Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

To reiterate a point from my review of Star Trek, I am not a Trekkie, and in saying that again I loved this movie. For non Star Trek fans it all seems like a lot to catch up on and understand, but in actuality that wasn’t the case.

My main flaw with Star Trek was the villain Captain Nero. He was very bland for me but like the Batman Begins, the movie is more of an origins story and the villain isn’t all that important. In this film, Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) was excellent. He was everything that Starfleet was and always one step ahead. At times he seemed like a Captain America type character of Starfleet. Khan also walked the line at first of good vs evil vs misunderstood. As a non Trekkie, I knew he was evil but didn’t know his back story or how it played out.

The rest if the cast was great again, except Karl Urban as Bones. I like Karl Urban the actor but at times this character seems cartoony and over the top. I don’t know if that’s an accurate portrayal of Bones in the TV series but for me he could be toned down. If his intent is comic relief, then he’s batting about .250.

Overall the movie was great but if had to complain about something, it would be the ending. It wrapped up quickly, neatly and conveniently. They should have left it more open and left if dark. Instead we got a nice tight bow which isn’t bad but could have been better. Also, holy lens flares JJ Abrams.

Rating – 9/10

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Only God Forgives (2013)

I won’t get too wordy with this review to keep with the theme of the movie. Basically we have a classic tale of revenging a brother’s death, with a twist of the brother deserving his fate. Ryan Gosling is great and I refuse to hide my man crush on him, but this movie fell way short of the lofty bar Nicolas Winding Refn’s movie Drive set.

It’s possible to be very interesting and not say much but this movie didn’t hit that for me. When there was dialogue I was in all the way, like the dinner scene with Julian (Ryan Gosling), his mother Crystal (Kristen Scott Thomas), and his “girlfriend” Mai (Yayaying Rhatha Phongam). That was an excellent scene filled with tension and anxiety.

The movie was fairly average and more dialogue would have helped it. I know Winding Refn’s style can work, just not here.

Rating – 4/10

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Oblivion (2013)

My immediate reaction to Oblivion was that it was similar in many ways to Moon, The Road, and several others. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it didn’t differentiate itself from the rest enough. In saying that, Oblivion was enjoyable for what it was, a Summer blockbuster movie.

Jack played by Tom Cruise, is one of the few people left on Earth after an alien war destroyed most of the planet and the moon. His mission is to repair drones and patrol the area for these aliens known as Scavs. Also in this area are giant spacecrafts that take in ocean water and send it to space to supply energy and resources to Titan, the headquarters and new home of Earth’s people. Jack’s partner and presumed wife is Victoria (Andrea Riseborough,) that is until a spaceship crash lands and Jack discovers what ends up being the sole survivor, Julia (Olga Kurylenko.) That is when the movie takes off and we are also introduced to Beech, played by Morgan Freeman, a short time later.

The movie was directed by Joseph Kosinski, who also directed TRON: Legacy, a movie I couldn’t get into at all. Kosinski’s movies have been visually appealing and that’s what makes me excited about his future products. Beyond that, his films have been very average.

Oblivion was about what I expected and that’s all I can ask for from a Summer movie. It wont hang on to a Top 10 spot in this years Watched Its but for now it’s on the list… Barely.

Rating – 6/10

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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

In Christopher Nolan’s “final” entry into the Batman saga, The Dark Knight Rises, Batman aka the Cape Crusader must rise above his new reputation as the villain and once again save Gotham City. This time Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) is a brittle man and his body is deteriorating from all the abuse he took as Batman. Batman has gone into hiding after taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s death and the majority of the Gotham’s people have vilified him.

We are introduced to the main villain, Bane (Tom Hardy,) in another great opening scene. It wasn’t as effective as the Joker’s opening scene but it was still great edge of your seat action. Bane is a powerful man with a mask that helps him breath and giving him a “Darth Vader” like voice. Anne Hathaway makes her appearance as Selina, who we later find out spends her nights as a burglar later to be assumed as Catwoman. Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Blake adds another level of excitement  to the movie, while Morgan Freeman as Fox and Michael Caine as Alfred add continued humor and heart to their characters.

The Dark Knight Rises struggled to get rise above the greatness that was The Dark Knight and that is not Nolan’s fault. If The Dark Knight Rises came before The Dark Knight, this movie would have received much more praise and less criticism. It is a very good movie on the year but in the long run, The Dark Knight will be the movie most remembered from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Rating – 9/10

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Star Trek (2009)

To start this off, I must let you know that I am not a Trekkie. In the battle of Star Wars vs Star Trek, I come down on the Wars side of the debate. I don’t know the lingo, the classic sound effects, or all the character names of Star Trek but none of that stopped me from loving this movie. I have now watched it twice, once back when it was released in 2009 and today. Knowing I enjoyed it the first time, I knew I missed a lot of the smaller details that life long Trekkie’s would have caught. Obviously I still wasn’t able to catch them all I’m sure but none the less this movie had a sort of origins feel to it for me.

James Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto), obviously, carry the movie with their good-natured competitiveness as well as their subsequent friendship. Since I’m not a Trekkie, as I clearly stated before, the villain was my only issue. The motive behind the villain was great and his massive planet destroying fire drill was even better but Captain Nero (Eric Bana), was sort of bland for me. It didn’t harm the film because there was plenty of other elements to like, and maybe Captain Nero is a famous Star Trek villain, I honestly don’t know.

Rating – 9/10

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The Dark Knight (2008)

“Here… We… Go.” The Dark Knight is Christopher Nolan’s second entry in to his Batman saga and by far his best. This critically acclaimed masterpiece is one of, if not the best sequels of all time. Nolan continues to show us beautiful imagery in some of the best filmmaking I have ever seen, while Christian Bale continues to deliver his dark performance as the Cape Crusader.

The part of this movie that stands out above the rest is Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker. Ledger’s Joker is chilling, wreck-less, and seems to lack a true motive. From his make-up, to his mannerisms, to his facial expressions, Ledger encapsulates the character of the Joker. Scene to scene he grabs the audience, including one of the best opening scenes that I have seen in a long time.

It is such a devastating blow to the acting community that Heath Ledger is gone at such a young age. RIP Heath Ledger.

 

Rating – 10/10

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Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins is the first installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, which gave us an epic origins story behind the Cape Crusader and Gotham City. This was one of those movies where as I was exiting the theater, I immediately wanted to purchase another ticket and watch it all again. An absolute perfect beginning to my favorite superhero of all time… Batman.

The storyline and villains are good, but the most interesting part of the movie, for me, is the story of how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) became Batman. The story has been told several times in the past, but never did it grab the viewer like Christopher Nolan was able to do in Batman Begins. How does the child of a very wealthy family become a crime fighting bad ass with unlimited gadgets and awesome vehicles? Nolan does it all in a way that only Nolan can do. He is one of the top directors in filmmaking right now, consistently putting out beautiful big budge projects.

Rating – 9/10

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21 Jump Street (2012)

Regarded as one of the funniest movies of 2012, 21 Jump Street definitely lived up to the hype for me. Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are a lethal team of comedic cops, out to stop a new age drug from taking over one high school and spreading to others. Schmidt and Jenko go undercover as high school students and are out to stop Dave Franco, James Franco’s younger brother, who plays Eric, the ecofriendly, popular, drug dealing student. Rob Riggle, Ice Cube, and Nick Offerman all also stand out in this hilarious comedy.

We all knew Jonah Hill would bring the comedy to this movie despite what we saw in The Sitter, but what really surprised me was how funny Channing Tatum was. The writing was terrific but he still had to be able to deliver and sell the role and he did that and more. Channing Tatum has a chance to be a power house actor in big budget action movies, as well as comedy duo type roles. This movie was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see more from this duo as the sequel is set for release in 2014.

Rating – 9/10

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The Bad News Bears (1976)

While at home with my son this past week, I decided it was time for him to see The Bad News Bears. No not the miserable 2005 remake starring Billy Bob Thornton, but the original 1976 film starring Walter Matthau. The movie is a classic baseball movie for a father and son to share together. Oh wait, did I mention my son is 4 months old? Ok, so this was all for my enjoyment and enjoy it I did.

Coach Buttermaker is one of the greatest movie coaches of all time. In a world when dads try to relive their little league years through their kids, why wouldn’t you have an old, care free, alcoholic, ex minor league player as a coach. The movie is very funny and has a charming ending to it. Walter Matthau is on of my favorite actors all time and baseball is my favorite sport. Watching this classic again was an easy call for me.

Rating – 9/10

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This Month in Watched It: July 2013

What I Watched in July 2013

Movies:

    • Extract (2009)
    • 21 & Over (2013)
    • The Watch (2012)
    • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Good:

The completion of the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy came in as the best movie I saw this month. The Dark Knight Rises is the weakest of the three Nolan Batman movies but it gives viewers a little more of what they loved from the first two. It’s a 9/10.

The Bad:

I have always been a fan if high school or college raunchy comedy movies, but I just turned 27 and maybe I’m maturing. 21 & Over is not a good example of these raunchy youthful comedies I enjoy. I laughed several times but a lot of what I was watching had been done before. Far from a refreshing take. 3/10

The Old or Surprising:

I caught up with 2009’s Extract but I would rather talk about a movie that is being panned called The Watch. It doesn’t look good based on the trailer. It shouldn’t be a movie I enjoy but I did… a lot. I gave The Watch a 8/10 and I stand by it. Cast had great comedic chemistry. Give it a chance.