I did not expect to get around to reviewing this this weekend, but I did get around to watching it so here's my review! Maleficent is a live action adaptation of the classic Disney animation, Sleeping Beauty, but from the perspective of the villain, Maleficent (Angelina Jolie). It begins by exploring the origins of the character, but after her best friend (Sharlto Copley) betrays her so he can become the king, she seeks vengeance. An opportunity arrises when the king's wife gives birth to a child (Elle Fanning), a child which Maleficent decides to curse for all of time.
Maleficent was a real let down. Oddly enough, I was somewhat of a fan of 2012's Snow White and the Huntsman although it was nothing extraordinary. I'm also a big fan of the original Sleeping Beauty and the premise of this film sounded really intriguing, the trailers were nothing special on the other hand. I went into the film with not a large expectation, but glimmers of hope and what the film delivered was a sloppy, horribly written, predictable, cliched mess.
The only real "good thing" about this movie were the two main actors. Angelina Jolie proves once again that she is a great actress even when she's working with a horrid screenplay. There is no better choice to play the infamous Disney villain that her, she looks the part and can act the part too! I was also taken back by Sharlto Copley, Elysium being the only other film I can name that he's been in. He was great as the villain despite the horrendous screenplay that he had to work with. The rest of the cast was just average, a few of them unfortunately being less than that. Aside from the two leads there's nobody in the film that really stands out.
The first act of this film featured some of the worst moments in film that I've seen all year. There isn't a single moment in the entire first act of the movie where I would think to myself "yeah that wasn't too bad" as it was unbelievably terrible. The acting by the two kids was cringe worthy, the special effects were laughable and the writing, well the writing deserves its own paragraph for me to complain about.
Maleficent featured a horrific, cliché filled screenplay with some of the worst dialogue in a Disney movie ever. Words can't express the hatred that I have towards the screenplay of this movie. I wasn't aware of this until after I saw the movie, but the writer, Linda Woolverton, was also responsible for writing The Lion King! THE FREAKING LION KING! How could the person behind one of the greatest, most tear jerking animated movies of all time create such an awful movie? The film features many moments of unnecessary dialogue where the characters narrate their actions so that the audience gets a better idea of their intentions. This works frequently in animated films, an example being the Lion King so it shouldn't be a surprise that it was in this film too, but it never ever in a million years works in live action films (yes, that is my professional description of this movie: never ever in a million years).
Ignoring the fact that I've seen the original Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent was very predictable. If I was unaware of what was to happen later on in the movie, I'm restraining myself from detailing the many spoilers that I'm far from happy with, then I would still be able to work out what was going on. The film tries to add in some extra characters to change up the story a little, but this just resulted in the film becoming twice as predictable and twice as dull. I can say with ease that Maleficent is one of the worst films we've received so far this year, and I'm yet to see many films that I decided to skip seeing in the cinemas, but will get around to renting and reviewing.
To sum up, Maleficent is one of the worst movies so far this year with an atrocious first act, a horrific screenplay, plenty of clichés, cheesy dialogue and a predictable storyline. The only decent aspect is Jolie's sinister performance.
X-Men: Days of Future Past begins in the near future where mutants are near extinct thanks to Sentinels, robotic like machines that target and destroy mutants. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), now back from the dead, insists on sending Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the past to stop the war before it even begins. In this past time period its up to Wolverine to convince the younger version of the X-Men to join forces and help end a war that doesn't yet exist.
X-Men: Days of Future past could arguably be the best X-Men film to date. I was trying to get my reviews up for all the X-Men movies prior to reviewing this one, but unfortunately the only one I didn't get around to reviewing was X-Men First Class and up until today that was my favourite. X-Men Days Of Future Past grabs the best elements from that film as well as the best elements from the first two movies and blends them together in what is arguably the best one yet. It doesn't exceed the others by a long shot, but it gets bloody close.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past doesn't glorify our eyes with explosions, but instead focusses on the human drama. There have been many superhero films in previous years that have taken the unfortunate decision to pour action into our faces, Man of Steel is an excellent example of that, and for the most past this just doesn't work, Man of Steel only just getting there for me (although on first viewing I loved it). This film only has a couple of scenes of full on action and instead it wisely decides to make us care for the characters and want to follow along with their story. It's much more of a character driven drama than an action film as the trailers suggested.
Quicksilver just blew me away. Early reviews for this film were raving about how great a character Quicksilver is, but he has to be seen to be believed. When his character gets into action he just doesn't stop impressing. He's fast taking, fast moving and sublimely witty. Evan Peters, most famous for Kick-Ass (before now), is the perfect choice for the role. Aaron Taylor Johnson, who will be playing him in the upcoming Avengers sequel, has a lot to live up to.
Once the film concludes there's plenty of questions relating to the timeline that begin to spring in your head. Once the film's credits role my friend and I instantly begun an in depth conversation as to the timeline of the movie in relation to previous films and how those films were altered. There are plenty of questions that we eventually realised an answer, but there's also plenty that are, presumably intentionally, left unanswered. I will not take this away from the film as a whole because I presume it was deliberate, but it is fairly annoying.
To sum up, X-Men: Days of Future Past is arguably the best X-Men film to date with a more character driver storyline than the trailer suggests, a blend of the best aspects of the series and Quicksilver, a character that blew me away.
4 1/2 Stars
Fifteen years after the destruction of a nuclear power plant, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is convinced that the government is attempting to hide something from the general public in the now radioactive location. When breaking in with his son, Ford Brody (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) in an attempt to discover what's really going on, they unleash a 60 year old, radioactive monster that's been living in the ocean: Godzilla.
As a fan of the classic Godzilla movies I am proud to say that this was the best film yet. This new Godzilla remake/sequel/who the hell knows, is far from perfect, but with incredible special effects, jaw dropping fight scenes and an intriguing human storyline it made for one of the best, if not the best Godzilla film we've had so far. The film has one obvious flaw that I will get into late, but once the film is completed it was more than satisfying and exceeded my expectations by a long shot.
Godzilla looks incredible in the film. In December of last year The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was released into cinemas and Smaug, the dragon in the film, was one of the best CGI creations of all time. It has been nearly half a year and Smaug has already got major competition. This new Godzilla isn't clay and he isn't a man in a suit, but he is going to send us back to the stone age (Thanks Walter White). And yikes is he awesome.
The cast do well, but Bryan Cranston predictablly stands out. Bryan Cranston is literally one of the finest actors we have working today. In every performance he's given he is absolutely amazing, the TV show Breaking Bad in particular. While the rest of the cast do fine, none of them feeling forced or average, Cranston steals every scene he's in and I could tell this would be the case just from watching the trailer. From Drive to Argo to Breaking Bad and now to Godzilla, this man won't ever stop giving us emotional, raw and just damn good performances.
The cinematography and direction were surprisingly amazing. When you go into a Godzilla movie you never really expect much from it besides two hours of awesome, but this new film was so much more. Fresh off his last film 'Monsters', Gareth Edwards brings a refreshing take on the classic monster with sublime direction and captivating cinematography. Not to mention the film actually gets quite scary at many moments throughout. Damn, put that on the poster!
My only major flaw with the film is we didn't get to see much of Godzilla fighting. The film continuously sets up these massive fight scenes or scenes of mass destruction and just as they begin to get going it cuts away to a different scene after the actual event. This did help to add to our suspense, but we've already been teased throughout all the trailers so I was disappointed. It wasn't until the third act when we really got to see Godzilla get going and boy was it worth it. The final battle of the movie was cheer worthy, as many of the people in the cinema were doing.
To sum up, Godzilla is definitely the finest Godzilla movie we've ever had. The film is a refreshing take on the monster with sublime direction, captivating cinematography, brilliant performances, incredible CGI and LOTS of suspense.
Chef follows the story of dedicated chef, Carl (Jon Favreau). After getting a negative review from one of the most famous food critics at the moment, Ramsey Michel (Oliver Platt) Carl decides to spend some more time with his son, who is living with Carl's ex-wife, Inez (Sofia Vergara). She convinces him to purchase a food truck so he can reclaim his famous creativity as well as untangling his family problems.
Chef was a fun, feel-good movie. I've always loved films that are purely fun and are just a blast to watch and fortunately enough, Chef is that type of movie. Despite having many flaws which I will detail about, the film maintains its energetic and frequently casual vibe for the majority of the film. It's nothing too special and the themes have been done before, but what this film does, it does well. It really is a wonderful way to knock off two hours of your time.
The screenplay for the film is a blast! The dialogue is fast and witty, but it also blends in a handful of dramatic moments and of course the mandatory penis jokes because no comedy can be a comedy unless there is at least one penis joke. Were they funny though? Yeah, the film as a whole was pretty funny. That's not to say that around a third of the jokes did fall flat and didn't even get a chuckle from me.
The film shows the power of social media in an effective way. The plot of the film is centred around how Carl signed up for Twitter and from there on out the whole film begins to take shape. Throughout the 'adventures' in the food truck social networks were being used frequently. The film was attempting to show us how much advertising on social networks can effect a business and this topic surprisingly doesn't pop up frequently in films so it was an added bonus.
The cast of the film all give off decent performances. The film features a whopping cast including Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Downey Jr. and Sofia Vergara. There were only two actors in the cast that I was genially skeptical about: Sofia Vergara and John Leguizamo. Leguizamo has done brilliant movies in the past, but with those brilliant movies he also has a pile of rubbish movies, but Chef manages not to be one of them. He was fine in the movie and added a new, energetic vibe to the whole film. Sofia Vergara has done a majority of terrible movies, but on television she's a natural comedian. In Chef she too is fine although I'm thankful there's not an awful lot of screen time with her cliched and nearly flawless character who doesn't have any development in the least bit.
Speaking of her character development, there is hardly any in the entire movie. Chef knows the type of film that it wants to be and it does it well, as I've previously stated, but it also forgets some basic film necessities such as character development. They do well at letting us care for these characters, but hardly any of them change throughout the runtime of the film. There are two characters, I will not spoil who, that change ever so slightly, but they don't change much.
Chef ends very abruptly and failed at tying together a lot of loose ends. My topic sentence is kind of misleading. What I'm trying to say is that the film's final few minutes are starting to tie everything together, but in doing so it ends with an unclear status of where everyone is at. I'm still not entirely sure what happened to some of the characters although for most of them we get a fairly good idea, it just wasn't clear enough. It feels like the film was still going to go on and then it just ends.
To sum up, Chef is a fun, feel-good movie with a blast of a screenplay, decent performances and satisfying humour although there's little character development, the film's themes have been done many times before and it ends abruptly.
Frozen is the latest animation from Disney. It follows the story of a young, optimistic princess named Anna. Her not-so-optimistic sister, Elsa is about to be crowned queen, but she accidentally reveals that for her entire life she has had magical powers by putting the kingdom into an eternal winter. Anna must venture through the snow with a summer loving snowman named Olaf and an ice cutter named Kristoff.
I didn't see this film for one main reason, Disney's previous film. I was very excited when Wreck-It-Wralph was released because I love Disney and the film looked overly awesome, but was shocked to find it overrated and just average. This led to my decision to watch the other three films to be released on Boxing Day instead of this one and after having seen it for the first time I honestly regret it. It's not like I didn't have an opportunity to see this film, like I didn't with this year's All Is Lost, I just wanted to wait. It was possibly one of the biggest film related mistakes of last year.
The animation in Frozen looks astonishing. All the crisp, silver settings of the film have an undeniably warm, welcoming and just breathtaking look. Frozen takes advantage of this and creates one of the most stunning looking films that they have ever made. I can only imagine what it would have been like to watch on the big screen and I envy all those who managed to.
Frozen is a whole new twist on the Disney Princess genre. Let's face it, Disney Princesses is a genre and Frozen takes this genre to a whole new level. The film takes all that we know about the genre and turns it around completely, transforming it into a woman powered, charming and heartwarming adventure with deeper messages that hit home. Some would argue that the story arc of the film is the same amongst all Disney films and while I agree with this statement, it's never been done like this before.
The film features plenty of humour for everybody. The film had me laughing harder than all the comedies to come out last year, perhaps Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues being the only acceptation, and this is heavily thankful to the simple-minded snowman named Olaf. Olaf is a charming and just delightful character that brings a breath of fresh air onto every scene that he's in. He truly is one of the best characters to hit animated screens in recent years, the character from Monster's University not counting as they have been around for much longer.
The songs in the film all have a sing-a-long quality to them. After viewing the movie I can safely say that the re-release of this film in a 'Sing-A-Long' version was not a marketing scam, but in fact a necessity. The film's songs were unbelievable and 'Let it Go' was more deserving of the Oscar than ever. Disney has just gotten everything perfect with this film and it is without a doubt one of my favourite films of last year, unfortunately I will not be updating my top 15 films of the year list.
To sum up, I regretfully missed Frozen in cinemas due to the astonishing animation, new twist on the Disney Princess genre, a heart warming story, a bit of humour for everybody and songs with a sing-a-long quality to them.
4 1/2 Stars
Bad Neighbours (or as it's titled in most countries 'Neighbors') is the story of husband and wife, Mac and Kelly and there newborn baby. A fraternity house moves in next doors to them so they try to go over and befriend them, but things go wrong when the noise picks up and this leads to an all out war between the two houses. Mac and Kelly must find a way for the fraternity to move out or their life will be a living hell.
Bad Neighbours is the craziest movie we've had so far this year. This film is from the people who made 'This Is The End' which was unexpected and hilarious so I had no idea what I was in stall for with this film. This film is just as unexpected, but all the more crazier than 'This is the End'. The things that take place at the fraternity parties are some of the most ridiculous, unbelievable and just downright nasty situations to be put on screen all year and perhaps even last year. While the film isn't the funniest film I've seen, it certainly takes top spot as being the craziest in recent years.
The film wasn't ever as funny as it wanted to be, but it still managed to get me laughing out loud. There were a lot of jokes in the film that were hilarious, but they were trying too hard to be funny. I'm not denying the fact I was laughing almost too hard at times, but the film was trying to get me laughing a lot harder. There were more than a few jokes that the majority of my cinema's audience didn't find that funny although they were right up my alley, a J.J Abrams reference in particular. As well as this, for the first twenty or so minutes the film's jokes were a hit and a miss. Some were funny, others missed the mark, but once the fraternity moved in all bets were off.
I don't recommend taking this movie too seriously. With a lot of comedies I just switch my brain off and try not to take it too seriously because that's how comedies work, somehow some still manage to be awful. With Bad Neighbours it's nearly impossible to take the film too seriously because when you start to think about the logic behind everything the film makes absolutely no sense. As funny as this scene was, the odds of somebody making $10,000 of selling dildos from their front yard is highly unlikely.
The main cast feel comfortable in there roles and this allows for the humour to feel at home. Some problems that I have with comedies is that the main cast just look out of place and like they don't belong in a comedy or that the material just doesn't suit there acting style. Here the cast is well suited and this allowed for the humour to feel natural and just damn funny. A bad cast equals a bad movie and thankfully this isn't that (Ride Along please takes notes).
To sum up Bad Neighbours is a wild, unbelievable and just stupid movie that's never as funny as it wants to be and shouldn't be taken too seriously. However, the cast feels right at home and most of the jokes were hysterical.
3 1/2 Stars