Monday, August 24, 2015

No Escape movie review.

Welcome back, readers, and as the long summer movie season draws near its conclusion, I’m among the early few to watch No Escape starring Owen Wilson.

Wilson stars as Jack, a businessman uprooted along with his family – including wife Annie (Lake Bell) and their two daughters - from their life in Austin, Texas, for a new start in a new city (vaguely defined as Asia). Of course, the changes are tough to get used to at first, what with no internet capabilities, cable television, or decent phone service of any kind. However, those problems quickly get pushed to the side as local bandits and citizens start rampaging through the city streets as an act of rebellion, killing foreign visitors along the way, leading Jack to keep his family safe, “ten steps ahead” as he puts it, at any costs.

Directed by John Erick Dowdle, whose previous credits include the likes of Devil and As Above, So Below (Now there’s a track record that gives faith), this film seemed to come virtually out of nowhere with little advertising even a week before its release, perhaps making one fear that its distributor, The Weinstein Company, don’t have much confidence in it. So it’s with a heavy heart that I can say that there’s a reason for that.

Also, fair bit of warning, there are minor spoilers present.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

About Elly movie review.

I’m literally speechless…

If you’ve seen my review of The Past, then you know by now what I think of Asghar Farhadi. Despite having only been introduced to his films via A Separation a few years ago, I think with just his two latest films that he’s established himself as one of the great modern writer/directors. He simply has an unmatchable talent when it comes to shaping natural and realistically sensitive portrayals of familial conflict, and I was convinced that he could do no wrong.

Then I heard news of About Elly, which was filmed before either A Separation or The Past, and released in its home country of Iran in 2009. It wouldn’t make its way stateside until six years later following the success of those two films, so you can bet I was impatient to finally see it. Frankly, this movie is sensational.

I know I’ve used buzz words like that to describe movies numerous times before, but this time, there’s no needless hyperbole behind those words. Little did I know that this movie would have so profound an impact on me, I would find it almost impossible to form a coherent review.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Brief thoughts on Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation.

Cinema mainly exists as an expression of art, but much like any other form of media, it also is open to its fair share of titles existing purely for entertainment value. One such example includes the Mission: Impossible franchise, the long running starring vehicle for Tom Cruise. Despite varying quality early on its run, it found itself back in form with JJ Abrams’ rock solid third entry, and again with Brad Bird’s hair-raising Ghost Protocol, and with Rogue Nation, directed by The Usual Suspects writer Christopher McQuarrie, the series still shows no sign of losing any of its exhilarating spirit. As far as I’m concerned, this is the year’s best pure action film thus far.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Fant4stic movie review.

Ever since Marvel’s rise to power with Iron Man, and their culmination of their expanded universe with The Avengers, studios have tried (and often failed) to recreate their success by copying their moves. Or if that wasn’t the case, they were desperately seeking to make more sequels, or simply rebooting their films, to hold onto their purchased rights like The Amazing Spider-Man.

So here we have Fox, who has actually done great work with Marvel’s own X-Men series and characters. However, their other attempts at launching franchises (ala Daredevil) have been less than successful. With that in mind, let us now discuss Fant4stic. I know it’s called Fantastic Four, but that’s what they put on the poster, and it’s my review, so I can call it anything I wish. I can call it Lee Daniels’ The Butler if I want.

Anyway, Fant4stic is a reboot to the Fantastic Four in film, which was first brought to life in 1994 with Roger Corman’s unreleased rights retainer, and then again in the silly but watchable 2005 rendition and its sequel. Now under the direction of Chronicle’s Josh Trank, this new film was meant to take the characters down a more serious route. However, all intentions backfired catastrophically, leading to the most universally reviled tentpole release since The Last Airbender. Bar none, Fant4stic is the worst superhero film I’ve ever seen, and simply one of the worst films I’ve ever suffered through.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Shaun the Sheep movie review.

Before the likes of Laika came along, the most celebrated name in stop motion animation was, and still is, British studio Aardman. Best known in the 80’s and early 90’s for their Wallace and Gromit animated shorts, they soon ventured into theatrical length films in 2000 with Dreamworks’ Chicken Run. Five years after came the first feature length Wallace and Gromit film, which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

After their studio tragically burned down in a fire, the studio then went on to a brief foray into computer animation with Flushed Away and Arthur Christmas before swinging back into their roots with The Pirates! Band of Misfits. In arguably the most experimental effort they’ve delivered to date, Shaun the Sheep, adapted from Aardman’s own series of shorts based around its title character, is by far the most visually driven film they’ve produced yet, and remains just as hilarious as any of their previous movies.