Transcendence is the story of Dr. Will Caster, a scientist on the verge of creating the first artificial human being. When he is shot and given four weeks to live his wife and Will's best friend, Max attempt to put his conscience into a computer. It works and the now digital Will demands more power. To get this he is put into the internet where he decides to grow and grow until it gets to a point where he is unstoppable.
Transcendence is a laughable mess. The film's first thirty minutes or so were actually really enjoyable and set the film up for something much greater than how it turned out. Once Will was actually put into the computer the film slowly begun to get scattered, irrelevant, dull and just laughable at times. There are some scenes, that are minor spoilers so be warned, where Will controls people and he talks for them although they keep it in his voice and it's just hysterical, unintentionally of course.
After the first half an hour not a lot happens in the film. Like I said in the previous paragraph, I enjoyed the first half an hour. It was original, intriguing and had a bit of mystery to it. From then on the film just slowed down and begun to repeat scenes over and over and over. The film then proceeds to stand around and watch people talk and walk around. It went from original to boring in the span of a couple of seconds.
Some of the characters are just in the film to be in the film, they have no purpose. Morgan Freeman is the main character that I'm talking about in this paragraph because his character makes no impact into the story. He is literally just in the film so they can advertise that Morgan Freeman is in this movie. He's not even the only character in the film for no reason at all although I really can't be bothered to list them all because it will make this paragraph very long.
There are certain plot points that are just completely ignored by everybody and they all just move on. So many things happen in this film that would at least raise suspensions, but instead they are mentioned once then everybody just moves on. When Will is first put into the internet he puts millions of dollars into his wife's bank account and nobody even blinks. It was ridiculously stupid.
There's one scene of action in the film that was the most pointless scene in the whole movie. Around two thirds into the movie, or just after, there's a scene of confrontation and a bit of shooting, but then people invading just run away with the opposition having easy access to where they went, but it's ignored. I'm not sure how much sense that made, but it was a lot clearer in my head. The action achieved nothing and it was completely boring too.
There are some attempts at humour that feel very out of place. I am a fan of Johnny Depp and I am fond of the goofiness that he brings to most of his movies and towards the start of this film he attempts to do this. The humour in the film is so out of place and just awkward. You can even see Johnny Depp looking a bit embarrassed right after he makes the joke, which he very well should be.
To sum up, Transcendence begins promising although within thirty minutes it morphs into a laughable mess with nothing happening, plot points that are ignored, pointless characters, irrelevant action and lame attempts at humour.
Divergent follows the story of Tris, a young woman living in a futuristic dystopia that has been divided into five fractions. Each fraction represents a different set of skills/abilities. When the person comes of age they must undergo a test to guide them into choosing the right fraction. When Tris' results are inconclusive she discovers that she is a divergent, a person who cannot fit into any group. She must hide to save everyone she loves, including herself.
As predictable as the film is, I actually really enjoyed it. The film was fairly predictable for the most part. It was fairly obvious who's really who and if a character will be dead in the next scene or two, but this doesn't make that large a dent in the overall film as there's a lot of fun to be had here. The film offers decent performances, exhilarating action and a dystopia that really drew me in and got me intrigued.
The performances in the film were fine for what they were. In a lot of young adult book adaptations the performances are just kind of ehh. They're not anything too special and in a lot of cases they can be below average, but in Divergent they're a step up from most young adult fantasy/adventure adaptations. I am a fan of Shailene Woodley, Kate Winslet and even Miles Teller in the few decent films that he's worked on. All of them give fairly decent performances too so there's nothing to complain about here.
The first two thirds of the movie are primarily training sequences and they can be exhilarating. There's plenty of action and fight scenes to go around throughout these intense training sequences The leaders in the fraction that Tris chooses are relentless for the entire time she's training and this brings for some exhilarating, heart racing action including a very fun game of capture the flag. It's not just the training either, there's plenty of scenes that I will not spoil that had me glued to the screen.
The film drew me into this world and had me hooked. I've never read the divergent books so I wasn't already part of the 'fandom' going around and I hadn't really seen a lot of footage for the film so when I was sucked into this world, I was literally surprised. Before seeing the movie I predicted that the length would be a problem because it just didn't sound like there was enough to do in this long time period, but boy was I wrong. The time flew by and I was sucked into another fictional world that I cared about and didn't really want to leave.
To sum up, Divergent was predictable, but this can be ignored because of the exhilarating action, the decent performances for what the film, the runtime flying by and the fact I was drawn into another fictional world and didn't want to leave.
3 1/2 Stars
The Amazing Spiderman 2: Rise of Electro continues the story of Peter Parker. He hasn't kept his promise of staying away from Gwen Stacy and this is starting to haunt him, but this soon becomes to least of his worries as a new foe comes along for Spider-Man to handle. A nobody, Max Dillon is involved in an accident causing him to mutilate into the sinister, Electro. Now Spider-Man faces his biggest threat and must make the toughest decisions he's had to make so far.
This has actually been the most disappointing film this year for me. I am a big Spider-Man fan and even don't mind the third film in the original series (although I haven't seen it in years and will have to rewatch it to confirm that fact) and I loved the first Amazing Spider-Man. The trailers for this actually got me really excited, the enemies united one the most, yet it just let me down. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad movie. Not bad at all. It's just an ok movie.
The first two acts of the film were pretty sloppy, but in the third act the film steps it up a notch. The film two acts featured frequently cheesy writing, reactions and situations. The action was fun to watch, but nothing really special happened. The third act is when the film takes a darker turn and improves upon everything that was previously average. This was until the closing scene of the movie. The closing scene was not just idiotic (the setup for the next movie not being included in this negative point), but it was also shown in the trailer, which I will talk more about soon. Other then that aspect the rest of the third act was actually brilliant.
The villains of the film were disappointing too. The film is titled 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro' yet Electro doesn't really have an awful lot to do in the movie. He's kind of there and then he's taken by Oscorp (not a spoiler as it occurs after we first see him as Electro) then he doesn't really do anything until the final act. There were two other villains teased in the trailer although they're major spoilers to the film, but seeings as everybody already knows about them I shall discuss them anyway. The Rhino is here to set up the Sinister Six movie, but his very short two scenes were just idiotic. Plus Green Goblin, who is more pivotal to the story than Electro, doesn't show up until the final half an hour. None of the villains did a lot in the film.
The trailers for the film literally could not show anymore of the film. I will be discussing some minor spoilers in this paragraph although I will try keep it as minimal as possible, but all of these scenes can be found in the trailer. Pretty much every scene of the film was teased in some way in the trailer. Three major spoilers for the film as well: The Green Goblin, Rhino and the Man in the Hat. All of these characters were freaking spoilers (pardon my language). It's not just that either, pretty much every action scene has been seen before. I could go on and on about the spoilers shown, but that's a review on its own.
Somehow the two and a half hour runtime flew by. I guess deep down I actually enjoyed this film, deep deep down, because the time flew by. I checked my watch when the second act was nearing its close and was actually surprised that the second act was nearing its close. I didn't hate the film, but it wasn't great either, and part of the reason why was because the runtime flew by. It can be fun when it needs to be, but it's mostly mediocre. Plus that credits scene was an absolute waste of time.
To sum up The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro was extremely disappointing. The first two acts were poorly written, sloppy and cheesy with the occasional cool bit of action. The third act, though, was great and the film's runtime flew by.
2 1/2 Stars
The Grand Budapest is essentially story-ception. It is the story of a writer who is recounting the events of his stay in the Grand Budapest hotel. On his stay he comes across the owner, Mr. Moustafa and he recounts the events of how he became the owner of the hotel. The film's real protagonist is from this story, M. Gustave, a legendary concierge who gets involved in an art heist and a series of murders. There's not a lot to write about the story without giving anything away, but this was my best attempt.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is the most Wes Anderson film that Wes Anderson has ever made, plus it's certainly his best. I, myself, am a fan of Wes Anderson. He is probably the most unique filmmaker of all time and his films are delightful to watch. This film may just be his crowning work. It features all of his styles and they're used to the full extent. This, of course includes his use of silhouettes, stylistic cinematography, simple yet hilarious humour and at least a dozen roles from his favourite actors. It was a wonderful film indeed.
The film crams so much into it's short runtime that it feels like much longer and this isn't a flaw. In fact it's a compliment. The film only runs for an hour and forty minutes yet there's so much too it that it's able to tell the same amount of story as a film that goes for over two hours does. I'm not complaining either as I actually wanted to see so much more.
Ralph Fiennes gives the single greatest performance in his career. Fiennes was already a brilliant actor prior to starring in this film, plus he's nearly unrecognisable as Voldemort in the Harry Potter series, but here he is at his best. He has never been better. His performance in this film is so alive and full of energy. He's able to deliver his occasionally foul mouthed and always hysterical lines with such precision that none of the humour ever feels like it's being forced or out of place. This is another aspect of the film that appears commonly in Wes Anderson films and I love it.
The film never slows down once. What I love about Wes Anderson is that he is able to make films that are so fast paced and unique that you never want them to come to an end, but unfortunately that is inevitable. Once The Grand Budapest Hotel got going the film just never stopped and before I knew it, the film had come to an end. I was disappointed when the credits commenced, but not because it was underwhelming, but because I was sad that it was over. There truly isn't any films that are like Wes Anderson's films.
To sum up The Grand Budapest Hotel is a real tricky film to review. It's delightful to watch, energetic and alive. The film is able to tell a lot in its limited runtime, Ralph Fiennes is at his finest and the film is incredibly fast paced.
4 1/2 Stars
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is the English version of a movie that came out two years prior to the release of this movie. It follows the story of Mikael Blomkvist who is hired to investigate the disappearance and presumed murder of a sixteen year girl who went missing forty years ago. After some time alone, when things are going in no particular direction, he is aded by Lisbeth Salander, a young, punk computer hacker.
Having not seen the original movie or read the book, I was very impressed by this movie. I didn't really know an awful lot about this movie besides from the storyline on IMDb, the director and the main actor and reading all three of these things made me instantly interested in the film. So, naturally, I went out and I rented a copy of the film and I was not disappointed at all. In fact it was much better than I thought it was going to be, it even went in a slightly different direction to where I thought it would.
The film features a few scenes that were very hard to watch. I will not talk about what happens in any of these scenes because, yes, they are spoilers. Anyway there is about four or five scenes that had me on the verge of covering my eyes. I can handle a lot of things in movies, but a few of the scenes in this film almost went too far. This does of course show how brilliant the film was made however.
The film had me hooked and then continued to make my heart race up until the very end. When I was viewing the movie I could not even blink because I was that hooked on the movie. There was no telling where the film was going or what would happen next because it's very unpredictable and shocking. There's so many characters that act normal then turn out to be completely different and in most cases psychotic. My heart was pounding in my chest for nearly the entire length of the movie.
The performances in the film were exceptionally brilliant. I am a fan of Daniel Craig, especially the Bond films in which he is perfect, and I haven't really seen Rooney Mara although she's unrecognisable in this role. I have to admit that I couldn't really figure out who she was until I looked it up after the movie. I've only seen her in one or two roles, but here she just looks unbelievable and the dedication she gives to her role is stomach turning. It's easily both of their best performances that I have seen.
The editing and the direction make a perfect mix. I am a massive David Fincher fan, I've seen all but two of his movies as of now, and this film suits his style of filmmaking to perfection. The film is dark, disturbing and not frequently violent (not to say that it's violent-less) and that's what he's famous for. The editing in the film was superb as well and it was more than deserving of the editing Oscar win.
To sum up The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo exceeded expectations with a few hard to watch scenes, a heart pounding storyline, dedicated and believable performances and a perfect mix of editing and direction.
4 1/2 Stars
The Lego Movie follows the story of Emmet, a regular everyday Lego construction worker who, when finishing up work for the day, discovers the piece of resistance. Discovering this makes all the "master builders" believe that he is the prophesied chosen one and so he now teams up with these master builders to put a stop to the evil Lord Business by using the piece of resistance.
The Lego Movie is so much more than just an advertisement for Lego. I read an interview in the news paper prior to watching this movie about when the idea for the film was pitched everyone presumed it was a feature length advertisement for lego, but when they read the scripts they were just blown away and so was I. The Lego Movie was so much better than I thought it was. It was unfortunate that Australia had to wait an extra two months to get the movie, but in these two months all I was hearing were positive things which gave me high hopes and these hopes were surpassed!
The film will be remembered for two main things, both of which will undoubtably make you smile no matter what mood you're in. When I saw two things that is really an understatement. The film will be remembered for a lot of things, but there's two standouts that standout in the list of standouts, if that makes any sense what so ever. The two moments were the continues cries of "SPACESHIP!" by an eagerly energetic astronaut and the continuously playing song "Everything is Awesome" which since finishing watching the movie I have downloaded onto my phone and have listen to several times already.
There's a lot of humour throughout, most of which isn't original, but still highly entertaining. There's a lot of jokes that everyone can find funny or relate to or just laugh about because it's so well written. A lot of the hilarious situations may not be the most original, but in the context given they're done exceedingly well and even altered every so slightly to fit the scene. Despite not being overly original with some of the humour it was still an all-round entertaining movie with Liam Neeson and Will Ferrell giving standout performances.
The first 5-10 minutes were good, but after that it just gets great. What I'll be talking about in this paragraph will be said by most people, but that's simply because it's true. The first 5-10 minutes of the movie were entertaining, but they just weren't that great. It was off to a rocky start. There's a scene where Emmet finds the piece of resistance followed by an emotionally upsetting scene (which also introduced us to the as always entertaining Liam Neeson) and from then on the film just got better and better and better and by the end of the movie it was absolutely brilliant.
The film really begun to play with my emotions. Yes that's right I was getting emotional in a movie about talking lego characters. This film was written and directed by the people who made 21 Jump Street so I was literally astonished when things begun to get sad and emotional for our poor little yellow friend and I really felt bad for him and the people of his ordinary Lego world. I wasn't disappointed either.
To sum up The Lego Movie was much more than a Lego advertisement. It was memorable, humorous and surprisingly emotional. The first five minutes were just above mediocre, but after one scene it just got great.
4 1/2 Stars
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the latest entry in the Marvel cinematic universe. It continues the story of Steve Rogers who is adjusting to the modern era quite well, except for one thing. He's struggling to try and help his country like he did back in the 40s, but soon a new threat arises that's hardly been heard of before and is practically impossible to locate, the winter soldier.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is one of the darkest entries into the Marvel universe so far. As this series has gone along the film have begun to get darker and darker and face bigger threats with bigger consequences, but Captain America: The Winter Soldier manages to be the darkest, most intense and jaw dropping film of the series. Doing this also makes the film one of the best Marvel movies to date, closing in on the standards of The Avengers which is still at my number 1 spot. The more I think about this movie the more I realise that it is certainly one of the best sequels ever made and the best sequel of the Marvel universe.
The action sequences are unbelievably amazing. Who ever choreographed these fight sequences has just stepped it up on a notch over the previous films as they were just unbelievable. The one on one combat was done so incredibly and make my heart race and my palms sweat, but what made them do that more was the larger scale action. Every single moment of action in this film was done with such elegancy and pretty much done to perfect. It's some of the greatest action I've ever seen although I will be watching and hopefully reviewing the Raid soon so this could end up seeming like noting compared to it.
The film doesn't seem to focus as much on the heroes, but more the people in the suits. A major part of the storyline in the film is that Captain America and Black Widow are being hunted down by members of SHIELD which means that they don't have as much access to heroes as they normally would and they aren't dressed up in there outfits as much which isn't a bad thing. The film allowed us to care more about who these people really were and we were able to watch as the conflict happens between Steve Rogers and the Winter Soldier, not Captain America because in some instances they're almost like two different characters all together.
The trailer focussed more on the final action scene and didn't show a lot from the other ones. This isn't a negative thing I have about the film, but more a negative thing I have about the trailer for the movie. The trailer really advertises the final action scene and shows a great deal of it which was fairly annoying because by the time I got around to watching that part, I already had a basic idea of what was going to go down. The good thing though was that there were several other action scenes that I was oblivious to what was going to happen and some of them just made my jaw drop. As I said in a previous paragraph they were just incredible.
Just like the first Captain America, it really ties into the next Avengers movie. I was a big fan of the first Captain America, although a bigger fan of this one, but it was essentially a two and a half hour long advertisement for The Avengers. Captain America: The Winter Soldier occasionally becomes an advertisement, but it's done in such a clever way that it hardly feels like it until the film's all over so it really isn't a negative aspect of the film. And just like the film film there's a scene in the credits, or in this case a scene during and after the credits, that teases upcoming Marvel movies so make sure to stay around for those.
To sum up Captain America: The Winter Soldier steps it up from previous Marvel films with bigger action, a darker storyline, focussing more on the people in the suits rather than the suits themselves and one of the most teasing credits scene ever.