Review : Birdman

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“A washed up actor, who once played an iconic superhero, battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career and himself in the days leading up to the opening of a Broadway play.”

Birdman is the most meta, most ambitious, most well directed and well acted movie I have seen in a very long time. Everything about this movie is done to the highest degree. Everyone here plays their part to perfection, some of them surprisingly so. This is truly a piece of art meant to imitate life and vice versa. The film itself is also shot to look almost entirely like one long, continuous shot that does so much to add to the charm and character of this movie. There is not one single weak link here. As I mentioned before the entire supporting cast is just fantastic, and with the timing that is made to be so much more important as it is both juxtaposed against the play itself and the effect of the continuous shot of the film, and you are never left with a spare second of wasted film. I can’t recommend this movie highly enough. It is truly something unlike anything else you have seen before, and worth it to the very, very end.

Review Score : 10 out of 10

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The Fantastic Four…..Relax

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So the new teaser trailer for the new Fantastic four movie has finally arrived, and of course the internet has gone mad with “facts” and opinions over everything that it showed or didn’t show. Here i am, to inject, hopefully what people will realise to be some clarity to matters. So to get it out of the way, the logo is not in a square and not a circle, boohoo, no ones gives a shit fanboys its the same damn 4, deal. Secondly, the tone of the trailer and what we can assume is the tone of the entire film itself…somber. Now i will be the first to say that one teaser trailer is not enough to definitively say that that is the actual tone of the film, but it is the tone they decided to show us with this first look at their new world. That being said, the general trend in comic book movies right now is that even if we have fantastical elements and characters and plot points, we need to ground the movie in some kind of reality, some kind of realness. I’m pretty sure if some kind of experiment went wrong and i could suddenly stretch my limbs i’d be pretty worried about it at first, which is what i get from the trailer. We have a young group of soon to be heroes here, that maybe, didn’t actually plan on being heroes. Pretty much ever hero ever that has gotten their powers and wasn’t born with them, or made them themselves, took at least a little while to be okay with it, and that is what i think a central idea of this movie is. I am going to address the black flaming elephant in the room i assure you, but i want to deal with everything else first. I must say i very much liked that money shot at the end of the entire team even if it was for like .957 seconds. That however leads to my next point, the uniforms. Jesus Christ people, do you really think that people just have have amazing team uniforms on hand for such emergencies? This is clearly an origins story, and as such it’s a safe bet that uniforms were not at the top of the priorities list of thinks to do upon receiving super powers. So relax, you will probably see the actual uniforms by the end of the movie. The trailer as a trailer however is very well done. Everything is crisp and sharp, we get introduced to all our main players, we have some voice over to future elaborate on the theme and tone of the film, and we get a lot of production value. Finally we have the biggest sticking point, the casting of a black male, to play a character that has always been portrayed as a white male. Now to understand my view on this i need to do some explaining. Firstly, i have absolutely NO PROBLEM with this casting, and here is why. Firstly Michael B Jordan is a great actor, from whom i expect a great performance. Secondly, this casting can only be construed as black washing or whatever the hell you want to call it if the decision to cast said actor in the role was solely to have diversity for diversity sake (which i am against). So why isn’t this that you may ask? But how can a brother and sister be one white one black you may ask? WELL, firstly the race of a character such as this should really only matter when the very fabric of that character is interwoven with his or her race. For example, if the characters of Luke Cage or Black Panther were to be made white, that would be ridiculous, because a very large part of who those characters are, are defined by their being black. Nick Fury can be portrayed by a black man for the same reason that The human torch can be, because race has never been something that defined either character. Black Panther is a tricking african king, that made him the man he is, johnny storm is a boy, with a sister, who becomes the human torch, race had nothing to do with her character development. As long as race wasn’t a building block for everything a character is and stands for, pssshhh do what the hell you want man, just make sure its not diversity for diversity sake and that you cast GOOD actors. And come on, people get adopted every day, there you go, mismatched race siblings. So i hope now some people can calm down and give this a movie a shot to be good, and not make it into a failure before we even ever buy a ticket.

Cheers.

Review : American Sniper

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“Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle’s pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.”

American Sniper is a really good movie, that is one step short of being a great movie. It may or may not be Brady Coopers best work yet, I have yet to decide, but he really is very good here. He does well to manage not just his accent but his mannerisms and his facial expressions to pull of the Texan native. The movie tries to maintain a balance between the Chris Kyle in war, and him at home, and what each does to him over time. The directing here is also very good, but it seems a bit voiceless. Like I understand the image of him that they wish to portray, but if you asked me who I thought directed this movie, I would have no idea. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, just I think it was one of the missing details to push this film a bit higher, like the Black Hawk Downs that have come before it. The other roles in the movie are well acted also, but no one has nearly as much development as the lead, which also isn’t a bad thing, it just makes the story feel a bit more linear. So overall this is a very good movie. Well acted, well directed and solid on all fronts, I don’t however think it’s worth its best picture nomination.

Review Score : 8.5 out of 10

The Death of the “Movie Star”

Yes, the Movie Star is dead, and here’s why, and here’s proof. In years gone by, movies and movie studios could stand on having an okay movie, and knowing that putting a big name Movie Star in the lead role would lead to guaranteed box office returns. However, as the general movie going population has begun ask for more from movies in terms of quality, there has been a sheer drop off in the performance of okay or sub par movies, that have big time talent attached.

The Dark Knight made 530 something million dollars, the dark knight rises made 450 or so million. Right after those movies, Christian Bale made the movie Out of the Furnace, to a whooping 11 million ( which was just half of the budget btw). That movie also had a host of other really good actors in it, and a Bale coming off of just making stupid money.

The Iron Man franchise has made, 585 million, followed by 623 million and finally 1.2 BILLION . The next movie that RDJ made was The Judge, that made a total of 83 million, which while wash’t a bomb, it only just probably broke even and is no where NEAR 1.2 billion.

The two Thor movies to date have made 450 million and 645 million. Chris Hemsworth then made Blackhat which so far has amassed an amazing 11 million so far ( on a 70 million budget no less), which is frankly embarrassing. He also made Rush in between which is a fantastic movie, but that also made a stellar 90 million, which only made the movie profitable because Ron Howard kept the damn budget down to under 40 million.

There are countless more examples of this since the turn of the 2000s, compared to the totally movie star driven movies of the past. We are now firmly in the age of both the smart consumer, and the Brand name era. Marvel movies are a brand name, you here marvel and before you can even reach for it your wallet has already paid for the movie tickets for you. People hear the name Christopher Nolan and certain other directors or production houses and see that as a stamp of quality, and a giving of the benefit of the doubt. We no longer think that simply a big name leading man is enough to guarantee that, and we are right to think that. Each year that passes the average movie goer gets more and more in tune with what is and what isn’t good, and they will mercilessly destroy your film by not seeing it. Yes you can have your favourite actors, but always remember good actors make bad movies too.

Review : Whiplash

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“A promising young drummer enrolls at a cutthroat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.”

What does it take, to truly be great? That’s really the over arching theme here, and between the loss and the sacrifice and sheer determination, we get a glimpse into what it really must take, to stamp out a place in history. This is a movie without a weak spot honestly. The acting is incredible, the pacing is perfect, the directing is brilliant and the story is totally captivating. If this movie makes any mistakes i have yet to see them. This is a story about one man’s desire to become more than himself, to transcend the bounds of this mortal coil, so that one day 90 years from now his name might be part of casual conversation. It is also the story of one man’s plight, to be burdened with such purpose to find the next true great. These two men collide on an ever downward spiralling trust into either genius or madness. Whiplash is a movie worth it all.

Review Score : 10 out of 10

Review : The Wedding Ringer

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“Two weeks shy of his wedding, a socially awkward guy enters into a charade by hiring the owner of a company that provides best men for grooms in need.”

Amidst a somewhat predictable plot ( or at least one that you can see clearly where want to go even if they didn’t want you to know), there are some really belly hurt laughs to be had in this movie. The real star here too is the chemistry between all the parts of this movie. Kevin Hart and his little band of brothers here are all really, really funny, and for once Josh Gad doesn’t just look like a creeper. Sorry ladies yuh boy Olaf, has a real creeper face, but in this movie he plays his part really well and every character on a whole is really used to their potential. This is one of those movies, where before you go into the cinema you might a bit worried, that maybe this will a too run of the mill role for Kevin Hart, but he really does a great job here. Not all of the heart warming parts seem genuine, but the movie does well to know when some of them are getting a bit off the rails and quickly jumps the comedy level back up. This really is a good start for comedies for the year, and if you don’t get some laughs from the grooms men group, then you’re probably dead inside.

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Oscar Reaction

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Firstly, thank God they didn’t snub the hell out of The Grand Budapest Hotel. On to the real meat however, and that’s who’s here that shouldn’t be and who’s missing.

Best Picture :

Not too bad here, a bit surprised to see such a surge for American Sniper, but overall would have liked to see a nom for Gone Girl

Best Actor :

Where the hell is Jake Gyllenhaal, like seriously….really. I’m surprised to see that Steve Carell got himself in here, his performance in Foxcatcher is very very good, i just thought the movie on a whole would have been some what over looked. Oh and where did this nomination for Marion Cotillard come from?

Best supporting Actor :

At this point it’s clear that Meryl Streep just gets Oscar nominations for rolling out of bed.

Best Director :

There are some weird ones in here. The director of The Imitation Game Morten Tyldum…why? There were at least two other directors that should have been in here instead like , Ava DuVernay for Selma and David Fincher for Gone Girl.

Best Animated :

This is where we have the probably the biggest surprise of the bunch, and that’s the UN-inclusion of The Lego Movie. Now while i do think that How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a superior movie and should win the award, i definitely think that The Lego Movie should have been nominated. It was even considered the front runner to win this award, ¬†much to my annoyance.

That’s all i’m going to get into now, i will however be posting an entire awards prediction, so we can see if i know anything at all about movies, or at the very least what the academy likes and doesn’t like.