Sunday, December 10, 2017

Loving Vincent

Plot:
Made entirely using oil paint animation. A man goes to the hometown of Vincent Van Gogh to deliver the artist’s final letter. Also delves into the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. 

Pros:
•I’ve been wanting to see this movie for a long time and it didn’t disappoint. Wow!! This is one of the most beautiful, unique, and fascinating movies I’ve ever seen. 
•Over 100 artists work tirelessly for years to bring this movie to life and I really hope they get recognized during award season. They did an amazing job. I really felt like I was seeing things the way Van Gogh so them. 
•The story of Van Gogh is so fascinating and tragic. What I love about this movie is they don’t try and give you an exact explanation to what really happened. Did he commit suicide? Was he bullied and then murdered? Who knows. You get insight from various characters and can draw your own conclusions. 
•Wonderful cast. I assumed it would be actors providing voices or maybe some motion capture but from what I heard they shot this as live action and then painted over it. Makes it even more impressive. 
•If you’re a fan of Van Gogh or just of animation in general then you’re going to love this movie. I highly recommend it. 

Cons:
•Nothing that really affects my rating. A few moments in the beginning where I felt the story wasn’t quite as strong but that’s about it. 

My Rating: 10/10

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Disaster Artist

Plot:
Based on the book of the same name. Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), an aspiring actor, meets the mysterious Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) at an acting class. A friendship forms and eventually the two of them end up making what many consider the best bad movie of all time- The Room. 

Pros:
•I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a long time. The Room itself is bizarrely fascinating but just as fascinating is the making of it. I haven’t read The Disaster Artist yet, although after seeing this movie I definitely plan on ordering a copy. This stands a good chance of making my top ten list. I had a blast! 
•You can tell how huge of a fan James Franco is of The Room. Very much a passion project. At first I was worried his portrayal of Tommy would come off as just a bad impression but it totally didn’t. And he doesn’t shy away from showing you the really shitty things Tommy did (and from what I’ve read there was even more that wasn’t shown here). 
•It’s also a very interesting look at just how hard it is to make it in Hollywood. 
•So many funny moments! I’d call this more of a dramedy though. 
•While James Franco does a great job, The one that really stood out was his brother Dave. He was amazing as Greg. 
•So much attention to detail. I’m not spoiling anything by telling you this but during the credits they do side by side comparisons showing you a few of the classic moments from the actual movie and the ones they recreated here. They totally nailed it from the props right down to the exact same wardrobe. 
•If you’re a fan of The Room (and if you’re interested in this movie you probably already are) you’re going to love The Disaster Artist. 

Cons:
•A few minor issues with the pacing and editing in a few spots but nothing that should stop you from seeing the movie. 

My Rating: 9/10

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Jane

Plot:
Documentary about the life and career of Jane Goodall and her groundbreaking work in the study of chimpanzees. 

Pros:
•I had known about Jane Goodall before, but this movie really gives you insight into just how important her work has been over the years. She really is a remarkable woman. 
•They recently discovered hundreds of hours of footage from the early years of Jane’s work and this is mostly what this movie is made up of. It holds up really well I must say. There’s a very beautiful quality to it that only film can have. 
•So many adorable animals! 
•Impressive sound mixing/editing especially when it comes to the scenes with all the chimpanzees. You really feel like you’re there. 

Cons:
•Just to warm you, this movie does feature animals getting sick and dying. I tend to avoid any movie involving animals for this reason. Luckily they don’t linger on these moments for very long. 
•They really hit you over the head with symbolism in certain scenes. I kept thinking, is this really necessary?
•Could’ve use just a little bit tighter editing. 

My Rating: 8/10

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Plot:
When Steven (Colin Farrell), a surgeon, takes a young teenage boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan) under his wing his life quickly begins to fall apart. 

Pros:
•I’ll give director Yorgos Lanthimos credit, his movies certainly are unique. He also directed The Lobster, a movie I didn’t particularly care for even though I thought it was well made and well acted. I just didn’t like the tone. Anyway, I have to say for the most part I liked this one much better. I’m a big fan of psychological thrillers and movies that bring up big moral dilemmas. 
•Like The Lobster, all of the characters speak in very monotone voices throughout the whole movie. There were maybe two or three moments where anyone showed any real emotion and even then it was VERY brief. And the random things they would talk about. Very odd and at times inappropriate. Definitely got some awkward laughs. A lot of people are going to hate this about the movie but it didn’t bother me. 
•Intriguing story (which was also written by the director I believe) that kept my attention the whole time. 
•I’ve liked most things I’ve seen Colin Farrell in and I thought he and Nicole Kidman were great in this. 
•The real performance that is sticking out to me is Barry Keoghan. Last thing I saw him in was Dunkirk and that role couldn’t have been more different that what he does here. In this movie he plays a very disturbed young man. They never tell you specifically but if I were to guess his character has some form of Aspergers. He really nails this down to the tiniest detail. Very believable. 
•The muted color tones (make no mistake though, it’s not totally devoid of colors. This isn’t a Zack Snyder film.) fit perfectly with the tone they were going for. 
•Kudos to the make up department for their amazing work. This isn’t really a spoiler because they talk about it in the trailer but there’s a scene where a character’s eyes are bleeding. It looked so real that you could swear they must’ve really done something to their eyes. 

Cons:
•Extremely slow paced and while for the most part I was fine with it, there were times towards the end where it had me saying, “Okay that’s enough. Let’s start wrapping this up.”
•The overpowering score. It didn’t happen too often but in some scenes they would play this very loud combination of violin, piano, and what sounded like a moving train. It would drown out the dialogue and I couldn’t understand what characters were saying. 

My Rating: 8/10

Friday, November 24, 2017

Coco

Plot:
Despite his family’s ban on music, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of being a musician just like his famous great great Grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz. Following a chain of events, he winds up in The Land of the Dead where he discovers the truth behind his family’s history. 

Pros:
•Pixar has done it again! I absolutely loved this movie. Such a well written story with a strong message about family. It’s been a long time since I movie made me cry like this (I mean full on sobbing. There’s been a few movies that made me teary eyed). I mean that in a good way of course. 
•Going into this I was a little worried that it would just be your typical Mexican stereotypes but it wasn’t. It was all very respectful and kudos to the entire team behind this for doing their research. I feel like they really nailed down Mexican culture right down to the tiniest detail. 
•Some of the most gorgeous animation I’ve seen in awhile. So many bright colors and again, the attention to detail... wow!!
•All the actors they got to do the voices did a great job. Especially the little boy that voiced Miguel. 
•Not as predictable as you might think. 
•What I love about most Pixar movies is that they appeal not only to kids but to adults as well. At my screening there were way more adults than kids. 
•It’s going to be so hard to make my top ten list this year. One things for sure, I will be including Coco on it. 

Cons:
•This has nothing to do with the movie itself and in no way changes my rating. Coco is a flawless movie in my opinion. I just have to mention what everyone is talking about- the 20 minute (yes, you read that right) Olaf short they showed before the movie. Now I love Frozen and don’t necessarily hate this short. It was actually kind of cute at times. But there was absolutely no need to show this in front of the movie, especially when you’ve already got a million trailers as well. This belongs on tv (in fact I swear I’ve already seen this on tv last year at this time). What were you thinking Disney?!? Stick to the usual 5-8 minute shorts next time. 

My Rating: 10/10

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Plot:
A look at the life of author A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) who got the inspiration to create the Winnie the Pooh series from his son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston as a child, Alex Lawther as an adult). 

Pros:
•Like many others, I grew up absolutely loving Winnie the Pooh (and still do). I’ll admit though, I didn’t know too much about the author and the story behind the books other than the fact that the real Christopher Robin grew up to resent his father for everything. It’s an interesting story and I’m glad it’s finally being told. 
•I thought Domhnall Gleeson gave a good and convincing performance as someone coming back from war and suffering severe PTSD. I really wish the movie had delved further into this issue. 
•The real star of the movie for me was Will Tilston. Such a terrific actor already at such a young age.  His performance was so heartbreaking as you watch the consequences of all this fame being thrusted upon this little boy and the price he pays. He and Gleeson were great together in all of their scenes. As well as Kelly Macdonald, who plays Christopher’s nanny Olive. 
•Very emotional. You’re bound to cry more than once watching this. I know I did. 
•Beautiful cinematography. 

Cons:
•I feel like the movie could’ve benefited from being a little bit longer. Certain parts of the story felt too rushed. 
•I like Margot Robbie in some things (especially in a movie I saw recently called I, Tonya) but I didn’t care for her here. Her character was underdeveloped and honestly a real bitch at times. From what I’ve hear though, that’s how Christopher’s mother was in real life. 

My Rating: 8/10

Friday, November 17, 2017

Justice League (IMAX)

SPOILER ALERT: 
Even though I don’t consider anything in my review a spoiler since it was either in the trailers or fairly common knowledge, I’m putting this up just in case. You’ve been warned. 

Plot:
 Following the events of Batman v. Superman, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Godot) put together a team including Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) in order to stop Steppenwolf (CiarĂ¡n Hinds)- who is sent by Darkseid to find three artifacts hidden on Earth. 

Pros:
•It was better than Batman v. Superman. Not that that was a hard thing to do. 
•You can tell where Joss Whedon took over. That’s definitely a good thing. For one, the story becomes more cohesive and actually slows down, taking the time to develop the characters and their formation as a believable team. Also, there’s finally some humor. And one more thing- COLOR!!! 
•The one thing I liked about Batman v. Superman was Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I still like him here. Interesting take on the character. 
•Speaking of Batman, I really enjoyed the ‘89 Batman vibe I got from some of the scenes. Right down to the score (they brought Danny Elfman onboard so it makes sense). 
•I’ll give Snyder this much, he is good with visuals for the most part. And there were some kick ass action scenes. I just wish he would tone it the fuck down sometimes (more on that in a bit) 
•SUPERMAN!!!!!
•Trimmed things down to a two hour run time. 
•They pulled a Marvel so be sure to stay through the entire credits. There’s two scenes, one of which I thought was pretty funny. Again that Whedon humor that I really like. 
•DC has a long way to go but this and Wonder Woman are a step in the right direction. 
•Jason Mamoa actually made a good Aquaman. You could tell he was having a blast. Ezra Miller as the Flash as well. 
•Looks good on an IMAX screen. 


Cons:
•The first part of this was definitely all Snyder. I was watching it and at times I was thinking, “Oh fuck, here we go again!”. He clearly doesn’t understand the concept of superheroes. And he goes insane with the CGI. It is CGI overload at times. So much that it was hard to make out what was happening in certain scenes. 
•Snyder also needs to stop writing and stick to visuals. There is dialogue in this that is some of the worst and cheesiest I’ve seen in a long time. 
•Terrible villain. 

My Rating: 7/10