Friday, August 14, 2015

Man from UNCLE

This is a fun movie.  Armie Hammer (Lone Ranger) was very good as a Soviet thug.   Henry Cavill  (Superman) played the always in control spy very well.  Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) did a great job too, her character was fun and complicated.  Also the editing was excellent.  

As a kid I enjoyed those over the top spy movies, and Mike Myers' Austin Powers movies.  This movie adds to that cannon of funny spy films.  I never really watched the Man from UNCLE TV series, because I was too young.  Maybe not even alive when it was on the idiot box.

I always think it is absurd in movies and other media how spies, police, etc. are portrayed as flawlessly skilled in all activities.  These spy spoofs are kind of a relief from the Mission Impossble/007 movies where the main character can do anything at anytime.  

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Fantastic Four

How many times are they going to reboot this Fantastic Four?  Four times perhaps?  I guess Fox owns this Marvel franchise, so that is probably part of the problem.  This reinvention of the concept was just ok.  They put the beginning in modern day, instead of using the original ideas.  Kind of a bad idea because the die hard fans will not like a complete overhall of the origin of their powers.  But in this day and age where people do not know the history of WW2 let alone the history of a comic book franchise, Fox is safe.

Still it was an interesting idea, if you are coming at the film not really caring about the original.   In this version the 4 people get their super powers from traveling to a separate dimension, a dimension that the Miles Teller (Whiplash) stumbles on as a wunderkind attempting to move object from A to B in a Star Trek/teleporter style.  

Stretching, flying around on fire, being invisible, being made of rock, all pale, to me, compared to the power to figure out how to travel to a different dimension.  So, to me the whole franchise is a bit flawed from the beginning.  But it was still interesting to watch if you like comic book based action movies with lots of explosions and other special effects.  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Ok, where do we begin with this one, and how do we presume?  I  was worried about seeing this movie, because it looked like a teen movie for the summer, kids being off and all.  But it did receive some award at Sundance, so what the heck.  

First off, the characters, a white teen, a black teen, and a Jewish teen all mashed together, ok.  The black teen character smokes menthols, and talks like a tough guy, seems stereo-typical to me.  Black teen character also lives on tough side of town, his older brother owns a pit bull, and of course the one "fight" in the movie is when the black teen hits the white teen in the stomach.  Oh, I forgot about the  other fight scene where the white rapper kid with corn-rows fights with the white teen character, and the black teen comes to his rescue and beats the crap out of the white rapper kid.  OK.  

The sick girl is dying of leukemia, and she is sick and dies.  

What did I like about this movie?  The idea of learning about someone after they die.  And of course the teacher character, with tattoos, is the one that just straight out says this is what he learned after the death of his father.  

Of course, we learn more about the dying girl after she dies.  She apparently wanted to be a squirrel when she was younger, and ran away to the park next to her house to become one.  

What did I not like?  There was a montage.  Waste of time, to show the passing of time in a movie.  I guess.  For some reason I don't like montages.  Also, the hollywood perfectness of it all.  This main character and his black menthol smoking tough guy friend make 60 something movies together.  Main character gets into college, but then is denied because he spends all of his time seeing this dying girl, and not doing homework.  And dying girl takes time off from dying to write letter to college to try and get main character back into college.  There is a scene where dying girl is confronted with her death in the form of the main character trying to get into college, and she forces main character to apply to college, but dying girl tells main character that she is going to die so no need to apply to college for her.  What about the black character?  No college mention for him that I recall.  This is messy, but what I see as hollywood perfectness of it all is that she wrote the letter, and that he probably gets back into the college.  They leave that part out, that he probably gets back into college.  But there is a scene where the father and mother discuss the situation and the father says it is not the end of the world.  That was kind of interesting and rational.  Also, we meet the main character's parents and the dying girl's mother, but not Earl's parents, just his brother and the brother's dog (are they stand-ins for the parents?).  Also dying girl scene is confusing, first he is going to the prom, but then he ends up at hospital where dying girl is dying.  Did I miss something?  

Also, this movie, I think, was influenced by Wes Anderson, which I think is great.  I love Wes Anderson movies. 

Overrall I liked this movie.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Deep Web

I saw this documentary last night, made by Alex Winter, the guy in Bill &  Ted's Excellent Adventure.  

This was a very interesting and informative documentary about the Silk Road website, and bitcoin.  I have only been moderately aware of these two things prior through the headlines, read a few articles, and there is a subreddit concerning bitcoin.  

This documentary informed me about the possible non-violent intentions of the Silk Road, that I was not aware of at all.  I, like many people, think that the war on drugs is a waste of time, lives, and money.  Drug addiction is a health issue, and should not be dealt with as a crime.  

The documentary made it appear that Ross Ubricht was possibly framed by the government.  Especially concerning the murder for hire charges that were never brought, but were used as excuses to deny bail, and keep information away from the defense.  

The best films make you think and question the way things exist.  The Deep Web definitely makes you think and question our current situation.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Her

I was very surprised by this movie.  I did not think that I would like it.  Joaquin Phoenix has made some strange movies prior, so I thought this would be another one.  

It was set in the near future, the clothes people wore were familiar yet different. The locations they chose appeared futuristic but they were just existing places mashed together.  

 The main character is a personal letter writer, an interesting occupation.  He ends up falling in love with his new operating system, voiced by Scarlett Johansen.  The OS takes the name Samantha.  Some characters think nothing of the idea that he fell in love with his OS, but his ex-wife thinks it is weird.  He actually goes on a double date with his OS and another couple.  

The whole relationship falls apart when the OS outgrows Phoenix's character.  At one point the OS is talking with another AI/OS with the name Alan Watts, the name of a western Buddhist philosopher.  The OS begins having relationships with other people, ending up falling in love with hundreds of other people at the same time.

This film was a well put together science fiction movie, probably the reason I liked it so much.  Also because the movie raises so many questions about love, artificial intelligence, and simulations.  I recently read an interesting comment that said that the first person that copied did something very original by copying.  I usually think of technology as a tool, not something to fall in love with.  In one way the film was like a man falling in love with a hammer or screwdriver.  


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Hobbit: the desolation of Smaug

This is the second installment on the Hobbit trilogy.  This part was much more exciting than the first, which was mostly the gathering and setting out on the journey from the Hobbit's perspective.  This was more the dwarf perspective.  Also Stephen Colbert makes a cameo, which was fun to see.  

The Orcs, spiders, and even Sauron's depictions were spectacular.  There was some clumsiness with the key at the secret entrance to the mountain that was surprising, looked like a rubber hand turning a key.  Maybe they should've focused more on the key and the key hole, and left out the hand.  But that is a small complaint for such a great job they did on this engaging film.  A very action packed movie.  

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hours

We watched this one today.  The last movie with Paul Walker set in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina.  Sad movie with Walkers's character's wife dying during childbirth, the child being born prematurely and needing a respirator, the drama coming from the electrical issues caused by hurricane Katrina.  Of course some looters come into the hospital and Walker's character has to shoot them.  Louisiana, the home of David Duke.  All in all it was a very sad movie.  Thinking about Walker acting mournful.