Monday, June 1, 2015

May 2015 Update

Below are my movie watchings for May. 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!

Mad Max: Fury Road
An aggressively entertaining bonkers of a movie. We follow our hero and his vehicular chase for freedom across a desolate post-apocalyptic world. Yet despite this landscape, this is a film brimming with life. A film like no other. It reminded of the feeling when I first saw Sin City or 300, and how they are truly unique cinematic beasts; scintillating visual experiences (yes, despite the fact that these are all remakes or comic-book adaptations). Fury Road is a movie filled on adrenaline and full of macabre humour, imaginative visuals and RedBull infused pulse pounding action. The trailer is a perfect microcosm: just picture that for nearly 2 hours! A must see for film fans and a breath of fresh air for the cinematic landscape.

Ex Machina
Intellectual but not overly entertaining or thrilling. Instead, this film chooses to probe the depths of science-fiction in its truest form: hypothesizing about advanced science and its relation to humanity. The lack of thrill or gripping storytelling isn't a problem, but it doesn't lead to very satisfying arc in 'movie terms'. It would make for a better essay or short-story than a film. However, I still highly recommend Ex Machina. It has impressive low budget effects, solid acting, enough 'thinking' material and a fantastic time playing with perception.

It's about great ideas and themes, but it talks at you instead of using the medium of film to show. Brad Bird has been a master visual storyteller, and can tell you tons through his action. But the script for this movie isn't very subtle and removes Bird's voice, making way for muddled tossed-off speeches and childlike banter. He at least gets in a couple of great action scenes as well as a miraculous and impressive single-take exploration of the titular land. Yet the uneven script leads to the issue of who this movie is for? The themes and explanations are too dry and complicated for kids and much of the banter and 'adventures' are for a younger crowd. At least there are plenty of retro Disneyland references as fan-service for me.

Black Hat
(Yawn) What is Michael Mann doing? He used to bring us some of the best and most exciting mature thrillers. Now this Cyber-hacker convoluted 'thriller' that seems like it was written in the 90s. Films like this are a plague on the cinemas: the adult crime thriller that has no ambition or any intention of being anything but capable or adequate. Never aspiring to be anything outstanding. A story that is hardly gripping and an incredibly dull lead from Chris Hemsworth. Just a few Michael Mann moments in the climax that help save this from being a total dud.

Alright, one positive assessment: Paul Bettany is fun. Other than that, these are the thoughts that bored through my mind while watching this. Who is this movie intended for? Have they seen The Pink Panther? Poor Peter Sellers. This makes Steve Martin's Panther look good. Are these jokes? What is going on? What's with these location title cards? Why is this scene necessary? Why is THIS scene necessary? Oh hey, it's Jeff Goldblum! Yay! Are these supposed to be jokes? I think I'm watching inside jokes - Is the whole movie an inside joke that we just don't get?

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) 4
Detour (1945) 2
Pillow Talk (1959) 2.5
Children of the Damned (1964) 2.5
Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) 5
Five Million Years to Earth (1967) 3
The Great Train Robbery (1978) 3.5
Jaws 2 (1978) 2
The China Syndrome (1979) 4.5
Footloose (1984) 3.5
Big Eyes (2014) 3.5
The Gambler (2014) 2.5
Life Itself (2014) 5
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) 3
Wild (2014) 4
'71 (2015) 4
Black Sea (2015) 3

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