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All reviews - Movies (7)

X-Men: Days of Future Past review

Posted : 3 years ago on 14 November 2014 07:10 (A review of X-Men: Days of Future Past)

Days of Future Past was so middle-of-the-road mediocre that I have little to say beyond, "cool effects, dude." The action scene with Peter/Quicksilver (?) was the high point of this film for me. Great choice of music, great pacing, lovely compositions there.

Though totally entertaining, it's unaffecting and forgettable. Its thematic resonance was weak in comparison to its predecessor, First Class.

But, uh, Bishop?


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Snowpiercer and Magic Mike Compared

Posted : 3 years, 1 month ago on 9 November 2014 08:39 (A review of Magic Mike)

I just watched [Link removed - login to see]">Snowpiercer and Magic Mike, back-to-back. The latter was a good relief for the former, so while their wrappings are totally different, they were a good double feature.

What was most interesting about watching these particular films together was that they’re married by their basic plots. Read enough books or watch enough movies and you’ll eventually see the same plots crop up. In the case of Snowpiercer and Magic Mike, it was a group of impoverished revolt and two men are bedazzled by an enchanting lifestyle. However, boil the plots down further and they equal the same thing: Snowpiercer and Magic Mike are both films that follow a man’s transformation within a cycle. Chris Evans’ character goes from a self-serving revolutionary to the hero he always wanted to be in Snowpiercer and Channing Tatum’s titular Magic Mike goes from man-child stuck in a rut to a man with a world of opportunity ahead. Both plots inserted their heroes in an unending cycle and both had their leading men break the cycle in order to come to a satisfying ending.

I can only think of Brian McDonald’s wonderful books, [Link removed - login to see]">Invisible Ink and [Link removed - login to see]">The Golden Theme. Both are shorties on screenwriting that hit upon universal truths in good, solid writing. Both Snowpiercer and Magic Mike adhered perfectly to those rules by focusing on characters built from a specific theme that was concluded by the end of the film. What the story was about: a train with the last of humanity onboard or a stripper that takes a new kid under his wing, were window dressing on the story’s true plot (the A to B of a human being changing for the better).

Watching these films and seeing the same plot rehatched in different genres and styles was incredibly enlightening and only made it clear that it doesn’t really matter what the semantics of your story are. Set it wherever you want with whomever you want, but make sure the core of it is figured out.

And since this is specifically pinned on Magic Mike, all I can say is that I didn’t see nearly enough schlongs. C-. Good-bye, folks.


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Captain America: The Winter Soldier review

Posted : 3 years, 1 month ago on 1 November 2014 04:40 (A review of Captain America: The Winter Soldier )

The torrential downpour of dolla' dolla' bills on any Marvel Studios film guarantees their products will be safe as hell in all respects. Marvel shines amongst the blockbuster phenomenons because they do safe so well. When the cast of characters are decades old properties, it's easy to skip out on characterization, but they do a satisfying amount of character building in their stories, which are also (unsurprisingly) solid, but nothing revolutionary. I would say it's their focus on their characters' interior journey throughout the main plot that makes their films more enjoyable than the majority of their peers.

But really, I got no clue, yo.

What I found myself paying special attention to in this film was the visuals, because Marvel pays a buttload for that stuff, so it's going to be good, even when the film itself isn't, and the music. I'm not an aficionado, so deconstructing the soundtrack is a little much for me, but I found (what I assumed to be) the Winter Soldier's theme both effective and interesting in this post-Dark Knight world, especially when paired with Steve's theme. I'm a sucker for music meant to destroy my nerves.

As for visuals: the action sequences are worthy of study. That's a no brainer. I'm personally in love with Captain America's costume design, especially his shield. It's interesting that the shield survives Rodger's initiation and continues to be used into the present. It essentially becomes a symbol because it's the most recognizable element of his costume in his 50's and 2k design. The costumes stood out here and not in Captain America's other appearances because both were featured in this movie, not the others ones (as far as I can remember) and they were both lingered on.

And the closing credits, black and white silhouettes, were a very nice, simple touch. They did a good job of making the wait for the now obligatory teaser an enjoyable one.


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Event Horizon review

Posted : 3 years, 1 month ago on 22 October 2014 04:47 (A review of Event Horizon)

I expected this to be a be a bland 80's horror flick. This expectation may contribute to my high rating, but I suspect that rewatching this film won't change my opinion of it much.

The cinematography, visual language, and set design were phenomenal. The corridors, in particular, were well designed set pieces that created a sense of claustrophobia.


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A Brief Comparison

Posted : 3 years, 1 month ago on 22 October 2014 04:45 (A review of Oldboy)

Oldboy's memorable track shot is re-envisioned for Spike Lee's 2013 remake, a visual comparison between their scenes can be viewed [Link removed - login to see]">on youtube.

Lee’s is more dynamic, but the scene doesn’t carry the emotional impact of the original. In the original, the protagonist struggles. This is communicated through his slow progress to the right, his acting, and the music. Lee’s hero is annoyed, at best. There is no point where his opponents have a real advantage. There is no threat. Their numbers mean nothing when the audience is shown how easily they’re cut down.

Which brings me to this point: what is with those fight moves? Like really? I was able to accept Park's choreography because the tracking shot is identical to a side-scrolling fighter and the moves have the a similar discontent, but Lee is trying to sell a straight up action sequence and the choreography doesn’t cut it. Ball hard or don’t bother.


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Trance review

Posted : 3 years, 1 month ago on 22 October 2014 04:32 (A review of Trance)

Memories are warm. Memories are hot. Just like McAvoy’s eyes.

While the ending left me feeling lukewarm, Trance is oh-so-interesting and has the stylish flair that I've come to expect from Danny Boyle. For those reasons alone, it ranks far above the majority of films that came out in its year.

I kept a special eye on Boyle's color treatment throughout the film. Trance is an islander's wet dream with color saturation turned to 11. Its first act is mostly blue on brown, transitioning through the primaries (red and then yellow).

The first and last shots are an example of creating a closed loop through visual language. One of the first shots in Trance shows the Rembrandt painting, large, in the background with a character overlaid while one of the last shots in the film shows the same Rembrandt in the background, small, and beside a character.


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Paprika review

Posted : 3 years, 1 month ago on 22 October 2014 04:07 (A review of Paprika)

I've been curious about this film ever since I overheard my peers dub Inception as a clone of it. While Inception's big lie (the PASIV device) might have been inspired by Paprika (which shares a similar, if not identical, lie), these films are hugely different in their content and meaning. To dismiss either as a duplicate of the other is unjustified and frankly, calls into question the viewer that would make such a statement.

This film had the signatures of a typical Satoshi Kon work in its style and themes ([Link removed - login to see]">see Tony Zhou's analysis). Most notable was its treatment of reality and the imaginary.

/ in progress


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