Quick Movie Review: The Fault In Our Stars (2014)

This was an absolutely amazing movie! I feel like those people that didn’t like it could be coerced out of their opinion easily. The acting is great, the script is great, the characters are extremely unique and complex. It’s sad but not depressing–more uplifting. It doesn’t make you cry for crying’s sake. The tears you shed will feel earned and your emotions won’t feel used. And you can’t sleep on the humor in this movie. It’s actually really funny, but the jokes never kill or ruin the emotion and sadness, but instead comfort it. Some may say that Gus and Hazel’s relationship is unrealistic and overly perfect, but just remember that these are people who are facing death in a very real way, so the little things that you and I worry and argue about become unimportant to them. 

To me this was a great film. It just might be the most entertaining love story I think I’ve ever watched.

Twizard Rating: 96

Why "Girl Meets World" Won’t Be Just Another Disney Channel Show

Let’s be honest, the Disney Channel has been going down hill for years now. So much so that it pretty much insults the intelligence of any viewers older than the age of 12. Back in the day I used to watch shows like Even Stevens or Boy Meets World and my parents would actually sit and enjoy the shows with me. Now, the “kids on stage” vibe of Disney’s sitcoms is just too painful to experience. It’s probably because back then we still weren’t far from an era where sitcoms were actually pretty good. Where they didn’t insult our intelligence and where kid’s shows didn’t talk down to kids as much. 

Back in the golden age of sitcoms, it was always the same–the kids were kinda naive and, for a lack of a better term, dumb, and the parents and adults were pretty much always there to catch the kids when they fell or to teach them a lesson. Nowadays, children’s television likes to portray kids unrealistically as the smart, clever ones, while the parents are the oblivious idiots. Not to say that it’s unimportant to show the faults and imperfections of the adults too, but it should be done only to serve the purpose of the episode. These new over-the-top and contrived archetypes are counterintuitive to what the shows should be about. Now I know that it may sound sappy of me, but let’s face it, the reason why we loved the sitcoms we grew up with was because they made us feel good and they taught us life lessons. At least that’s what it was like for me.

So with the Boy Meets World sequel on its way to our TV screens, I was nervous. Nervous that it wouldn’t live up to our expectations. Nervous that it would fall into the dumbed-down world of modern Disney sitcoms. Nervous that it would take all the characters that I had grown up loving and just ruin them. I know everyone kept saying that it would be okay because they had most of the same writers and crew that the first show had, but I know how Disney loves having creative control, and I thought that they may have wanted to keep the new Disney formula as-is.
But then a couple of weeks before watching the premiere of Girl Meets World I had a revelation. I realized that it won’t fall into the format of the last 10 years.  It couldn’t. In order for that to happen they would have to change the already-existing characters from a show that was around far before this age of idiocy. So as long as Cory and Topanga’s characters were the same (not sure why they would change them) this show will serve the same purpose as the ones that I grew up with in the ’90s and before. And after watching the pilot episode I found that I was right. The parents weren’t over the top. Cory was Cory and Topanga was Topanga. As for the other characters, they had way more depth and the personalities were balanced out better. It went a different route than simply making every character in the show overly goofy and hyper. It wasn’t painful. And although there may have been one or two shreds of juvenility in the episode, the show actually taught a lesson. They are adjusting to the new world as well. It may have simply been a fluke that it followed the old format. But then again, i’m pretty sure they know what they’re doing and that it was all deliberate. As long as they don’t forget where their roots are it’s going to be a new and refreshing change of pace (although not so much new–just reestablished). And maybe they will pave the way for others and it will be the beginning of a new era of children’s television for the next generations to be nostalgic about.

Quick Movie Review: Blended (2014)

I’m not the biggest Adam Sandler fan, although there are a few of his movies that I do really enjoy (50 First Dates, Waterboy), but it seems like no matter what, I still end up looking forward to watching his films for some odd reason. I guess I just always know that they’re going to be mindlessly entertaining for the most part and will have at least a couple of funny bits in them–although expectedly disjointed. This movie is no exception. But besides having its 2 or 3 laughable moments, it isn’t a good movie by any means. The story is predictable and far from original. It’s corny. The setup is too long and it takes forever to get the audience into it. There wasn’t enough comedic momentum to really drive the film for any given amount of time. The script was extremely sloppy, and it even seemed as though things had been put together after the fact or added at the last minute. And I’m not saying this as a bad thing–but the randomness was at an all-time high–even for an Adam Sandler film. But it was still entertaining and heartwarming where it needed to be without seeming too fake.

Like I said, it’s really predictable, but I do applaud the filmmakers for not letting the movie unfold in a predictable way. There were a couple of nice plot twists actually. The visuals are really nice, and the set pieces are very detailed–which is something that will probably make people come back for a rewatch.

Overall, it really suffers from sloppiness and lack of structure towards the beginning. But story-wise, the 3rd act saved it for me, and will most likely do the same for the less picky moviegoers.

Twizard Rating: 68

Quick Movie Review: A Million Ways To Die In The West (2014)

Although it’s better than I expected, it still wasn’t as funny or as good as Ted. This film’s purpose was simply to spoof and make fun of westerns. While some of the parodies are really funny, some of them go on for way too long. It’s funny at times, but when the jokes are that rapid and plentiful you’re bound to hit gold every once in a while. 

MacFarlane plays around a bit with gross shock value in this one, but luckily he gets most of it out of his system in the first act. Speaking of which, the setup is way too sloppy and I was really getting the sense that I was going to hate this movie. It didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose at that point. And the jokes felt a little too forced–even for Seth MacFarlane–and he was relying a little too much on crudeness. But eventually Theron and Neeson come in to save it and the film becomes a little more relaxed and free-flowing after that. 

Although there are more misses than hits, there is something for just about everybody. Like all of his work, each person is going to find different jokes funny since MacFarlane’s humor spans a wide range–but that’s also the thing that tends to weigh his films down and makes them inconsistent. He uses every opportunity possible to make a joke, but I still found myself coming up with better alternatives a few times. Personally, I enjoy the jokes that are found in the details. 

If you like his style you probably won’t be disappointed here. It still contains the usual overly self-aware satire that floods pretty much everything that he puts his hands on. Despite everything, the music was actually really good, with a great musical number involving mustaches. 

Twizard Rating: 74

Quick Movie Review: Maleficent (2014)

When Disney created the character of Maleficent back in 1959 I wouldn’t be surprised if they had Angelina Jolie in mind even back then. The role was made for her and not the other way around. With that aside, you don’t really start liking the movie until the 2nd act. The 1st act was rushed and could have been longer. They don’t show enough of the relationship between Maleficent and Stephen and the whole time you want them to fall in love more deeply. So much so that you don’t feel the heartbreak when he betrays her–other than the fact that she loses her wings. But there was no chemistry between the two characters and therefore it’s harder to understand why she is so hurt. But from the point where she curses Aurora onward the film becomes a little more interesting. However, for an origin story, it just didn’t spend enough time on the origin itself. More of it is spent on the actual twist in the well-known story. 

Also, they don’t explain why she doesn’t use magic to grow her wings back–something that they could have done very easily when Aurora was asking her all those questions.

The film does fall on the predictable side at times. Not because of the story itself but because the score, although big and powerful, likes to tell you what was about to happen before it actually happens. A big no-no in my eyes. 

Overall, the script could have been better and it seems like they spent more time worrying about the visuals–even though they are really nice to look at. It also could have had a PG-13 rating along the lines of the Pirates movies. They wouldn’t have had to sweeten it up as much.

Twizard Rating: 82