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Friday, July 28, 2017

The Emoji Movie Review

          I want you to imagine two things. I want you to imagine a big dumpster that holds the stinkiest trash ever. At the bottom there is dumpster juice and it just reeks. The other thing I want you to imagine is a recycling bin. It doesn't stink but you still throw away stuff in it. The Emoji Movie belongs in the recycling bin. You throw it away because it's trash. It just doesn't stink. I don't know how to review this movie other than that. Here is another way I can review this movie. 
          Poop. Crap. But remember a pile of poop that doesn't stink. In this case the poop has a more symbolic meaning than a literal one. You can tell that this pile of poop is having a good time. It's loving it's life. I enjoy watching this figurative pile of crap enjoying its life. I don't like this pile of poop, I just like watching it enjoy its self. That is going to be your experience watching The Emoji Movie. You won't like the pile of poop (the movie its self) but you will enjoy what the movie is doing. You will enjoy the the things it is trying to do. The Emoji Movie presents some interesting concepts. It does some cool stuff that involves Spotify, Dropbox, and even a Just Dance app. You can tell that the creators of this movie had a good time creating everything in it. I just didn't enjoy the final product. 
          That's the best way I can describe this movie. I don't know how to put it into words. It's a whole new experience. If you are morbidly curious about this movie, you should probably go see it so you can appreciate good movies. This movie makes Cars 2 look like Toy Story. If you were ever curious about this movie it's best to just go see it and experience it for yourself. Don't take that as a recommendation, take it as an invitation to go see this movie so you can fully experience the feeling that no other movie will be able to give you this year. 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Dunkirk Review

          Trapped on a beach in France, British soldiers eagerly wait to escape while the enemy is slowly closing in on them. That enemy might not be who you think it is. That enemy is pretentiousness. That enemy is having style over substance. That enemy is boredom. That enemy is repetitiveness. That enemy caused for a disappointing movie.
          All of my favorite directors have directed a war movie. Spielberg did Saving Private Ryan, Coppola did Apocalypse Now, and Kubrick did Full Metal Jacket. So I was really happy to see one of my favorite modern day directors take that step into war film making. Unfortunately it might be the weakest film in Nolan's repertoire.
          The one thing Dunkirk does better than other Nolan movies is it's use of IMAX. It's beautifully shot with IMAX cameras. When the screen goes full IMAX it's truly a spectacle to behold. Especially during the intense scenes. Even though this movie is beautiful (it begs to be seen on the big screen) I wasn't a big fan of Dunkirk.
          Rather than having characters in this movie, it has people. It has a lot of average white boys with dark hair that you can't tell apart. It's really confusing to follow these "characters" because there is nothing to set them apart from each other. If they addressed the names of these characters, I couldn't tell you one. You often find yourself asking "Are you the same guy who just did that other thing? I don't think so. Well, you might be. Actually, I don't know." It would've been helpful if they gave these characters some sort of background. If they explained if they had family back home, or a girlfriend to get back to. Just something to distinguish these characters would've been very helpful.
          I am going to compare this movie to PIXAR's Wall-E just for this one example. For about the first 45min of Wall-E there is no dialogue. It forces you to look around and pay attention to things that you might not have if there were characters talking. It's a very interesting directing choice and a very interesting way to tell a story. In the case of Wall-E, having no dialogue worked really well.  There was only one character (two if you count is cockroach friend) that the movie was focusing on. You wouldn't get confused with the lack of dialogue because you are only following one simple character. In Dunkirk you needed dialogue. You need it because it's really easy to loose track of things when the film makers provide you with so much going on at once. That lack of being able to keep track of everything causes the movie to be rather boring. Why should I have interest in a movie when they don't bother giving me anything to have interest in i.e. the characters or the lack there of. That's not saying that I don't have interest in the situation that is going on. I was very curious to learn more about this part of the war that I really didn't know anything about. It's just unfortunate that I wanted to fall asleep multiple times during my showing. If I had this my way I would've paused it about half way through so I could take a nap. When I woke up I would simply just hit the play button. Frankly, I wish I could've done that.
          Dunkirk has some scenes in which they show the same scene multiple times just from different points of view. That got confusing because there was no dialogue to tell me what was going on. Sometimes I just felt like I was watching the same scene multiple times. When they did that the first time I quickly caught on so when they did it again I could comprehend what has happening. But they still did it too much. However sometimes you couldn't tell that they were doing the same scene from a different point of view because in this movie all the ships and all the planes look the same. So occasionally you couldn't actually tell if it was a new scene or a scene being re-shown from another persons eyes. It didn't help that the editing was a complete mess.
          It felt like the goal of this movie was to put emphasis on what it feels like when you have soldiers trying to survive in a desperate situation. The progression towards that goal was taken very slowly. They were trying to make it realistic which I'm assuming they did a very good job (I personally wasn't a Dunkirk so I can't really say.) But sometimes trying to make something realistic isn't always the right way to go. If you wanted to make a realistic movie about an FBI agent about 90% of that movie will be spent in an office doing some sort of paper work. That's just how the life of an FBI agent is. Sometimes trying to showcase the realistic side of an event doesn't work well for a movie.
           Zimmer's score was to overpowering. It was to much of his "BWAHHH" type of score that you might hear from his other movies like Inception or Interstellar. Dunkirk just wasn't that block buster type movie that called for a big score from Zimmer. It needed a much more simpler score.
          It just didn't fit in with the feel that Nolan wanted to give us. It is a movie that I can appreciate more than I can enjoy.


Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Review: One Week With Spidey

This review contains things that you might consider a spoiler. If you are sensitive to those things, I highly recommend watching the movie first than coming back to read this review. If you don’t care about spoilers, I guess you can just keep reading!
            This movie doesn’t feel like a movie. It feels more like a product that came off an assembly line. Everything felt very routine and unpolished. The filmmakers just went through the motions of making a movie while putting forth very little effort into making it a Spider-Man movie.
            First off, the suit doesn’t look great. It looks like a football you might get in a sales pile at a sporting goods store. It’s not the worst we’ve seen but it’s also not the best we’ve seen. To make it even worse they made his eyes an off yellow color that doesn’t match with the suit. That was really distracting.
            Andrew Garfield is a great actor. He got nominated for an Oscar for his role in 2016’s Hacksaw Ridge. I think he should’ve won the Oscar for his role in The Social Network and he wasn’t even nominated. He is a great actor who one day will have an Oscar on his mantle. I just didn’t like his portrayal of Peter Parker. Peter in this movie is portrayed as a punk. When teachers tell him to not ride his skateboard in the hallways, he rides it in the hallways. To me at least, that is not who Peter Parker is. He is not a guy who doesn’t hold respect for people around him. He’s supposed to be an innocent teenager that struggles to get through high school. The Peter that Garfield portrays in this movie is too perfect. He isn’t prone to the struggles that make Peter Parker, Peter Parker. He humiliates the school bully Flash Thompson on purpose. That’s not something Peter would do. Now you might be saying “Well, Peter humiliated Flash in the original Spider-Man in 2002 when he punched him through a wall!” That is different. Maguire’s Peter didn’t do it on purpose. He was just using it for self-defense. Garfield’s Peter was using it to humiliate on purpose. That is not something Peter Parker would do.  Apart from Peter Parker the other main character in this movie is of course Spider-Man himself. It was good to see the quick-witted Spider-Man that was absent from Maguire’s trilogy. One of my favorite things about the Spider-Man character is the fact that one of the weapons that he uses is his fast thinking insults/comebacks. And we finally got that in this movie! For one lousy scene. It only lasted one scene. Like what the heck! You did it good for that once scene, so just incorporate it in the whole movie! The one big take away from Garfield in this movie is he is much more likeable as Spider-Man than Peter Parker. He was a big fan of the character when he was little and you can tell that he was doing is best at trying to make his portrayal one fans would like. His chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy was great. The instantly connected. One of the best relationships in a comic book movie.
            I really like Emma Stone as an actress. Unfortunately, she wasn’t given much to work with. There was no development to her character. She stayed the same throughout the entire movie. The biggest change to her character happened at the very end during her father’s funeral. That’s it. You only get 5 minutes of this different Gwen Stacy then the movie ends. You only see two sides to Gwen. The first being the side that has a crush on Peter, the other being the genius that she is. That’s all you really see. Not much to the character.
            Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben was fine. Nothing special to it. The worst part about his character was during the most important part of his character, that being the “With great power comes great responsibility” speech he doesn’t even say “With great power comes great responsibility.” He says the exact same thing just in different phrasing. It just felt so awkward. I don’t know why they didn’t just say the iconic line. Maybe they didn’t want people to think that they were copying the original Maguire movie. But in all reality that is the most important/iconic line to come from any comic book. Why didn’t they just say it! No one is going to think that you stole it from the earlier movies. They are just going to think that it’s an important Spider-Man line and go with the flow. The only thing that Aunt May did in this movie was worry. Every single time she was in a scene she was constantly worrying about Peter. She also didn’t get very much to work with which is a shame.  
            The Lizard in this movie is the worst villain to be in any Spider-Man movie up to the point of when this movie was released. This character’s motivations is he is working on cross species genetics to try and save Norman Osborne who is dying. We never see Osborne in this movie. How are we supposed to feel for the villain when we can’t connect with what he is doing? The answer is we don’t feel for him. At least in Spider-Man 3 with all the villains that were in there you felt for them. You understood all their motivations. But the main motivation of this villain is trying to figure out a way to regrow his arm. Once he tries that he becomes the big lizard monster and just runs around the movie with nothing to do. The script didn’t know how to handle this character. He started to get random voices in his head like Norman Osborne did in the 2002 movie. The best way to describe this villain is this cereal analogy. Let’s say you have a favorite cereal. It’s so good, so cholatey and the milk that comes from it after words is perfection. Then you try the off-brand of that cereal. The packaging looks the exact same except for the mascot that’s on the front. It tastes like cardboard and the milk afterwards taste like you’re eating wet toilet paper. Norman Osborne in the 2002 Spider-Man is the good cereal and The Lizard or Doctor Connors is the off-brand cereal. The Lizard’s plan was so stupid. That’s the best way to describe it. Stupid. He wanted to turn the whole city into Lizard people. Nowhere in the movie does it explain his reasoning for that.
            One of my biggest pet peeves in movies in when they cast people over the age of 25 to play high schoolers. I forgave the original trilogy because Peter graduated from High School in the movie so he wasn’t in high school for the entire movie. Garfield was well above 25 years old when he shot this movie. I got really distracted. He didn’t even remotely resemble a high schooler. To make this situation even worse, Emma Stone has a line where she says that she is 17 years old. There is no freaking way she is 17. She looks at least 25. It is something that gets on your nerves and never really goes away. That’s why I’m looking forward to Spiderman: Homecoming. Tom Holland was 20 when he filmed that movie. He genuinely looks like a high schooler. It’s believable.
            To sum it up, The Amazing Spider-Man is not better than any of the original trilogy. I would gladly watch Spider-Man 3 over this any day. They just took a bunch of ingredients needed to make a movie and simply made a movie. No special touch or anything unique. There was no flare or special charm to it. The color scheme was very greyscale which isn’t very good when you have a superhero as bright as Spidey. At least James Horner did a good job at composing this movie.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spider-Man 3 (2007) Review: One Week With Spidey

This review contains things that you might consider a spoiler. If you are sensitive to those things, I highly recommend watching the movie first than coming back to read this review. If you don’t care about spoilers, I guess you can just keep reading!
            Spider-Man 3 is considered by many to be the worst part of this Spider-Man trilogy. They say that it’s disappointing, convoluted, messy, and just not a good movie overall. While I agree that this is the worst of the three movies, it’s not nearly as bad as people say. It’s actually a really good movie.
            Usually the first thing people mention when they talk about Spider-Man 3 is the terrible scene with emo Peter Parker dancing in a jazz club. I’ve got to admit, that part is really bad. It’s awkward and it makes you cringe to the core. It’s some of the worst movie making I have seen in a comic-book movie. But other than that, the parts with “emo” Peter Parker were great. It’s such a drastic change from the Peter Parker that we are used to that it may have taken people back by surprise. They handled this side to Peter Parker so well. I appreciate how they explained why Peter turned into a jerk opposed to him just turning into one. They introduced the Venom symbiote which can change people’s minds and make them loose control of their actions. So it really wasn’t even Peter doing the things he was doing. It was the symbiote controlling him and having heavy influence on his mind and Peter could do very little to stop it. On top of that Peter was having a tough time. Like I said in my Spider-Man 2 review, Peter Parker is at his best when he is going through serious troubles. His relationship with Mary Jane is dwindling very fast. He just figured out that the person he thought killed his Uncle wasn’t actually the person who did it. It was another guy. Those things took a serious toll on Peter. With those situations going on in his life along with the symbiote affecting him, I think “emo” Peter Parker was a brilliant addition to this movie. They gave good reasoning’s as to why Peter might act like the way he did. It just added another layer to the movie that I don’t think other film makers would have the guts to do. It felt fresh and organic and not just another plot device. So, A+ for being brave and having it pay off.
            One of the biggest issues of this movie has to deal with Sandman. Not the inclusion of Sandman just some story points that revolve around him. Like I alluded to above, it was Sandman (before he transformed to Sandman) that killed Uncle Ben. That was an unnecessary addition. It undermined a lot of things that happened in the past two movies. Especially the second one. Peter felt that he was responsible for Uncle Ben’s death because he could’ve stopped the guy that killed him. But now it was another person that killed him. That layer of guilt that Peter had is now gone. That was such a good part to Peter’s character and now it’s not there any more. They could’ve kept Sandman the exact same throughout the movie if they changed that one story point. And frankly, Sandman was a really nice addition. The transformation of Sandman was a beautiful scene. The fights between Spidey and Sandman were really entertaining to watch. It’s a good thing that the pointless story point didn’t change my overall enjoyment of the character.
            This whole trilogy has built up the character of Harry Osborne played by James Franco. The whole trilogy has been filled with the rage that Harry feels towards Spider-Man. When Harry figures out that Peter is Spider-Man the rage thickens even more. Harry turns into the new Green Goblin and seeks revenge against Peter for the false idea that he still had in his head about Spidey killing his dad. The new Green Goblin and Peter get into a fight and it ends with Harry getting really hurt. He gets a concussion and lost most of his short-term memory. That made him a dull character for a little bit. But once he started to regain consciousness again, that’s when things got interesting. You saw the rage start to fill him up again. You saw the light that ignited his fuse. You saw him explode. You saw the after effects of everything. At the end, he teams up with Spider-Man to take down Sandman and Venom. He sacrificed himself to save Peter. It was such a poetic ending to his character. If you watch that scene with the context of knowing what happened in the previous movies, it hits you right in the feels. That character started out being a nice friend to Peter, went through a phase of complete hate, then he ended up liking Peter again. It was well done. Major props.
            By far the biggest issue of this movie was the inclusion of Venom. Not the inclusion of the symbiote, but the inclusion of Venom. Green Goblin and Venom are Spider-Man’s most popular foes and they just wasted Venom. Topher Grace did a less than stellar job playing the role of Eddie Brock. He did an even worse job when he was playing Eddie Brock after being taken over by the symbiote. There was already so much going on that Venom really didn’t need to be in there. I would’ve liked it better if they kept teasing the symbiote to foreshadow Venom being in the Spider-Man 4 that never happened.

            Spider-Man 3 does not deserve the hate that it gets. It’s a really well done movie that I wish more people would appreciate. It’s filled with spectacular story telling. The dynamic between the characters in this third installment might be the best that we’ve seen from this franchise. You’ve grown with them since Spider-Man 1 and now you can see where they have grown to. It was a very satisfying ending to this trilogy. I’m quite sad that they never made the fourth one like they were planning to. It’s safe to say that all the movies in this trilogy have a spot in my top 15 comic-book movies of all time. If you don’t like Spider-Man 3 I ask of you this, please watch it again but watch it from a different angle or point of view. There is an extremely good movie in there. I promise.