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JURASSIC WORLD is the Stupidest Movie I Have Ever Seen. I Liked It. – Movie Review

Jurassic World Chris Pratt Raptor Friends

There are probably no spoilers ahead.

You have to admire a movie that, at every juncture possible, makes the stupidest decision it possibly can. In a more logical, cohesive film, many of the moments in Jurassic World would stand out as odd choices for its characters to make. In Jurassic World, these are incremental steps on the ladder of stupidity on which these characters find themselves. To commit so fully and so completely to being so stone dumb is an act of true heroism. Read more…

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AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Movie Review (So Many Spoilers)

Avengers AGe of Ultron Team

It’s not easy making something that’s fun. You know this fact too well if you’ve ever planned a party or set up a Slip ‘N Slide or procreated a party clown. Although movies that are referred to as “mere entertainment” are looked down upon by those whose noses are turned up so high that they enter a room Adam’s Apple first, it is almost as difficult to make something that feels effortless and carefree as it is to craft that homeless amputee drama you’ve been writing. Read more…

“Shut Up, Peeta”- THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Spoiler Review

Catching Fire Katniss Peeta Effie

The Hunger Games is an international phenomenon but if you somehow haven’t read Catching Fire, then you should know that spoilers lurk past this point, so dust off your daughter’s copy of the book and give it a read before scanning below.

Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games book series has permeated the international consciousness, which is weird because it is both good and actually about something. Careful study of culture and Facebook statuses tells us that the books that transcend language and are read by tweens and warlords alike are either light, simple, and fluffy (Harry Potter) or boring, boring, and fluffy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). The Hunger Games, for all of its leaning on a storytelling structure based on a love triangle, is about revolution, and the overthrow of a government. It is strange that these books are predominantly popular amongst twelve-year-olds, who generally like to think that their government is pretty all right and focus more on the important things, like the next big thing in bra-stuffing technology.

I have read the first two Hunger Games books, after growing weary of answering the question “Where are you from and why haven’t you read The Hunger Games?” with, “From under a rock, why? What are the Hunger Games? Wait—where are you going?”

The first Hunger Games book is a solid adventure and was interesting enough for the second installment to earn a reading. I remember absolutely loving Catching Fire, and don’t really remember much else about it really. Going into this flick was like reading the cliffs notes version of a book I probably enjoyed, if memory serves, which it doesn’t. Most of the good bits are still intact, with only one or two glaring omissions that I could find. There are probably more things missing, but I don’t have time to reread Catching Fire. Too busy rereading those Harry Potter books with the sweet new covers.

But this review isn’t of a book. It is of a movie. And since adaptations have to be more than just a Great Illustrated Classics version of the book, it must be judged on its own merits. So, let’s talk merit. . . Read more…

“Lots of Skinny People Coughing Up Blood”- THE DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB Movie Review

Dallas Buyers Club

In his recent tirade of giving really good performances in really good movies and thus making me regret all those effigies I once made, Matthew McConaughey turns in another hell of a performance in Dallas Buyer’s Club. Read more…

“Something Actually Happened in This One!”- THOR: THE DARK WORLD Review

thor the dark world

There are no spoilers to be found here that can’t be found in the trailers.

The first Thor was hardly even a movie. If we’re going by traditional three act structure, it was two hours of first act, followed by a quick ten minute reprieve of third act. That last bit was a nice break after an entire film of set up for an ending that wouldn’t happen for another 2 years, but hardly served to turn Thor into what we in the ticket-purchasing business would call a “movie.”

Thor: The Dark World seeks to remedy this transgression by doing exactly the opposite. The film’s three screenwriters seem to have as little interest in Exposition in New Mexico as we do, so this sequel takes off at a blistering pace.

Boom, Prologue! Boom, Thor faffing around on Asian Asgard! Academy Award Winning Actress Natalie Portman becomes possessed by cranberry juice! We’re in, we’re out, we’re done, the movie has started everybody! Read more…

“Don’t You Dare Compare This To Django”- 12 YEARS A SLAVE Movie Review

12 years a slave michael fassbender chewitel ejiofor

12 Years a Slave is a film that only gets better and better as it goes along. What starts off as a slow, heavy-handed depiction of slavery by Paul Giamatti turns steadily into a breath-taking and terrifying depiction of slavery by Michael Fassbender. Gradually, Steve McQueen the filmmaker we loved from Hunger and Shame for his ability to photograph Michael Fassbender starving/ having lots of sex (respectively) winds his way into the true life story of Solomon Northrop (Chewitel Ejiofor), a free and educated black family man from New York who is sold into slavery by a pair of real jerks. One of whom was imported from Saturday Night Live. McQueen shoots the latter, better half of the film in his characteristic long takes, letting the actors unfold as they feel they should, going on until you think there is no way they could possibly keep going and then going on a little longer still. It’s enough to make a film student’s heart flutter. Read more…

The Way Way Back Review- “Everybody’s Just So… Sad”

the way way back steve carell sam rockwell

This review is presented free of spoilers. Except for my tears. Those are fairly well-documented.

“My mom doesn’t smoke pot…”

So is the plight of young Duncan (a terrific Liam James), a boy in the throes of that awkward time in his adolescence, as he contends with his mom’s new boyfriend and just being sad all the time. It doesn’t help that his stepdad (Steve Carell) is an absolute dick, and Duncan’s mom only seems to want to hang out with him, leaving poor Duncan on his own, lonely and singing REO Speedwagon ‘till his heart’s content. Problem is, Duncan’s heart gets content pretty fast, so he finds his way to a local water park called Water Wizz and starts working there, under the watchful eyes of a bunch of really funny people you didn’t know you secretly wished would run a water park together. Read more…

Blue Jasmine Movie Review- “I Predict Oscar Gold and a Cardiac Arrest”

Blue Jasmine

This review is presented free of spoilers. Unless you count a beat poetry reading of a love letter I once wrote to Cate Blanchett as a “spoiler.”

I have been in love with Cate Blanchett for a very long time. This isn’t news to anyone who has ever mentioned The Aviator in front of me, but for the Internet at large this may come as some shocking news. For a while, I only saw her as the creepy elf lady that goes nuts in the third hour of the first Lord of the Rings film, an image that haunted my third grade self for months after my dad took me to sit through it. My brother was lucky enough to have been face-down asleep in the theatre at this point and didn’t have the unique pleasure of having your interest in women awakened only to have it scared out of you and watching it scamper away to make you incapable of being good with women ever. Read more…

Elysium Spoiler Review- “Like Pulling Teeth with Robot Arms”

Elysium Matt Damon

Lots and lots of spoilers! Spoilers everywhere! This review needs more spoilers like a fish needs a bicycle…

Confession time, before we get started here: I haven’t seen District 9. Now, now, don’t be mad at me. We all have glaring holes in our film history knowledge, and District 9 is one of mine. I fully acknowledge that it is a film that I need to see, but before you yell at me and say that I can’t grade this film because I haven’t seen it, how’s the full four hour cut of Seven Samurai going, jackass?

Elysium is not good. And not in a fun, campy kind of way like Robocop or Robocop 2. It is an embarrassing piece of film that somehow has a Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, which leads me to believe that critics were given a different copy of the film and that we were given the deleted scenes. The pile of crap that is this movie is so large and vast that one might suggest even your mother couldn’t eat it, so I’m going to break this down bit by bit and try to see what exactly went so catastrophically wrong.

Matt Damon

The Matt Damon of this film suffers from that problem all recent Matt Damon characters have fallen into in that they are not so much a character as they are a metaphorical representation of an entire nation. In the film Green Zone, Damon played “America,” a virtuous white military man caught up in the Iraq War. In Elysium, Matt Damon plays Mexico.

As the only white person left on Earth, Matt Damon is responsible for being our eyes into a world we couldn’t relate to without a Caucasian being involved and has the weight of saving all of those brown people on his shoulders. Ah, the White Man’s Burden…. Read more…

The World’s End Movie Review- “It’s Almost As If Drinking Makes People Sad…”

The World's End Graphic

The following is presented free of any major spoilers.

Trailers have a bad habit of being a little misleading. They have a bad habit of making Inglourious Basterds look likes it’s about the Basterds, or making Michael Bay’s The Island look like a thought-provoking drama on cloning, or making Man of Steel look good. They’re a marketing tool, and often a marketing tool that doesn’t truly understand what exactly it’s marketing.

I bring this up because if you were just to look at the trailer for The World’s End, you’d think you were walking into a joyful romp about boys being boys, getting drunk and fighting a few robots. Simply watching those two-minute segments, it would be easy to walk in expecting another silly and light sci-fi spoof, somewhere halfway between Spaceballs and a Judd Apatow comedy. What you’d miss is an unbelievably dense and thought-provoking piece of film that is probably the best film I’ve seen all year. Read more…

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