Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 2015 Update

Below are my movie watchings for June. I have supplied bite-sized reviews for new films, and quick ratings for older ones.The ratings are based on a 5-Star system.
I hope you enjoy!

Jurassic World
This movie is chocked-full with enough 'Disney-esque' theme park flourishes, dinosaur mayhem, and Jurassic Park homages to satisfy me as a fan. And yet, it is also equipped with fluid snowball pacing, non-annoying kid actors, thrilling action, and an ever-present allegory of marketing vs. nature to satisfy me as a film fan. It may lack the dignity and awe of the original, but this movie makes it up with glee and earnestness. World gets right down to business and embraces its King Kong monster movie origins. There are script misfires, but they aren't enough to deter me from having a blast at the cinema!

Inside Out
Here's yet another home run for Pixar. From the director of Monster's Inc. and Up, comes a perfect hybrid: using the emotional heft of the latter, packaged into an imaginative new world like the former. Personifying the feelings inside ourselves is not a new idea, but in classic Pixar style, it's all about the details in their vision. The world mechanics that they have conceived and designed are an absolute joy to experience. Each scene peels back a new layer as you delve deeper into the depths of the mind. Although the visuals are fairly simple and not as notable as the kinetic action of Cars 2, or the beauty of Brave, this is nevertheless a significantly higher quality film than than those recent failures. Pixar is back!

Love & Mercy
This is the life story of Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys; and like the oddball himself, this film is formatted in a way that separates it from the more conventional biopics. Divided yet complimentary halves are juxtaposed to show his musically prodigious beginnings against his years under 'house arrest' as a paranoid schizophrenic. Both sets are equally fascinating thanks to Paul Dano's spacey portrayal of a musical genius in his prime, and John Cusack's neurotic performance in the later years. We wind up with a perfect mix of sad and unfortunate, yet decidedly celebratory moments. The highlights are the personal scenes with Dano in the music studio as we intimately watch Wilson's musical creations come to life; thanks in large part to some nostalgic photography and outstanding (ought to be award-winning) sound design throughout. Minus 0.5 for being a biopic though.

Exactly what it needs to be: an honest and endearing sports movie. Complete with the necessary tear-shedding inspirational ending. Kevin Costner embodies the perfect down on his luck fatherly figure who can inspire anyone to get to their full potential. Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!

Fifty Shades of Grey
A moderately compelling romance of 'hard to get' and 'give and take' flirtations. It has moments that are cheesy enough to snicker at, but too serious to be a good lark. The actor in portrayal of Mr. Grey is one of the weaker points, with his quasi brooding/creeping moods. He never quite becomes a believable human character. Another mis-step is the cinematography and camera work. We start off with a beautifully shot opening credits, but that type of care and framing is rarely seen again. The image above demonstrates an interesting shot with muted colours, but this isn't even from the movie, it's a fan photo. Instead, we get soap opera type indoor lighting and unbearable slo-mo shots. The pop soundtrack is quality though!

Jupiter Ascending
Silly. There may be a full mythology built up, but just because it is thorough doesn't mean that it is engrossing. Movies like Star Wars, District 9, Minority Report and even the new Mad Max created such interesting worlds, but they also ensured that their films have characters that have inhabited said worlds for a long time. Jupiter feels like the characters were just, well...'characters' plucked out of thin air for the purpose of perpetuating events in this mythology. Perhaps it lies in the fault of the horrible performances of the three main actors. Good title and art direction throughout saves this from being a total disaster though.

The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) 4
A Night to Remember (1958) 5
The Killer (1989) 2.5
Glory (1989) 4.5
The Proposal (2009) 0.5
Magic in the Moonlight (2014) 2.5
Spring (2015) 3

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