Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Avengers

I don't do superhero movies. I feel like this is important to note. With that being said, the last superhero movie I saw was Spiderman 3....again, I feel this is an important piece of information.

Why don't I like superhero movies? Primarily, because the CGI is never good enough for me to believe, even for a second, that what I'm watching could possibly be real. I'm all for leaving reality behind for a couple of hours and suspending belief but...green screens are atrocities. Alas, I'm getting ahead of myself!

The Avengers
Directed By - Joss Whedon
Written By - Joss Whedon, Zac Penn, based on the comic book by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby
Top-Billed Cast - Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans,  & Scarlett Johanson 

Basically, the world is being attacked by aliens -gasp!- and the "top" superheros are called in to work together in order to save the planet...and the universe. Shocking plot line, isn't it? Ok, let's just get into it.

Pros - 

* Casting - I realize that most of these people were cast as their superhero alter egos a while ago but I just thought I'd give a shout out to those agencies responsible for snagging these particular people for these particular roles.

* The score was pretty good. I can't really speak on as intense of a level as I usually do on this subject but, I remember noting liking it.

* It's rare for me to not have at least one CSI reference in pretty much anything I watch and this movie did not disappoint. Most of you may not know this but, Jeremy Renner (aka Hawkeye) pretty much played a murderer on CSI. It makes me irrationally happy when I recognize actors not for their starring roles or their break-out performances, but their CSI appearances.

* Speaking of characters we recognize from things past...did anybody spot Chrissy from Growing Pains?? (She was also on CSI for an episode). I'm really not sure why the directors/writers decided to include this character in the movie; I feel it was probably one of those "Hey, I know this actress and she's great, work her in?". I think those times are funny. Characters with no real purpose for the win!

* I enjoyed the comedic timing. That Captain America kid is quite srs. This is a movie about super heros and aliens, people, let's not get toooooo intense.

* Did anybody else get the "Wormtongue" vibe from Loki? Pretty much that's all I thought about. The entire time he was on screen. I'm putting this as a Pro simply because I thought it was funny.

Cons - 

* Can we talk about the aliens for a moment? I mean, I realize that this is based on a comic book which means it was based on drawings...but...really? For the first few minutes of each scene involving that head alien dude, I was frantically searching for his mouth. I'm not sure why, but I feel like if you're going to try to make this thing scary....we should at least be able to see it.

* Speaking of that. Outer-space is a dark place. I understand that, I really do. But this is a movie and in order to enjoy it, I need to be able to see it and designing a set that only the director and cinematographer can enjoy is not very practical. You pay how much money to create this amazing world and you're going to light it so poorly that you could've just used the E.T. ride in Universal and gotten the same effect? Sad.

* Oh that Thor guy. You're Australian. Good on ya! I did not see his individual movie, so I can't comment there but...can somebody explain to me why he and his "brother" had such different accents? Yeah yeah, Loki was adopted...but weren't they raised together? I mean, Loki said that whole "father told me of my true parentage" as if it was a surprise when he found out. Also, just pick an accent. If you are Australian...BE Australian. If you are going to be British...BE British, etc. I don't like inconsistency. It bothers me.

* Speaking of this revelation of parentage. What is this "Twins"? Honestly, you're raised with Thor and you don't wonder if you might have a different father? I'm laughing right now just thinking about it.

* Is Captain America really that serious all the time? Did he even smile ONCE that whole movie? Is he really supposed to reflect America?

* Gwyneth Paltrow. That is all.

* This is a super hero movie and I just don't understand why at the end of EVERY superhero movie, they do the "We hate them! They should die!" montage. I feel that those people interviewed are the Post-Tornado footage people of movies...you know what I'm talking about. If there is a tragic event, those that are interviewed for TV are typically: the most outspoken & the least dressed.

* This WHOLE movie is revolving around this man and his....staff. His magical and blue staff. It's out of his possession numerous times and yet, it takes post-concussion-brain-warped-older-guy to point out that it might be helpful in shutting down this whole thing? Come on ScarJo, think about it.

* Speaking of concussions and brainwashing, I didn't agree with the choice of how they showed the "brainwashed"ness. It was hard to tell on those BLUE-EYED actors when they were for real and when they weren't. Also...concussions fix everything now? Ok. Can we try that with criminals? Please?

Now Mother..
This movie is rated PG-13, mostly for violence. I mean, despite the fact that one of the lead characters carries around a giant blue-tipped stick for most of the movie, there really was only one scene with any type sexual innuendo and it was mostly whispered off microphone. Be prepared to talk about the difference between reality and make believe and possibly government corruption (if you want to go that far). Pretty clean for a movie of the era.

Overall, I enjoyed the process of watching this movie. I enjoyed tearing it apart, too. Even though I don't do superhero movies...I'm glad I made the exception for this one. 3.5/5 stars. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement

Going into this movie, I definitely had some preconceived notions about how funny (or not) it was going to be. I read a few "reviews" (if that's what we're calling user comments on the Fandango app now...) and saw that it wasn't getting very good press. I wasn't deterred. I rarely ever am. I'm a movie lover and even if the movie is horrible, I can at least love hating it.

The Five-Year Engagement
Directed By - Nicholas Stoller
Written By - Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller 
Top-Billed Cast - Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, & Chris Pratt

This movie is about a relationship -gasp!-. Jason Segel plays Tom Solomon, a chef at a high-end restaurant in San Francisco and Emily Blunt, playing Violet Barnes, is his girlfriend. We watch their ups and downs over the course of five years -gasp!- and it's a mostly fun ride. Really, this movie is exactly what it sounds like so writing this synopsis feels pretty pointless.

Pros -

* A lot of the "reviews" that I read stated that this movie wasn't that funny. I disagree. While it was no Bridesmaids (which I can't even think about without cracking up), it was consistently funny.

* I'm an Emily Blunt fan and I felt she did a good job at conveying some of the lesser-vocalized emotions in the film. Also, for such a sex-driven movie (for lack of a better term), I was happy to see that she only took part in 1 uncomfortable segment. See? It's TRUE! You don't have to bare all in a movie to portray proper emotions -gasp!-

* I don't watch The Office...I never have (consistently) but, Mindy Kaling, I'm a fan. I feel that her character in this movie is pretty much the same character she always plays but it doesn't matter because it's always funny. Surprisingly (?), there is a lot of tension in this movie and her character (along with other members of the supporting cast) really help lighten things up.

* If a movie can make me laugh about somebody dying, I can't help but give it props. I mean, granted, that sounds really bad...but if you can laugh at a funeral, something must be going right...right?

* I know I already briefly touched on the supporting cast but, again, they really carried a lot of the movie and did a great job. Allison Brie, playing Emily Blunt's sister, did an excellent job and I didn't even question the accent...that's a big deal.

Cons - 

* This is a Judd Apatow film. WHAT?!? Yes, I'm putting that as a con here. Why? Because I feel that more people will associate that name with the style of movie to which I'm referring than the writers. Writers write it, yes, but producers approve it. If a producer says "no", it doesn't happen.

* I know I just talked about why sex scenes don't work on TV in the post right below this one (check it out!) but, I feel I should highlight some reasons they don't work in movies. I understand that these types of movies rely heavily on crude humor and that a lot of the "funny" stuff comes from uncomfortable situations which, mostly, seem to revolve around awkward sex. But, honestly, I don't need 5 straight minutes of awkward sex in order to feel uncomfortable for the characters involved. Heck, I don't need 1 minute in order for that to occur. Sex scenes in movies are almost always uncomfortable for me because I just can't help but picture everyone else in the room while they're filming it. That's not romantic; that's creepy.

* I think it must be a goal of Jason Segel's to appear nude as often as possible in his films. Good on ya for having that much self confidence, I guess.

* You know you've gone too far with a comedic bit when even the college-aged guys in the theater aren't laughing. That's pretty much the target audience for a lot of the jokes in this movie and they...didn't get it either.

* You know how they say "less is more"? I think that should be remembered in the writer's room when trying to find ways for characters to express: glee, sadness, exhaustion, love, or pretty much any other emotion. There are PLENTY of words in the English language to express these things and I feel that one is degrading the audience's intelligence if you only choose to use one. You know which one I'm talking about.

* For a movie who's entire premise revolves around time and years and the goings on in between...I felt that they didn't do a very good job of communicating where we were in the relationship. I got lost. Several times. At one point I was even questioning the title of the movie because it wasn't five full years...anyway, I digress. I just think this particular plot piece could have used a better bit of continuity.

* Speaking of continuity and time. There are two children in this movie. One never ages. It's like Tuck Everlasting.

* This probably should just be forgotten but, I can't. In the first set of previews, there's a scene in which a child shoots an arrow at Emily Blunt while proclaiming "I'm Pocahontas!" and then, in a later set of previews the child proclaims "I'm Katniss!", instead. I thought the second bit was a lot funnier and thought for sure that they would re-dub the actual film since they did the preview. Nope.

Now Mother..
This movie is rated R. Do society a favor and don't take your kids to see it, please. There were surprisingly few sex scenes for the first hour and a half but boy do those last 30 minutes make up for it! It's not that much is "shown" (technically), but there's still plenty of reasons not to bring the kids. Also, if you want your child to refrain from repeating the F-word when quoting a movie to their friends, this is probably not the right choice for you. It's in pretty much every scene at least once. If you *do* take your kids despite this warning, be prepared to talk about: making sacrifices for those you love, death, cheating, and the importance of finding the right person to spend your life with.

Overall, I enjoyed this movie. For some reason, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get this review to read that way. There are a LOT of reasons why you might not want to see this film and it's not one that I would say would be enjoyed by all. I laughed a lot and I thought it was cute. It is simply, though, a romantic comedy, and I know a lot of people that don't see the point in an R-rated romcom. I get that and I mostly agree. If this movie took out the awkward sex scenes (or at least toned them down or shortened them) and somewhat minimized the F-word usage, it would be JUST as funny and more accessible to audiences. 2.5/5 stars.