Sunday 28 February 2016

How To Be Single (2016) - Movie Review

Maybe it’s an age thing, but being single doesn’t really bother me all that much… about 99 times out of 100. That’s probably because I’m at that point of transitioning into full-on adulthood where I have a lot of other shit to worry about day-by-day. Of course, on that one day out of 100, it does end up getting me ever so slightly. And by "slightly", I mean I start looking like I should be listening to Simple Plan all friggin’ day. Being the social hermit that I am, talking with people isn’t necessarily something I am equipped to deal with these days. With this in mind, and everything I’ve said previously about what I’ve learnt from films, there’s that added layer of irritating that comes with most rom-coms. It’s kind of like hanging out with people who go on about how great their relationship is going and how much work it is to maintain; on both sides, it only serves to annoy. Probably explains why these are usually considered date movies in the first place; watching them while single isn’t exactly the best idea in the world. Regardless, here I am fulfilling my self-imposed obligation to see a film that I’m not exactly frothing at the mouth to go see. Let’s discover why.

Saturday 27 February 2016

Three Wise Cousins (2016) - Movie Review

Maybe it’s as a result of the certain brand of critic that I took inspiration from to start reviewing films in the first place, but there are times when I wonder if maybe I’m a little too harsh on certain films. Oh sure, stuff like Vacation and War Room most assuredly deserve every fireball I throw their way, but what about the smaller productions? Like, say, The Quarantine Hauntings from last year? Every so often, given how relentlessly I tore the thing apart, I wonder if I was maybe too hard on it given its lower budget and limited release. Then again, I’ve seen amazing low budget films like Lead Me Astray and amazingly awful blockbusters like Pan, so I’m already of the opinion that films are capable of being held to the same standard across the board. Every film gets the same treatment, no question about it. So, with that protecting-my-own-arse clause out of the way, let’s get started with today’s film already.

Thursday 25 February 2016

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi (2016) - Movie Review

Michael Bay: A name synonymous with Hollywood hackery, thanks in no small part to his generally woeful Transformers film series. And yet, at least in the last couple of years, I find myself defending the guy? Okay, let me rephrase that. I’m defending the guy’s recent output which, for various reasons, I can easily say shows some definite improvement from the guy who gave Deep Wang and “I’m directly below the enemy scrotum”. Between the genuinely great satire of Pain & Gain, the leap in the right direction of Transformers: Age Of Extinction and even the surprisingly decent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, I can easily say that I was properly looking forward to this one. I mean, there is a place in the world for Bay’s style of bona fide excess of America, Fuck Yeah; I just wish that his latest would more resemble The Rock than The Fallen. So, are we gonna get another Shyamalan? Only one way to find out.

Monday 15 February 2016

Deadpool (2016) - Movie Review

More so than any other comic book film that has been released during my lifetime, like The Avengers or X-Men or even The Dark Knight Rises, this is the one that I have been waiting for. Then again, given the character’s lauded reputation and fan base, I’m sure that that is true for most fanboys in the world. Deadpool is not only one of my favourite comic book characters, but might be one of my favourite fictional characters ever: His unique fourth-wall breaking personality probably gives the most freedom of any graphic novel character, almost like a living TARDIS in terms of story possibility. Just to be clear, this guy once mugged Queen Elizabeth for her clothing and teamed up with a group of robotic animals to take down an orca in a robot suit. Under regular circumstances, I’d say that this is that rare property that is impossible to screw up, but then again we all know far too well that someone managed to do just that. But, even with all the admittedly brilliant marketing behind it and the recognition it has already garnered from fans and newcomers alike, does this still hold up given how long we’ve been wanting this film to surface?

Sunday 14 February 2016

Brooklyn (2016) - Movie Review

Along with the better appreciations for the names of directors attached to a film, which has led me to go back through their filmographies in prep for their latest as you’ve probably noticed on this blog already, I have also taken note of specific writers as well. While last year got me to really take note of Mr. Alex Garland, whom I can only hope continues his ride in the director’s chair, it also gave me my first proper exposure to that footy-loving music junkie Nick Hornby. His penned film Wild mainly made my best of the year list thanks to the amazing production qualities of the overall film, but I’d be lying if I said that this guy’s spellbindingly warm writing didn’t factor into it as well. As such, when the posters came in for his latest write-up, it became one of those situations where I knew I’d check it out regardless of my current compulsions. But, even though I fixate on the writing of films far more than I probably should if I want to keep my film buff membership ID card, I still admit that that is only one part of a larger process that is filmmaking. So, even with my affinity for the writer’s work aside, how does today’s film fare?

Friday 12 February 2016

The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty (2013) - Movie Review

Ben Stiller, as a presence in Hollywood, frankly mystifies me. For a person who seems to have as much of an axe to grind on the establishment as he does, he sure spends a lot of his time in patently weaker productions. Sure, it’s as an actor, but it does feel like the game is playing him at times. I mean, the Meet The Parents series took a very steep decline that I can only hope is at its end and the Night At The Museum films, while okay diversions for kids, had way too much L.A. sheen to really buy into why Stiller would sign on for them… aside from the pay packet, of course.

Meanwhile, behind the camera, he’s made films like the epitome of clever filmmaking about dumb characters with Zoolander, the underrated comedic thriller The Cable Guy and let’s not forget his masterpiece as a satirical firebrand with Tropic Thunder. Something tells me that there was a bit of reality-influenced casting that went into his role in last year’s While We’re Young. Anyway, once again as prep for a newly-released film by the same director, time to take a look at his last release.

Monday 8 February 2016

Anomalisa (2016) - Movie Review

While I have talked at length before about the nebulous concept of 'Oscar bait', and how this time of year just before the Oscars is usually the big dumping ground for its ilk around here, I fear I may have misrepresented it just a touch. I have usually attributed that term to what most people consider to be prestige pictures: Period pieces usually dealing with the important social issue of the day; bonus points if it’s set during World War II and/or involves Nazis.

Well, only recently by my own admission, I have realised that there is another type of Oscar bait out there: The over-conceptualised, over-cooked 'thought experiments' that are meant to be challenging but, more times than not, usually end up getting slapped with the 'pretentious' label whether it’s warranted or not. It’s the kind of space that arthouse hacks like Malick occupy. Yeah, I more than acknowledge that I may be in the minority on this, but I will not submit when it comes to how much the Academy unconditionally loves that guy and work that feels even remotely like his. Not to say that the hyper-intellectual type of Oscar bait is inherently bad; after all, Academy favourite Charlie Kaufman well and truly fills that gap and he is easily one of the most fascinating, if not always coherent, cinematic minds still working today. Yeah, time to actually put on that film snob hat for once; would be a shame if I didn’t wear it even once.

Sunday 7 February 2016

Steve Jobs (2016) - Movie Review

I hate Apple. That’s probably a statement that is both echoed frequently and also usually done as a means of drawing aggro, but I stand by it: I hate Apple. And yes, as I type this, I am also checking my emails on my iPhone, so trust me when I say that I understand the hypocrisy that can come with such a statement. From their addition to the effort of homogenizing the entire world, rivalling Starbucks in their ubiquity, to just the sheer audacity of their business model that ultimately only serves to fatten wallets and landfills in equal measure and velocity. But, that’s not to say that I’m going to let any of this filter my opinion of today’s film. I just want to reiterate a point I made back in Citizenfour, where hatred for the original subject shouldn’t translate to insta-hate on part of the film. I may have a real issue with the company that hipsters rally under like beige Lemmings, but I have enough faith in director Danny Boyle and writing legend Aaron Sorkin to portray one of its key figures in a compelling enough fashion. This is Steve Jobs.

Friday 5 February 2016

The Choice (2016) - Movie Review

Like an irritating rash on the collective backside of cinema, Nicholas Sparks always comes back. For some mind-numbingly stupid reason, that I can assume involves some form of green paper, we’ve gone from getting only one adaptation every few years to getting one every year. The fact that two more of these fit within my purview for reviewing only makes that feel worse. I’ve discussed a couple of these on here before, like the head-on collision between hackneyed platitudes about destiny and accidental Freudianism that was The Best Of Me or the bordering-on-parody schlock of The Longest Ride. Given how I haven’t taken the time to check out his one ‘good’ work with The Notebook, I am once again at the point where I can only hope for unintentional comedy as my source of joy for this nearly two-hour piece of work.

Monday 1 February 2016

Spotlight (2016) - Movie Review

Over the last year and a bit that I’ve had this blog, I’ve talked before about people that are quote-unquote "easy targets"; people involved in films that, for one reason or another, it has become perfectly acceptable to mock. Sure, I still have my stable running joke of Jai Courtney being attached to mostly horrible films, but for the most part I am willing to let this kind of mindset go. The reason for that should be made most obvious by today’s film: Director/co-writer Tom McCarthy’s last film was the previously reviewed The Cobbler, a production that some people are still trying to insist is Adam Sandler’s worst film; and the other co-writer Josh Singer’s last effort was the much-maligned The Fifth Estate. Of course, maybe it helps that the above films are usually attributed as being an Adam Sandler and Benedict Cumberbatch film respectfully, meaning that they get the brunt of the blame for them despite the definite reality of things. In any case, now that they have a genuine winner on their hands, it seems like the need for scorn has ended… that is, until the next one comes along and the process starts all over again. Anyway, tangent, I have an actual film to talk about here.