Saturday, June 28, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2

At first, I had no idea what movie I wanted to see this weekend. All I knew was there was no way in hell I was going to sit through another Transformers movie. Having a root canal done would be more fun. Anyway, I finally decided to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 since it looked really good and I've already seen most of the other movies that are out in theaters right now. It's getting a lot of positive reviews and I can see why.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 takes place five years after the events of the first film. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless discover an ice cave that is home to hundreds of wild dragons and a mysterious Dragon Rider who ends up being Hiccup's long presumed dead mother Valka (Cate Blanchett). Soon they find themselves in a battle to change the future of both humans and dragons.

What you'll notice right away is just how gorgeous the animation is, especially during the flying sequences. I also loved how much detail they put into the look of the dragons as well as the human characters. This is the perfect movie to see in 3D. Unfortunately, the theater I went to was only showing it in 3D for the early matinees. So I ended up at a 2D showing. Don't worry though. If you see it in 2D I can assure you it still looks good.

The story itself has a few more mature themes which was interesting to see. It's one of those movies that both kids and adults can enjoy.

The only thing I didn't like (and this really isn't a big complaint) was that the movie went by way too fast. I was in and out of the theater in less than two hours, and that included all the trailers they showed before it. I wish they had slowed down a bit and taken their time with certain scenes.

Overall, this is one of the better movies out right now. Is it as good as the first movie? Honestly, yes and no. Still, go see it if you get a chance. You won't regret it.

My Rating: 8/10

Saturday, June 14, 2014

22 Jump Street

I'm usually not crazy about the idea of remakes. Hollywood seems to have run out of original ideas years ago. So when the 21 Jump Street movie came out 2 years ago, I didn't see it in theaters. But then I cam across it on TV and thought, "Wow! This is really funny." So now that they've released 22 Jump Street, I made sure to see it on opening night. I'm glad I did see it since it was hilarious! After seeing The Fault in Our Stars last week, I was in desperate need of a comedy.

22 Jump Street has essentially the same plot as the first movie. Only this time instead of going undercover in high school, Jenko (Channing Tatum) and Schmidt (Jonah Hill) are going to college.

What I love about what directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who also directed 21 Jump Street as well as The Lego Movie, another movie which I really enjoyed) have done here is that they don't pretend that this movie is serious or award worthy. It's very much self aware. They make fun of themselves, the original TV show, and even the previous movie. For me, that's what made this so funny and clever. Be sure to stay for the credits. Without giving too much away, it's a brilliant sequence with some surprise cameos.

Another thing I loved about this was Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill. Looking at the two of them you think, "How the hell is this going to work?" But it does! They have great chemistry and you can tell they're friends in real life. They looked like they were having a blast while filming. I would love it if they made more movies together. Maybe 23 Jump Street? We can only hope.

Look, 22 Jump Street is not a perfect movie. A few, and only a few, of the jokes fall flat but so what? I had a great time watching this and I think you will too. I'd say it's the funniest movie I've seen this year. If you liked the first movie then you'll LOVE this one.

My Rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars

Let me start off this review by saying thank god for waterproof mascara! I haven't cried this much over a movie in a long time. Wow! Words can't even begin to describe just how amazing The Fault in Our Stars is. I'll do my best though.

The movie is based on a popular YA book written by John Green. I haven't read it yet so I apologize if I mess anything up. From what I've heard though, it's a pretty faithful adaptation. Hazel is a 16 year old cancer patient who's pretty much forced by her parents (Laura Dern & Sam Trammell) to attend a cancer support group. There she meets Gus (Ansel Elgort) an amputee whose cancer is in remission. He's very charming, funny, and (despite everything that's happened to him) has a great outlook. They start spending more and more time together and eventually fall in love.

Director Josh Boone does an outstanding job bringing this story to life. Yes it's a romantic drama but, unlike most movies that fall into this category these days, the dialog never felt cheesy and the scenes weren't sappy. It was really sweet yet heartbreaking at the same time. It felt real. They never shyed away from the fact that these two are both dealing with a terminal illness and that their time together will probably be short. I was such a mess throughout the whole movie, as was everyone else in the theater. You could hear all the sniffles. Thankfully there's quite a bit of humor spread throughout. There'd be times where I'd be sobbing uncontrollably and then they tossed something funny in so I was doing this weird combination of crying and laughing.

Another thing I give the director a lot of credit for is getting such powerful performances out of the actors, especially Shailene and Ansel. The two of them actually played brother and sister in Divergent so it was a little odd at first but you quickly forget about that and you really believe they're a couple.

I thought the soundtrack was really nice and fit well with the movie.

I honestly can't think of a single flaw this movie has. It's one of my favorites this year so far. I highly recommend it, but make sure you bring tissues.

Nicholas Sparks movies take note- this is how you do a romantic drama!

My Rating: 10/10

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Maleficent (IMAX 3D)

I think it's great that they've been doing a lot of fairy tale retellings lately. I've always loved the idea. Even though most people hated it, I enjoyed Snow White & the Huntsman (although I'm sure a lot of that has to do with Chris Hemsworth hehe). So when I heard they were doing Maleficent and had casted Angelina Jolie I was very excited. Now that I've finally seen it I must say that while I enjoyed parts of it, there were other parts where I felt really let down.

We all know the story of Sleeping Beauty, so I really don't have to talk about the plot too much. This time, as you've probably heard, it's told from the point of view of the "villain" Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). What I really loved about this movie was they gave her an interesting back story that explains how she became the Maleficent that we all know. Unfortunately this all occurs in the first half. The second half had a lot of issues for me. Not that it was completely terrible, I just didn't care for it. Especially towards the very end.


All I'll say is they totally ripped off the Frozen ending. There was even a moment where they ripped off Die Hard. I couldn't help but laugh.


I will give director Robert Stromberg a lot of credit though. Considering this was his first time directing I think he did a good job. His previous experience with movies was mainly in visual effects. That to me was one of Maleficent's greatest strengths. The whole movie looked stunning. Especially the fairy world.

That being said, you would think a movie like this would look great in IMAX and/or 3D. Sadly that's not the case. The 3D is hardly noticeable overall and seeing it on an IMAX screen doesn't add much to the experience. If you plan on seeing this in theaters, 2D is the way to go. Save yourself the extra money.

Angelina Jolie was amazing as Maleficent. She really captured the character well and I can't imagine anyone else playing the role. The rest of the actors, including Elle Fanning as Princess Aurora, aren't really fleshed out well. Which is understandable given that this movie is mainly told from Maleficent's point of view. It still would've been nice to see though. I thought Sharlto Copley (who I think is a great actor and was really good as the villain in Elysium) as King Stefan was way too over the top.

Overall, there were some good things and not so good things about Maleficent. Is it worth seeing? Sure why not. And if there are any parents out there that want to take their kids to see it go right ahead. It's certainly a lot better than most of the crap aimed towards kids these days.

My Rating: 6.5/10