Best Thing About It: Passes the Apollo 13 test – I know how it ends, but I am still tense and interested
Worst Thing About It: Some of the American supporting characters are really stereotyped 1970s – although in real life they may have been that way too
Oddest Thing About It: The constant CGI of the World Trade Center reminded more more of how I thought of them during my childhood (boxy, powerful, iconic) than as just 9/11 images. This is a good thing.
Overall: The walk on the wire itself itself is worth it especially in IMAX 3D. Breathtaking. JGL somehow let me believe he was a Frenchman (which he actually speaks) despite that outrageous accent. Twin Towers CGI was fantastic. 1st half a little whimsical. 2nd half is spellbinding.
Rating: 3 RaMaKs (3 ½ perhaps if you see it in IMAX 3D)
About: A whole bunch of people risk their lives to touch the tallest point on earth. It doesn’t go well.
Starring: Jason Clarke as Nice, Josh Brolin as Texas!!!, Jake Gyllenhaal as Drunk Reckless Cool, Keira Knightley as One Who Makes You Cry, Robin Wright as Her Character from House of Cards.
Directed: Baltasar Kormákur – He’s from Iceland; don’t pretend you’ve heard of him.
Best Thing About It: Visuals of Everest – but the IMAX film from 1998 is so much better.
Worst Thing About It: Huge cast must be impossible to keep track of – but it doesn’t matter as everyone either a one note part (Texas!) or completely bland.
Oddest Thing About It: Having once-upon-a-time binged on the Everest 1996 disaster (multiple books, terrible TV movie, met Peach Weathers, wrote a High Holy Day sermon on it), I already knew who was going to die, so it took most of the tension out of the film.
Overall: Visual appealing film about terrible disaster mostly caused by human lust for somewhat meaningless accomplishment. Beck Weathers and Jon Krakauer at least find significance out of the events in their books. The film just ends with where-are-they-now postscripts.
Starring: Tom Cruise at his charismatic best, Jeremy Renner as Throwaway Second Fiddle, Simon Pegg as Comic Relief, Rebecca Ferguson as New Girl, and Ving Rhames as I am the 1 Black Person in each of the 5 films
Best Thing About It: Ridiculous over-the-top students (and knowing Cruise did his own stunt work)
Worst Thing About It: Prime Minister’s being the only voice for the Red Box. What if there were new elections?
Oddest Thing About It: How much Rebecca Ferguson looks like previous M:I star Michelle Monaghan. Ethan Hunt has a type.
Overall: High-octane and lots of fun. A great popcorn film amazing carried once again by 53-year-old cruise
Jurassic World is definitely a sequel. It offers far too numerous homages and call-backs to the first film, but it also runs like a reboot with a plot that is identical to the original movie. It is saddled by many of same failings of other actions films. The characters are all one-dimensional and never branch out beyond an initial casting call description. The exception is “frigid boss woman” played by Bryce Dallas Howard. We know from the first moments she will eventually “lighten up” in order to be a suitable match for the easy-going hero (Chris Pratt). As is found regularly in PG-13 action today, the body count is incredible high with many innocent bystanders being horribly and anonymously killed, but off-screen and bloodless, so the movie thinks it is okay.
The security system was in the Jurassic World amusement park is really really terrible – especially notable as it is an amusement park located on an island with giant carnivores and a troubling past. I am sure Disney does more to contain The Big Bad Wolf and Beast at Dsneyworld than Jurassic World does to its dinosaurs. The special effects are impressive, but lack a wow factor 22 years after Spielberg’s original. We’ve seen dinosaurs and lots of other cool CGI beasts since then. Only the big sea dinosaur (who apparently isn’t a dinosaur but mosasaur) was really exciting.
But despite it’s flaws, I was rooting for the characters and got caught up in the tension. It’s a fun, summer action blockbuster to be seen in theaters and mindlessly enjoyed.
Spy is the exact same movie as Kingsman: The Secret Service, but written by adults. They have almost identical plots, lots of mind-blowing action, and laugh out-loud comedy. But Kingsman would devolve into the completely crass jokes, most notably the final scene of the movie.
Spy has its share of sophomoric jokes, but they are generally funny. Melissa McCarthy is outstanding with both sharp verbal humor and believable actions scenes (that are completely unbelievable) giving homage to James Bond (including the opening credits and song), Jackie Chan, and others. Post-credits funny scene alert.
Final Result: A very funny action-comedy worth seeing
This year there is supposedly suspense – Best Picture between Birdman and Boyhood; Best Actor between Michael Keaton and Eddie Redmayne.
But there is no suspense when you do the picking yourself. Welcome to my picks for who I would vote for if I had an Oscar ballot. This is not who WILL win. This is who SHOULD win. Oscar voters are notorious for voting with their heart – for their favorite actors, to reward past performance, and to vote against films and filmmakers. I’m no better.
And unlike many Oscar voters, I’ve seen all the nominees in the Top 8 categories.
Picture – Selma – Although I picked The Grand Budapest Hotel as my favorite film of the year, Selma is a better choice for the “Oscar.” Yes, I’m a sucker for the pomp and circumstance of Oscar, the “importance” of it. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t write a blog post about it.