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
I finally got around to watching The Interview (it’s now on Netflix btw), and it was pretty much what I expected. It’s a pretty funny movie, but it’s nothing extraordinary. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the film’s release, and honestly I think it was all blown out of proportion. This is a comedy after all, the political issues definitely take a back seat to the silly jokes and gags in the film.
The movie was funny, but I wouldn’t put it in the same category as Superbad or the Pineapple Express. The film had its moments, and I did laugh multiple times, but overall the jokes were nothing special. Basically, it made me laugh, but it wasn’t anything I hadn’t seen before.
Seth Rogen and James Franco as always have fabulous chemistry on screen. These weren’t necessarily the best or the funniest characters that they’ve portrayed together, but their friendship in the movie is actually pretty heartwarming.
The movie’s plot was pretty straightforward, there were no real surprises or plot twists, I already knew what was going to happen, I just wanted to actually see it take place.
I wish they could have gotten more out of the supporting characters, but I really did enjoy the celebrity cameos early on in the film.
Overall, The Interview is a funny movie that is good, but not great in any single area. If you’re a fan of Seth Rogen & James Franco’s previous work then I’d definitely recommend it, but I know this isn’t the type of movie that will appeal to a broad audience. (3.5/5)
How to Train Your Dragon 2
I watched How to Train Your Dragon 2 at home this week and I loved it. I really can’t remember why I didn’t get around to watching in theaters last year, but I’m glad I finally caught it. I really enjoyed the first film, it is one of the best non-Pixar animated movies that I have ever seen. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is even better than the first one, it keeps all the good things from the first film and improves many aspects as well. The film has some of the best visuals I have ever seen in an animated film, the animators really did a fantastic job creating all the environments and landscapes. There are more than a handful of beautiful scenes of dragons flying in the sky in front of beautiful backgrounds.
The voice-acting is excellent with huge start like Jonah Hill, Gerard Butler and Cate Blanchett doing excellent jobs in bringing their characters to life. The film explores many themes, one of them being family. There were a couple of key moments that made me tear up, I’m a sucker for family drama what can I say.
In the end, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a fantastic film, with a refreshingly creative story that never ceases to have truly hilarious moments, as well as heartwarming dramatic moments, and pulse pounding action sequences. This movie truly has it all, and I can’t think of anything that I didn’t like about it. Even if you haven’t seen the first film, I can’t recommend this one enough. 5/5