of my therapy. It was a British rom-com called About Time, which I thoroughly enjoyed and got me thinking more about the idea of movie-watching as a form of therapy, something I might revisit at a later date. Anyway, it was a short while later that I decided to go with my current plan of watching all the new releases, as well as revisiting as many of the movies from the last few years that I can, and with that I gained a certain… relationship with romantic comedies. While every other critic has cinematic PTSD, given how bad most rom-coms get, I look at new releases in the genre as a little reminder of something that got me to where I am now as a critic. Doesn’t hurt that today’s movie also comes from the same general geographic location.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Interstellar (2014) - Movie Review

As a critic, I’m always fascinated to see a film that has other critics divided, and as of right now, there is no better safe bet on getting a film like that than one that has Christopher Nolan involved. While a lot of my contemporaries were slamming The Dark Knight Rises, I personally loved the hell out of it; when Man Of Steel had the world either loving it or hating it, I was safely in the latter even without putting my general disinterest in Superman into the equation. This is yet another movie that really could go either way in terms of my reaction to it.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Pokémon The Movie: Diancie And The Cocoon Of Destruction (2014) - Movie Review

Pokémon: A franchise so big that it may one day topple Japan’s own government; a TV show that is one of the few anime series that everyone knows about, guaranteed; and a game series that has a special place in the hearts of children and man-children alike. Yes, Pokémon is all of these things and I am a fan of the games myself. I specify ‘games’ because the TV show isn’t really my thing. Honestly, out of all the different anime titles that we grew up on (Yu-Gi-Oh!, Digimon, Dragon Ball Z, etc.), as a show Pokémon would have to be the weakest. Don’t get me wrong: The games are still awesome, even though with the advent of ‘Mega Evolutions’, my mother’s outcries that Pokémon and Digimon are exactly the same is starting to make too much sense, and while I haven’t played any games past Emerald (I kind of fell out with portable gaming somewhere down the track), I do still find myself playing homebrews on my computer (Zeta/Omicron is pretty damn good). So, with the 17th instalment of the Pokémon movie series coming out at my local cinema, I decided to head out with a couple of friends and check it out.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Let's Be Cops (2014) - Movie Review

The trailer for this movie made it look absolutely awful; the premise at face value is one of the worst for any film this year, if not the last few years; the comedy bits we got were limp and just not funny; and when the best part of the whole thing is a Method Man song being played over it, you’re not doing a good job at selling your movie. But I have written before about my expectations with movies and how they aren’t always on par, so really this could go either way.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

John Wick (2014) - Movie Review

Keanu Reeves, in my opinion, gets a bad rap. Everyone just seems to gauge his performances with either Bill & Ted or The Matrix, as if the guy hasn’t made any other movies apart from them. His method of acting, which is definitely low-key but not as banal as others make him out, did him well in movies like Devil’s Advocate, My Own Private Idaho and A Scanner Darkly. Hell, I even liked him in the much-maligned Constantine, which I seriously think people were too harsh on as a whole. Then again, even I can see his duds: Much Ado About Nothing, while excellent, proved that Shakespeare isn’t Keanu’s style in any way, The Day The Earth Stood Still was phenomenally dull and 47 Ronin from earlier this year was just plan terri-bad. So, where does his latest effort John Wick stand?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Maya The Bee Movie (2014) - Movie Review

Starting this habit of seeing every movie available to me has been simultaneously the best and worst idea I’ve ever had. Best because it’s given me a chance to see movies I wouldn’t normally check out and broadening my cinematic horizons; Worst because it frequently puts me into weird positions of being incredibly out of place amongst the audiences for some movies. Today’s film represents one of those situations, where I’m the only guy in the cinema who doesn’t have a child watching the movie with him.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

The Best Of Me (2014) - Movie Review

Everyone has different ways of celebrating Halloween: Some go trick-or-treating even past the intended age range for the activity, some set up elaborate pranks to scare the crap out of their friends (and hopefully get some views on YouTube) and some stay in to watch horror movies. I, on the other hand, went out to see my movie, but it was something that even the grisliest of horror films wouldn’t be able to compare with: A Nicholas Sparks movie adaptation.