Her (2013)

My review for Her is a review that I have put off for quite some time. I had a hard time sitting down to write this because I expected to love this movie and I didn’t. That’s not to say I didn’t think it was good, because it is. It just didn’t meet my expectations and part of my thinks I need to watch it again. In a year full of so many great and good movies, I still thought this would have made my top 10 of the year and it just may have fallen short. Maybe my expectations were too high or maybe it was the previously mentioned high quantity of quality of films this year. Regardless of the reason, it’s time to move on to the movie review itself.

Joaquin Phoenix’s resurgence to acting in odd, difficult, but powerful roles has been amazing. His character in The Master was complex and now he takes on a role where his love interest and on-screen partner is essentially a smart phone. He plays Theodore, a lonely card writer who is infatuated with the idea of love but doesn’t have it in his own life. That is until he purchases the latest operating system for his smart phone, a system that is programmed that is to meet his every need. His operating system is known as Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson, who is amazing in this movie. How can just a voiceover in a non-animation film be so great you ask? Because it’s Scarlett Johansson! She has a beautiful voice and was written such a playful and interesting script. This movie is carried by these two characters, which worked very well considering one character is a phone. Amy Adams continues her great work this year in a supportive role as one of Theodore’s closest friends. Rooney Mara and Chris Pratt also add to this strong cast.

So why didn’t I love it? Spike Jonze wrote and directed a very good movie. He sold me on an unlikely relationship of a man and his smart phone, which wasn’t an easy task. Her had a few slow parts but what movie doesn’t these days with the length of movies being released nowadays. I think I just need to watch it again. So maybe this review is incomplete. I will leave you with that… for now.

Rating – B

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August: Osage County (2013)

August: Osage County can best be described as family disfunction at it’s finest. A life altering event brings together the Weston’s, a rural Oklahoma family built around strong wills, a lack of communication and substance abuse. The movie takes hard turns for the dark but is able steer back to hilarious comedic moments in seconds. The combination is put together like a great roller coaster ride and done in a near perfect way. I would rank this as one of the funniest movies I have seen all year, which is sort of shocking to say when you consider some of the many dark moments that take place during this film.

I’m not even gonna say that Meryl Streep was amazing in it because that goes without saying. She was able to portray addiction and depression in such a powerful way. You add Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep together and you might have the Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen of actresses right now. They are great apart but I loved the report between the two. Any time there was a meal being served it was time to buckle up, comedy and dark moments were soon to follow.

The movie is based off a popular play written by Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner Tracy Letts, so the writing is obviously fantastic.  Pair that with the powerful actresses I already mentioned, plus many more great actors and actresses and you get a Top 10 movie of 2013. The dark moments are very dark and at times can be draining, but don’t let that deter you from seeing this movie. I am very excited to see this again and would recommend everyone sees it.

Rating – A

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Pacific Rim (2013)

Pacific Rim is the perfect combination of the things I like about the Transformers movies with an Iron Man twist and Godzilla like creatures from the sea. The fighting robots are awesome and it’s strange that Michael Bay can destroy that theory repeatedly with Transformers. Regardless, this review is about Guillermo del Toro and how he was able to nail the Summer action movie concept. When it comes to blockbuster Summer movies, I am looking for lots of action and special effects.

Writing can take a back seat if the visuals are captivating enough but in Pacific Rim the writing liked the over used action movie lines and scenarios which can drive me nuts when not done well. The “I know you’re out of the game now but we need you back, the world depends on you,” type of lines get old. There has to be a more creative way to do that, or at least don’t make it so glaringly obvious and cliché.

I enjoyed the movie and the cast but it did see light on star power. Charlie Hunnam’s great on Sons of Anarchy and I think he could be a good movie actor as well, but I don’t understand why he was handed the lead action hero role. He just seemed out-of-place to me and he didn’t bomb in this role, I just think they could have casted someone a little better. Idris Elba is a favorite of mine, like many others, from his character in The Wire, so I am happy to see him get more and more good projects. Rinko Kikuchi came out of nowhere for me and I really enjoyed her performance. Not often does the male action hero come with a kick ass female partner. This is a really fun movie and has some solid comedic moments provided by two interesting scientists played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman. Add in Rob Perlman and it was just hard not to think of Sons of Anarchy while watching. Didn’t hurt the movie and I thought Ron was good in his role as the black market dealer, I just got distracted for a second.

This movie touches on a common theme of 2013, the apocalypse, and again the status of the world is in danger and we must overcome overwhelming odds. Pacific Rim was more fun than any other apocalypse movie of this year and I don’t think it’s close. Check it out!

Rating – B

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Last Month in Watched It: January 2014

What I Watched in January 2014

 

Movies:

  • American Hustle (2013)
  • 12 Years A Slave (2013)
  • Lone Survivor (2013)
  • Frozen (2013)
  • August-Osage County (2013)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
  • Cutie and the Boxer (2013)
  • Dallas Buyer Club (2013)
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (2013)
  • Her (2013)
  • Captain Phillips (2013)
  • Coming to America (1988)
  • Grown Ups 2 (2013)
  • Pacific Rim (2013)
  • Prisoners (2013)

The Good:

T

The Bad:

I

The Old or Surprisingly Good:

I