Archive for August, 2014

If you’re a sixteen year old boy and you want to score on your first date, you take your possible girlfriend to The Fault In Our Stars and shed a tear or two at the end. A guaranteed score! You most likely won’t have to pretend, because it IS a sad story and the acting of the characters is touching. However, it’s still a (young adult) chick flick filled with a lot of obvious clichés.

It does have its merits though. It’s an indie movie for the masses, with an indie soundtrack of course and two unknown, average but good-looking leads who aren’t quite the antiheroes the director would love them to be, but still deliver. The ‘original’ aspect of this romantic teen drama is the fact that both are cancer patients. They share the same experiences and emotions. It makes them bond. They meet in a council group and start hanging out, discussing life (and death) and go on an adventure that will bring them even closer.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter so much that they are sick. It’s really just a story about a boy and girl who meet and fall in love. And that just isn’t enough for a great movie. They meet, fall in love and stay in love. Boring! Okay, it’s based on a popular novel written for young people and the producers didn’t want to change too much to the story, but as an adult you kind of expect more sarcasm, more frustration, more doubts and less cheesiness. And the adventure is just a promo clip for the specific destination.

I have lost two dear friends to cancer, yet this story didn’t touch me as much as I hoped it would. I blame the age. It’s sad really, because it’s not a bad movie at all.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2582846

Overall, this is an overrated, boring, silly, camp and overly colorful musical. But it has a few interesting dancing scenes, some memorable songs and it stars Gene Kelly, the greatest entertainer of all time. Hey, even the straightest man would turn gay for this guy, especially if you see him alongside the (very) unattractive Leslie Caron.

Okay, she’s a good dancer, but she’s not pretty and she can’t act. She has zero charm and can’t seem to make her character interesting. She’s even able to make you dislike Gene Kelly’s character for falling for her.

‘s Wonderful. ‘s Marvellous. ‘s NOT.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0043278

At age 40 it still gives pleasure to watch the original Star Wars trilogy. For the first time on Blu-Ray.

Sure, it’s corny and The Return of the Jedi doesn’t quite deserve ***, but A New Hope (***1/2) and The Empire Strikes Back (***) definitely do. The magic is gone, the secrets are revealed, the background of the characters are defined, the special effects are dated, the alien creatures are ridiculously animated, so all that is left are the funny one liners by Han Solo, the eternally awesome light saber fights, the immortal lines of Darth Vader, the magnificent soundtrack, the charming but awkward acting of Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill and the hilarious antics of RD2D & C-3PO…

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes was a pleasant surprise three years ago. Dawn of the Planet Of The Apes isn’t so surprising anymore and ultimately disappoints. It’s a depressing war movie with the clear message that you can’t trust anybody and that you weaken yourself when you do. It’s great to see an action summer blockbuster with a message, but why does it have to be so gloomy? It takes away all the fun. There are already too many war conflicts and virus outbreaks going on in the world as we speak.

A decade after a virus killed off the majority of mankind and enhanced the intellect of primates, there are still several places on earth where humans survive. One of them is in San Francisco, where the survivors in a quarantined area are running out of fuel. The only solution is to restore a power plant near a dam up north in the territory of the primates. Caesar, a chimp raised by humans, is the leader of the primates and does not want war. But not all primates think the same. If the humans get electricity, they will get stronger and ultimately destroy the primate colony. The humans are already preparing for an attack in case the friendly expedition to restart the power generator in the forests turns out sour. And also within the primate colony some defy the leadership of Caesar, who is believed to be too attached to the humans.

The first movie in this trilogy makes you root for the primates, often mistreated by the humans. This time around you’re rooting more for the humans as they are the underdog now. With their internal fights, the apes aren’t any better than the humans. Which is also the conclusion of Caesar at one point in the movie. And that’s sad, because in the end, you should want the apes to win.

It’s a thrill ride though. The CGI effects may not always be that convincing, but it’s a hoot to see the primates swing through the forests and the apocalyptic ruins of San Francisco. The set designers should get an Academy Award and while we are at it, so should Andy Serkis, whose facial expressions make Caesar look really real. The most interesting character however is the anti-hero turned villain Koba, who has the best, the funniest and most upsetting scenes. Having been tested and scarred by humans he is out for revenge and plays the human game masterfully. Too bad he turns out to be just plain evil.

The third installment will deal around a full on war between the apes and humans. They will win, because hey, this trilogy tells the story of the Planet of the Apes, so it’s going to be interesting to see how they will make it entertaining enough to sit through.

www.imdb.com/title/tt2103281

Magic In The Moonlight – *1/2

Posted: August 11, 2014 in 2014, romcom, USA, X1/2

Another unremarkable Woody Allen.

There are a few funny quotes again, but the plot itself is silly. It’s a romantic comedy set in the late twenties about a rational magician who is asked to observe a psychic medium and declare her a fraud. It doesn’t take long for the skeptical scientist/illusionist to fall for the charms and talents of this medium, so much so that he actually falls in love with her or as ‘irrationally positive feelings towards her’ as he expresses it in one of the funnier moments.

Cole Porter’s ‘You Do Something To Me’ is heard throughout the movie. However this movie didn’t do anything for me. A nice evening out at the movies followed by talking about anything but this movie five minutes after the end credits.

Colin Firth is good though.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2870756

Noah – 1/2

Posted: August 7, 2014 in 1/2, 2014, Adventure, Disaster, Fantasy, Historical, USA

If it weren’t for my upset stomach, I would have fallen asleep after half an hour. What a load of crap.

Noah gets a vision from the Creator (let’s not call him God) that he should build an ark and save the animal species (and some plants too) from extinction. There’s a flood coming and all human kind will die. Yeah!

Enter Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel who wrote a movie script based on this well-known biblical tale (which even atheists must have heard about at least once in their life). They add some giant rock creatures to help Noah build his ark and protect him from the evil descendants of Cain who came to rule the earth and they  depict the flood-defier as some lunatic man on a mission ready to kill his granddaughters because they could pro-create, hence repopulating this planet with humans again once the flood was over.

But hey, we’re still here. So he didn’t kill his grand daughters!

There is absolutely NO tension in this movie at all. The action is boring. The special effects are ridiculous. The acting is more like rehearsing for a school play. The way the gorgeous and talented Emma Watson expresses her joy of being pregnant would be slammed by any acting teacher. DRAMA!

This movie makes me appreciate season 2 of Game Of Thrones much more. At least that fantasy show looks good. This just doesn’t.

The building of the ark is one of those cool stories from the bible which appeals to many of its readers. Even the critical ones. It’s apocalyptic and it has all these animals! It makes you wonder why the animals didn’t kill each other during the flood or why there weren’t any native americans, blacks or asians on board of the vessel. Sure it’s all a fairy tale retold over and over again from the Greeks to the Jews to the Christians to the Muslims. But it’s an important one. Read the book of genesis (for children) and fill in the gaps with your own fantasy. Skip this interpretation.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959490

 

 

The first season of Game Of Thrones intrigued, the second season is annoying and even boring by the end. There are just too many characters and too many story lines and nobody to empathize with. Hey, there’s not even anyone to despise more than the others. It’s all bland and superficial and a waste of talent. It does not make you look forward to the next seasons. Who cares who’s on the throne? None deserves it anyways.

It’s amazing how many followers this show has. Sure, the lavish set designs and ultra cool costumes are something to keep staring at, and there is a lot of female nudity, which may appeal to a lot of fantasy porn nerds. But the action scenes aren’t all that impressive and there is still little humor. However, if a show that is based on medieval fairy tales and royal legends starts having zombies coming for an attack, than there is something really wrong.

www.imdb.com/title/tt0944947