I Heart Huckabees (2004)
After many years of it being on my “Movies to Watch” list I finally got around to watching I Heart Huckabees, and I absolutely loved it. David O.Russell is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time, he has written and directed some of my favorite movies in recent memory (The Fighter, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), and I absolutely love his filmmaking style.
Huckabees is admittedly a pretty weird movie that probably doesn’t appeal to most people but I just loved it. For one it is absolutely original, I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a movie like it. Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin play “Existential Detectives,” that alone should let you know how weird and unique the movie is. The film deals with a lot of themes that are somewhat difficult to understand/appreciate. There plenty of conversations about existentialism, philosophy and the meaning of life, it can get a little heavy but O.Russell did a fantastic job at mixing in humor with some of the heavier themes. I thought the movie was absolutely hilarious, Hoffman’s character in particular always made me laugh when he was onscreen.
The entire cast is amazing, there are so many great actors in this movie (Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Jason Schwartzman, Lily Tomlin, Mark Wahlberg, Naomi Watts) and they all deliver excellent performances. There are even a few scenes with a young Jonah Hill (this was his film debut I believe). I’m surprised the film didn’t do better in the box office with a list of names like this.
I really can’t think of anything I disliked about the movie. With that being said I understand that I Heart Huckabees is not for everyone, but as I mentioned at the start of the review I personally just absolutely loved it. To me it was a beautiful, quirky, creative and refreshingly unique movie that deserves to be seen.
So if you are a fan of fun, original comedies and think that your movie tastes are similar to mine then I absolutely recommend watching this movie. Even if you’re not a big fan of philosophy and things like that, I Heart Huckabees is worth watching for the cast alone. 4.5/5
Jupiter Ascending (2015)
I went to see Jupiter Ascending in theaters today and I have mixed feelings about the movie. For those that don’t know Jupiter Ascending was originally supposed to be released on July of last year but was delayed until February of this year. My expectations for this film were already pretty low. I knew the movie had gotten bad reviews, and honestly I didn’t really know what to make of the films trailer.
I’ll start off by mentioning what I didn’t like about the movie. For one the plot is very hard to follow and extremely convoluted. The film deals a lot with “space politics” and bureaucracy which don’t usually tend to be in these type of large scale films. The dialogue is pretty bad, and even though I like the cast (Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean) I have to say that most of the actor’s performances were too cheesy even for a movie like this. To me the romance between Kunis & Tatum’s characters felt forced, and most of their dialogue felt empty and unnatural. There is a ton of action sequences in the movie, but really for the most part it felt like the filmmakers just wanted action for actions sake. Most of the action sequences didn’t do anything to move the plot along and just served as bright and loud distractions in between plot points.
With that being said, I wouldn’t necessarily say that Jupiter Ascending was a bad movie. Sure there is plenty wrong with it, but there are a few things that I actually liked about the film. For one I really liked some of the theories and ideas presented by the movie, particularly the ones dealing with the origins of humanity and our role in the universe. There are some pretty cool concepts (which is to be expected from the creators of the Matrix trilogy) but in the end the film lacks heart. There was a lot of unnecessary action in my opinion, but I have to say that the film had excellent visuals, and was beautifully shot. It seems to me that the Wachowskis are great at shooting films, and coming up with interesting and unique movie ideas, but they lack a certain something in their movies, they lack that human element that makes characters relateable or appealing. I would really like to see them collaborate with other filmmakers because I do think that they are talented but their last few films have definitely left me expecting more from them.
In the end, Jupiter Ascending looks great, but has no real depth to it. It has bad dialogue, cheesy acting, and a convoluted plot. A part of me still liked it so I would recommend seeing it if you’re a fan of sci-fi, the Wachowskis or are just curious to see what the movie is all about. 2.5/5
I finally got around to watching Birdman, and I can see what all the hype was about. For those that don’t know Birdman is nominated for 9 Academy Awards (which are tomorrow night by the way) and is widely considered to be one of the best movies from 2014.
Right away I was captivated by the films unique and beautiful cinematography. The entire film is shot to look like one long continuous scene (something rarely if ever seen in movies). This is impressive for many reasons, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to shoot some of the longer scenes. One mistake by a single actor or extra and they would have had to re-shoot entire segments of the film. My respects to Alejandro G. Iñárritu and everyone else involved in making the movie.
Cinematography aside, Birdman is an excellent movie for many other reasons. The film deals with a lot of themes including acting (or the process of acting), relationships, the theater, and family. In a way the movie is about a play so it can get a little Meta watching an actor act in a play during a movie. The discussions between some of the characters on acting can be a little dense, but I find that it’s an interesting look inside an actor’s mind. In the film you see that different actors have different methods and motivations for doing what they do.
The cast was fantastic, Emma Stone, Ed Norton and Michael Keaton all delivered excellent performances. I can see why all three of them were nominated for Academy Awards, their nominations are well deserved to say the least. The supporting cast is great as well, with solid performances by Zach Galifianakis, Naomi Watts and Amy Ryan.
There were a few things I disliked about the movie, but honestly they were so small and trivial that they’re not worth mentioning. Overall, Birdman is a fascinating, unique and expertly made film with unbelievable performances by a fantastic cast. If you haven’t seen it already I highly recommend it. 4.5/5