Quick Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

I love the X-Men movies. They’re probably my favorite superhero franchise. I love how it’s less villain-based and more of an “us against them” theme, which in turn creates and drives the inner conflicts within the mutant world.  And this new installment is far from the exception. It was awesome–the special fx, the set pieces, the consistent pace, and the unique formula and storytelling. You can’t really go wrong with time travel films because it’s in their nature to not be formulaic.


However, unlike every other time travel movie where the character who travels back in time is the one who is developing throughout the course of events, that character in this film (Wolverine) is the only one NOT developing. I know that in the nature of the film it’s “not important” that he develops, but I’d like to think that on a macro scale it is important. And as for the characters that DO develop, it doesn’t even really matter (with maybe the exception of Mystique) because we’ve seen it all before. In fact, they spend several films arcing these characters into who they are before this movie. The actions in this film are just serving the plot–not the characters within it–since they all would have turned out fine anyway. I sure know that the audience didn’t need to see Professor X and Magneto become who we’ve already seen them become. The filmmakers just relied on the character depth that they had already developed in the previous films. I’m not saying that Wolverine going back in time wasn’t important, because it was necessary for the future of the mutant world. All I’m trying to say is that this plot didn’t serve well for the progression of any of the characters within the movie because we’ve already seen where they end up and it’s not too bad. Don’t get me wrong, the characters definitely give you the ability to feel for them, it’s just that in the long run, what about their character is at stake? But I guess we will see what happens with the future of this franchise and where they decide to go with it. You can’t just help feeling that the conclusions of all the past X-Men films now become void and obsolete.


Now, although the plot is self-serving, it’s still very entertaining and fairly original. I’m just saying that pretty much 100% of the issues in this film lie directly in it’s inability to further its character’s depths past where we’ve already seen them. We are simply just getting an origin to a story that we are unsure of now. 


Twizard Rating: 93

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Quick Movie Review: The Bling Ring

This is a film about the rich stealing from the rich. There is a lot of social commentary expressed in the details of this movie. It parallels these kids aspiring to live the lives of celebrities and needing to have it all. Chasing something that they don’t have and never realizing that it’s still not there–even though the audience does. And the lack of privacy in the celebrities lives is how they end up being so “good” at burglarizing their homes, but it’s that lack of privacy which ultimately does them in at the end. 


There was depth in these characters as a group through the nature of the story, however I found myself wanting a little more focus on their individual development rather than focusing too much on what it’s trying to say about our culture. Although, maybe this lack of depth streamlines the point of the film even better. And either way, this is the decision of the filmmaker and maybe that was the route that she wanted to take. But even still, it could have used just a little more critique of the rich and famous lifestyle than it gives because it finds itself teetering at times.


Although the script wasn’t all that great and there wasn’t a whole lot of meat, the way the plot developed was unique. It’s not quite the Social Network/Spring Breakers mashup that it strives to be, but it does tell the story well. And Coppola’s direction isn’t perfect, but I do like how she allows the actors to have a very natural free-flowing behavior as they interact with each other. 


Overall, this isn’t really my taste tone-wise, but I did really enjoy the story that was told and the statements that it made


Twizard Rating: 74

Quick Movie Review: Godzilla (2014)

As much character depth as they tried to display in the beginning, it’s mostly gone once Ford’s father (Cranston) dies and we begin to even forget that. Towards the end i stop being attached to whether or not Ford makes it back to his family as the film doesn’t really become about that anymore. My girlfriend said that she didn’t even feel like crying and “it doesn’t take a lot to make me cry in a movie.” There wasn’t a whole lot of development. The script was fine, as was its execution. However, at the end I felt like they could have really milked the moment where Godzilla gets up and walks back into the ocean by having everyone in the stadium cheer for him finally recognizing that he is not a monster but a hero. I mean, it gave me goosebumps, but I just wanted a tad bit more. The film felt stretched a little bit thin at parts, but I didn’t feel too crammed with overly scientific banter.


The acting was great, but the highlight of this film is the title character–as it should be. And surprisingly he’s the one that you actually get attached to the most. 


But if you’re looking for amazing effects then this is your movie. It was really spectacular. Some of the coolest that you will ever see. 


Overall, the film was fun and exciting, and I might be a tad bit biased because it takes place in the Bay Area, where I’m from. We don’t get a whole lot of disaster films that feature us as the main city.


Twizard Rating: 85

Quick Movie Review: Brick Mansions

It’s another movie where the bad guys suck at shooting the good guys, but only when it’s convenient. Paul Walker is a great on-screen presence as always, and although never the greatest actor, he still brings a warmth and charisma to everything that he’s in and makes his films that much more enjoyable. 


This film has a clever and interesting story with a good twist, and it’s haunting seeing Walker on screen for the first time since his tragic death, but the script is absolutely terrible! So is the acting! And the directing! Also, the storytelling is a little sloppy. Don’t get me wrong, this is a likable film, but it’s saying a lot when Paul Walker and RZA are your best acting talents. It’s obvious that they casted David Belle as Lino simply for his amazing stunts so that they didn’t need to carefully edit around a stunt double. 


Why didn’t they just give them a bomb that would blow up to begin with instead of having to go through this whole process. They didn’t make you hate the government enough until towards the end–in fact, I forgot that they even existed throughout most of the film. I wish they had given a little more background as to how the brick mansions became such a crime filled area. And at the end Tremaine was saying that he would never have killed a cop and that he’s a good guy–but are we forgetting that this guy killed one of his own men in cold blood and almost knifed another one of his men for no reason?? 


However, the thing that this film does the most right is that it never ever takes itself too seriously. 


Overall, it’s definitely an entertaining experience, although unintentionally laughable on many occasions. But I would definitely watch it again.


Twizard Rating: 65

Quick Movie Review: Observe and Report

This movie definitely has its moments. Although the tone was very inconsistent throughout–sometimes even annoyingly. It has a lot of moments where it gets deep and meaningful, but it is also tries to be too irreverent by forcing jokes that are easy, but not necessarily warranted. The film is a borderline dark comedy. I’m not sure if that’s what the filmmakers were going for, but they somewhat succeeded. However, there are too many off-the-wall jokes (a la Happy Madison) that keep pulling it away from that consistency which would make it a solid dark comedy. The kind that requires an acquired taste. It’s not easy to love like Bad Santa. The 3rd act is actually brilliant though. It really makes you forget that the first 2 acts were all over the place. Probably because now it doesn’t even seem like they set that much story up to begin with.

 

It’s a good character study but Ronnie is a bit challenging to relate and warm up to at first. Seth Rogen was great. It was a bit of a different character than he’s ever played before, and also one of the deepest. Although the other characters aren’t quite as deep, it’s alright because they aren’t really the main focus. I wish we could’ve seen more of Aziz Ansari’s character though. And a follow-up with the gang that Ronnie beat up after he got ditched by the cop.

 

Also, it has a killer soundtrack!

 

Twizard Rating: 73

Quick Movie Review: Neighbors


In general, there are two types of comedy films: unrealistic over-the-top ones, such as Anchorman or 21 Jump Street, and realistic ones, such as Animal House or The Hangover. Maybe in the realistic ones there will be a character or two who is, in fact, over-the-top, but in a unique way that is creative in respect to the film itself (e.g. Alan in The Hangover). However, Neighbors couldn’t quite figure out which one it wanted to be. Here you are presented with a realistic premise but when necessary for the continuation of the plot, they sprinkle in some unrealistic characters and situations, as though straddling the fence between the two movies that they wanted to create.


Situation #1: The entire film is based on a plot hole. Teddy (the frat dude) makes Mac (the neighbor) promise that if he has a problem with the noise that he will call him first before calling the police. Teddy says that he values promises very highly–especially in his newfound friendship with Mac. So the next night when the frat house is having a party for the 2nd night in a row, Mac calls Teddy 10 times (although later he says 5) but Teddy is doesn’t pick up the phone. They can’t take it any longer so they finally call the police. The officer comes and then rats out Mac for calling him. Then Teddy goes over there with the officer and Mac tells him that he called him 5 times but he didn’t answer. Teddy ignores this and proceeds to get upset and tells Mac that he broke a promise and that he is going to pay the consequence. Mac–who seems like a very aware and pedantic guy–doesn’t even attempt to explain to Teddy that, in fact, he did not break any promise–if anything, he KEPT his promise. The entire rest of the film stems from this “breaking of the promise”. 


Situation #2: The police officer lets the fraternity off the hook because of the fact that the complaint came from a guy (Mac) who partied with them before. So it’s okay that there is loud noise on a work night in a residential neighborhood because the guy who complained has partied before??


Situation #3: The dean of the college uses every faulty argument you could think of when Mac and Kelly go to her to complain about the fraternity after their baby daughter put a condom in her mouth on their front lawn. She explains that there is a 3 strike policy when it comes to the frats and that the frat would have to do something “headline worthy” in order to earn them another strike. She also states that there should be a headline talking about how they are neglecting parents for “letting” their daughter put a condom in her mouth. It’s not like they just let it happen. They’re not expecting her to find that on their own front lawn. And they ran after her and got it as soon as they realized what it was…Also, at this point, the fraternity has extremely vandalized Mac and Kelly’s home, and proceed to do so very illegally throughout the rest of the film. 


Scenario #4: How in the world is it possible that Mac and Kelly are the only neighbors that are filing noise complaints and are having problems with the fraternity. They are having parties every night! Sure, they are “buying out” their neighbors with gifts and favors or whatever, but no matter how many favors and gifts you give someone they are going to get annoyed if they are kept up every night because of excessive loud noise and partying.


Scenario #5: How in the world is Teddy even allowed to be in a frat–let alone the president. He says that his GPA is in the high 1s. That’s barely enough to even keep you in school.


Although the pranks are pretty clever, the equality in the back-and-forth makes for a frustrating viewing because you really only want one side to win. Seth Rogen is the only main actor who is not completely annoying. I guess Franco is alright–he’s not annoying, but he’s also just not really that funny either. Rose Byrne is annoying and tries too hard and Efron plays douchey way too well. 


It has some decent bits, but even the jokes that are funny are hard to laugh at a lot of times because of everything else that is happening, and you become so mad at the antagonists that everything they do is just annoying and frustrating as if you hate them in real life.


The only other things that this film has going for it are the decent character development across the board and a thoughtful theme of growing up. However, these things are going to be overlooked by most of the people seeing it because everything else is way too distracting.


I wanted to like this film, but there really is no hope for me.


Twizard Rating: 54

Quick Movie Review: Draft Day

I feel like it would be tough to do a film about professional sports. It’s like–who do you include? who do you leave out? Do we create a whole new league? It’s tough because the people that follow these sports are fanatics. People who know the players, coaches, and personnel inside and out. These are the people that you have to trick into believing that these new made up players and coaches and owners are real for 2 hours. They know they’re not real. These people are also your target market. I like what this film did by creating an alternate universe where the league and all of the teams in it are the same–even most of the history. What they DID change, however, is the names of everyone in the modern version of this reality. As though in the past couple years, this new film universe version of the league came to be. It provided a platform for the filmmakers to pretty much create and manipulate any stories and scenarios that they please. So as far as the target market goes–I think that they will be less annoyed and more excited about the upcoming draft and season.


It has an interesting style to it. The cuts and split-screens are effective for the fast-paced on-the-clock movie that it is. It helps create the urgency even when the urgency isn’t really there. Although at times it makes if feel as if too much is going on with the narrative. 


The script also begs some questions such as why couldn’t they have just traded for other first round picks for their future years. I mean, if the team is that bad, then they must have SOME players that they can use or combine to get more first round picks. However, I do like how the romantic subplot was delicately sprinkled in at the right times with the right amount of frequency.


I definitely liked this film–didn’t love it per se, but liked it a lot. It may be predictable, but it’s also surprisingly suspenseful. It has a fairly high redeeming value. 


Twizard Rating 83

Quick Movie Review: Noah (2014)

Awesome movie! Someone on here said that it had a weak 3rd act, but I totally disagree. I actually thought that the 3rd act is where we saw the most character development. We saw some of them making tough decisions for the sake of all of mankind, and others realized that although God may give you signs to complete a humungous task, He also leaves most decisions up to us–even the biggest of decisions.


It’s probably one of the most thought-provoking blockbusters you will ever see. It makes you think hard about priorities in life. And although showing God’s anger for us as a human race, it also displays His compassion and mercy towards us as humans whom He created in His own image. This film does so many things right and not that many things wrong, so I feel like the only way that someone would give it a a bad review is if it just rubbed them the wrong way.


Twizard Rating: 98

Quick Movie Review: The Other Woman

Throughout the setup of this film I thought I was going to completely hate it. I wasn’t laughing at all and I was actually becoming annoyed with the characters–especially Nicki Minaj’s. But it wasn’t until Leslie Mann gets involved when it turns this stupid premise into a laughable movie. I’ve never been sure of how I felt about her, but her typical self-pitying character actually worked in this one, and I think she was at her career best with her role in this film. She was just hilarious. If it wasn’t for her, I would have hated this movie. The jokes shouldn’t even be all that funny, but her timing and wit make every gag that much better. You don’t realize what she brings to a film until you see one where everything around seems to be caving except for her.


It’s completely predictable and totally ridiculous–especially Mark’s fit-throwing at the end–but if you bear with it for about 25 minutes it will become watchable from there on out. It could have taken a messy turn and become one of those films where three women all fight over the same man and then we’re supposed to laugh at the great distances they go to in order to ruin the other woman. Instead, it showed how a terribly bad thing for 2 people can become something great for both of them mutually. 


Comedy wise, the jokes are not ridiculously clever or even memorable for the most part. Most of the things they did to “get back” at Mark could have been a bit more original. It’s a true case of how solid delivery can make you blind to how unfunny something is. But in the meantime, at least you can enjoy some good delivery. With that said, I can clearly understand why people either loved or hated this film.


Twizard Rating: 74

Quick Movie Review: Rio 2

I really don’t like when films are like this. You know the type–when it’s all against one and everyone is opposing the main character. Kinda like Meet the Parents–except the humor in that film was way too good for it to matter, and the ending was so conclusive that it was worth the trouble. In THIS movie, the ending is all but heartwarming and it’s definitely not worth all the trouble. I mean, when it gets to the point where even his wife takes everyone else’s side it just makes you genuinely mad and frustrated, and it makes the film painful to watch. 


The script is below average and there are way too many subplots. The wife’s attitude towards everything that’s happening is too wishy washy and inconsistent. Nigel’s scenes are too few and far between, as he is hands down the highlight of this movie. All of the scenes that are funny are the ones with him in it–which in itself would make me not completely against watching this movie again. Also, the songs are really fun.


Overall, there may be a nice message, but it just doesn’t have the same originality that the first one had. Kids will love it because of the attractive visuals and colorful characters, but parents will mostly be bored with the exception of the toe-tapping music. 


Twizard Rating: 65