I'm not sure why I was surprised when Ted 2 was announced. I honestly cannot explain why. Nor can I explain why I was surprised when I saw the trailer and realised Mark Wahlberg was in the film. Yet again, I just can't explain it. There seems to have been a lot of miscommunication going on. That or my skim reading of some news articles came to bite me on the butt. No matter what my surprises were, none of them can compare to the surprise I got walking out of Ted 2 thinking 'this film may have just topped the first movie.'
Ted 2 picks up three years after the first movie. Ted (Seth MacFarlane) just got married to the love of his life, Tami-Lynn (Jessica Barth). John (Mark Wahlberg), his best bud since the day Ted came to life, couldn't be more happy for him, despite not quite being over his recent divorce. We then cut forward a year. Tami and Ted are having marriage troubles and John is a porn addict who refuses to try and fall in love again, but Ted and Tami decide to have a baby, hoping it'll bring their relationship back together. Things begin to look good again... or at least they do until the government tells Ted that he can't have a baby as he's legally property and not a person, and so begins a fight against the law with the help of amateur lawyer, Samantha L Jackson (Amanda Seyfried). There's also a sub-plot involving Donny (Giovanni Ribsi) from the first film in which he tries to kidnap Ted again, but let's not mention that because that plot was a complete waste of time.
Ted 2 is just what you expect it to be. It's a hilarious romp from start to finish with Seth McFarlane's typical humour, so take that comment as you will. I really enjoy his humour. Sure, he always pushes it too far every now and again, and there's certainly a joke or two that definitely didn't need to be made in this film, but they're there and there's nothing we can do about it. For the most part, however, Ted 2 works really well. It's a laugh out loud cinema experience that quite possibly is funnier than the first film. We'll see. I'll sleep on it.
While the film does contain numerous poop jokes, although less so than the first film, there are some incredibly witty moments, as well as a countless amount of pop culture references and homages. Some of the references are bound to go over the untrained audience member's head, I know one of my friend certainly didn't get what they were joking about at one moment, but they're always hilarious, a homage to Jurassic Park in particular. That, along with the one scene with Liam Neeson, are probably the two funniest moments in the film. Maybe. There were a lot of hysterical scenes to choose from...
On top of the humour, Ted 2 also has a surprising amount of heart. Like several films before it, Ted 2 occasionally deals with what it means to be human, the importance of friendship and many other themes that naturally bring with it an emotional side. I'm not at all saying that Ted 2 is a tear jerker, but I am saying that it's a step above most stoner comedies, and probably most modern comedies in general. It actually cares about being a good film, rather than another cash grab of a sequel.
That being said, the film is also twenty minutes too long, featuring so many sub plots that just didn't need to be there. The film is nearing on two hours and it really doesn't need to be as long as it is. It easily could've been shorter, the previously mentioned plot involving Donny being the main contender. It didn't fit in with the rest of the film, and it's all too similar to the sub-plot with him in the first movie. They're practically identical, even following a slightly similar, although somewhat changed storyline. But I guess you could describe the whole film as being predictable so what am I really saying?
To sum up, Ted 2 is more of the same. It's inconsistent and predictable, but it's surprisingly got a heart and is trying to say a thing or two, plus it's absolutely hysterical as well, which is a plus.
3 1/2 Stars
I was the only person who seemed to be really disappointed with Despicable Me 2. Sure, I haven't seen it since it came out and yes, I have started to like it more as I continue to think about it, but as of this second in time, it was a disappointment. Ask me again in a few weeks when I hopefully get a chance to watch it again and who knows what my answer will be. But despite being disappointed with that film, I was very excited for Minions. The minions, and I'm sure everybody can agree, are the best part of this franchise, and this film was looking good. Was it as good as I hoped it would be? I mean, there's a minion dropping a microphone so it must be good, right?
Minions takes us back to the origins of time. No, seriously. The opening credits are over a hilarious sequence in which we see the minions evolving from a strand of DNA into what we now know them as. For thousands of years they've tried to find a suitable master, but none of them seem to stay. Mainly because they're accidentally murdered by the minions. Yeah, things can get surprisingly dark. We then cut ahead to 1968. The minions get recruited by Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock), whose evil plans involve taking the crown jewels and becoming the queen of England. However, she can't do it alone, and so the minions are sent in to do her dirty work for her, and it can get hysterical.
There's no way that fans of the first two films will be disappointed with this latest installment. While it lacks Gru and his girls, and their presence is sorely missed, Minions is a film that still manages to work. It doesn't hit every comedic beat and there are a few eye roll worthy moments here and there, but as a whole, this film delivers. It's more of the mayhem we've come to expect with these characters, even if all of the best jokes are shown in the trailer. It's still a delight to watch.
Taking the centre stage this time around is Kevin, Stuart and Bob. They're three adorable minions who steal your hight from the moment we meet them, unless of course they'd already stolen your heart, which does seem likely. They're loveable, adorable and at times are reminiscent of small, yellow babies, and I loved that. They each get their time to shine, Kevin having a stand out scene near the very end of the film, but it's Bob who is constantly stealing the show, bringing with him the most adorable of moments.
Unfortunately, Minions isn't all fun and games. The Despicable Me films were new twists on classic plots, and they worked extremely well. When it comes to Minions, it's a classic plot... and nothing else. With the exception of one scene towards the end of the film, Minions follows every plot beat you expect it to, ending just the way I figured it would and having the exact credits scene I was expecting it to have. It adds nothing new to the table, resulting in a disappointingly familiar story.
I've enjoyed this franchise for what it is, despite running into a bit of trouble with the second film, although most seem to disagree. If we could end the franchise here then that would be great. Despicable Me 2 had a happy ending and then Minions had a happy beginning. Sort of. So why keep going? Why not quit while you're ahead? The Despicable Me franchise is one I see myself coming back to in many years time, and it would delight me on no end if this was to be the final film. I've had my fair share of minions, and it's been fun, but I want out before it's too late and this franchise looses its steam, which is very clearly about to happen.
To sum up, Minions follows a very familiar plot and ends just the way you'd expect it to, however, the film itself is still rather entertaining and full of laughs, and the minions are as adorable as ever.
This has been a most wonderful weekend for movies, and two of the films I saw haven't even come out yet. There's Jurassic World, which had me tearing up with nostalgia at one point, and then there's Inside Out, which obviously caused me to cry very, very hard. I even cried the second time I watched it, and I cried more frequently too. Then there's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, which, seeings as how it deals with the topic of cancer in a light hearted yet completely honest way, I figured I would cry in. To my surprise, not one tear was shed during my viewing of this film. Not one. It looks like Inside Out emotionally drained me, leaving no tears left to cry with.
The film follows the story of Greg (Thomas Mann), a teenager in his final year of high school. He does his best to stay invisible, all while maintaining a friendship with essentially everybody in the school, especially Earl (RJ Cyler), who he's known since childhood. After a fellow student, Rachel (Olivia Cooke), is diagnosed with cancer, Greg's mum (Connie Britton) and dad (Nick Offerman) encourage him to spend some time with her. And he does. While their initial encounters can get a little uncomfortable, as the two spend more time together, they progressively become closer friends.
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl plays out like a more mature, more entertaining and just all round better version of The Fault in Our Stars. I'm not at all trying to insult the movie here as I love it to pieces and own it on blu-ray, but when compared to this movie, The Fault In Our Stars is child play. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl cuts the fat and reveals the truth, providing us with a much more human and engaging story than most cancer movies before it, perhaps with the exception of 50/50, which is a film I will cry endlessly in upon each viewing.
There's no lollygagging here. This film is nothing but the cold, hard, honest truth, and this truth isn't always as depressing and bleak as one would think. The film, and I refuse to write the title down again until the conclusion because it's just going to take up so much of my time, is full of humour, always looking at the brighter side of life. No matter what the situation is, director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and screenwriter/author Jesse Andrews always approach the situation with a smile on their face.
Thankfully, however, they know when to really dial down the humour. They know when it's time to stop making fun of everything and let the characters have an honest, human conversation, and it's these scenes that actually stand out more in my mind than some of the other scenes. I may not have drawn a tear during this film, but everybody else around me did and I can completely understand why. It's a film that plays with your heart strings, pulling them in every direction. The on-screen characters are written so brilliantly that I was able to invest in their lives, and when the going got rough, I felt I was able to stand by their side and embrace their pain.
While all the performances are absolutely terrific, the three title characters all at the top of their game, it's the cinematography and the direction that I was most impressed with. The film plays out like a Wes Anderson movie, featuring highly stylised camera movements and title cards that add a whole new layer to everything. There's even a re-occuring reference to a pair of animals, and this reference is shown through stop-motion animation. It's an utter delight to watch and it rushes past very quickly. It's a film that makes you completely loose track of time, and I'm okay with that.
To sum up, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is a quirky, hilarious and honest look at cancer that never feels overly sentimental, despite being somewhat predictable. It doesn't fluster around and it gets the job done. Bravo, indeed.
4 1/2 Stars
If we decide to ignore films like 50 Shades of Grey and Tak3n, 2015 has actually been a pretty damn good year for movies, and we're only halfway through! We've seen a mad man take on the apocalypse, dinosaurs escape their enclosures in a multi-million dollar theme park, superheroes doing their superhero thing, robots trying to understand the world (in multiple movies) and even an insane battle in a church in which many, many, many people get murdered in the most brutal of ways. It's been quite a year, and that's why it should not be taken lightly when I say that Inside Out is currently my favourite film of 2015.
Inside Out is the latest film from Pixar Animation Studios, the studio behind Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, Up and so forth. I can almost guarantee you've seen at least half of their movies. Their newest film goes inside the mind of 11 year old Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), who's just moved into a brand new, not-so-amazing house in a brand new, not-so-amazing city. Inside her head are her emotions, and it's these emotions who take the centre stage in the story. There's Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling). Joy and Sadness find themselves in a tricky situation when they accidentally get lost in Riley's mind, taking with them Riley's long term memories. They must find a way to get back to the HQ before they affect Riley for good.
Pixar hit a high note after Toy Story 3's release back in 2010, which is currently my favourite animated film of all time. It hit all the right notes, both in terms of humour and heart. Their follow up films, Cars 2, Brave and Monsters University, weren't received quite as well. While I love both Brave and Monsters University, I can understand the negativity. None of them boasted with originality. Then came Inside Out, which, along with The Good Dinosaur (which comes out this Boxing Day), I've been hearing about for a fair few years now. It's safe to say that Pixar have officially made a comeback, providing us with one of their best films yet.
Inside Out is a hilarious and often very mature movie with a lot of heart. In similar style to Up, Inside Out gets you emotionally invested right from the get go. The opening few minutes are full of laughs and tears, showing us the origin of the emotions. It's a touching and heart warming scene that perfectly sets up the vibe for the rest of the movie. With narration provided by the always-hilarious Amy Poehler, the film was shaping out to be a masterpiece. And yes, it most certainly was.
As the plot began to expand, my love for this film did too. In typical Pixar fashion, they take the time to get you invested in these characters. They get you to care for them and love them before they start setting up any actual plot. There's plenty of small, touching moments, some of which do play a part in the bigger picture, but it's all about character build up. This is what Pixar do best. This is why they're constantly able to set up emotional scenes better than any other company I know. They're a studio that understands why people cry and they do their best to ensure we do.
Speaking of getting emotional, all of the emotions in this film play off of each other perfectly. They're a perfect mix of personalities, allowing plenty of humour to unfold. There's a brilliant scene early on in the plot where Anger, Fear and Disgust are forced to act like Joy would and it just goes to show how different and how vibrant these characters are. Their conflicting personalities make this film as original and as fun as it is, the character of Anger being a stand out. His constant aggression towards situations always managed to put a smile on my face. He brought the joy out inside of me.
While the emotions are all excellent in their own ways, my personal favourite character was Bing Bong (Richard Kind). He's a cotton candy elephant who used to be Riley's imaginary best friend, but as she grew older, he was forgotten, and he now wanders through long term memory and imagination land in search of a better life. He's hysterical, adding so much humour and lovability to this film that it's actually ridiculous, but obviously in a good way. I want my own Bing Bong. Bing Bong would make me happy. And yes, I know how that sounds. Don't judge me.
Another thing I love about Pixar is the little details they put in their films. Obviously, I didn't pick up on all the easter eggs, A113 being the main one I didn't spot, but Pixar add so much more to a film than just easter eggs. Everything from character traits to lines of dialogue are animated and acted to perfection. Joy sends off an enticing glow, while Sadness is always followed around by a shadow. It's the little things that make this film all the more amazing.
Without delving into spoilers, I'd like to at least mention how brilliant the ending of this film is. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's Toy Story 3 level of perfect, as I would consider that to be one of the greatest endings to any movie ever, but it certainly deserves to be ranked among it. It's every bit as touching and tear jerking as you'd hope, and it's then followed up by an absolutely hysterical sequence during the credits that you mustn't miss. Pixar are back, ladies and gentlemen, and I can't wait to see what they're up to next.
To sum up, Inside Out sees Pixar making one of their best films yet. It's creative, original, hilarious, touching and yes, a tear jerker. Plus, there's a cotton candy elephant. I can't imagine anybody not loving this movie. It's better than Monsters Inc!
I used to watch Jurassic Park essentially on a daily basis when I was a kid. Now, many years later, I only watch it on a weekly basis. I've evolved, much like some of the dinosaurs you'll see in this film. When the trailers for Jurassic World came out, I was sold. Not only am I massive fan of Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow, but I'm just a huge fan of this franchise in general. I love The Lost World: Jurassic Park and I can stand Jurassic Park 3, despite all that they did wrong in that film. Jurassic World is finally the Jurassic Park sequel we deserve, and it successfully holds its ground when compared to the timeless classic that is the original movie.
The film is set 22 years later. The park has been open for quite some time now and people are getting bored of dinosaurs. They're even compared to elephants at one point in the film, which I guess is a fair comparison? Who knows. To up the wow-factor, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard), the woman in charge of the park, decides to create a genetically designed hybrid dinosaur. This new dinosaur is called the Indominus Rex, and once you see it in action, it's not something you want to mess with. Claire calls in Owen (Chris Pratt), an ex-marine and current raptor trainer, to check out the facility to make sure everything's running smoothly. Obviously, it's not. The I-Rex has escaped and is raging havoc on the park visitors. Cue theme song. Or don't. Actually, maybe don't. Yeah, that would probably be a terrible time to play the theme song.
Jurassic World's premise may sound like a replica of the first film, but trust me when I say it's not. It takes John Hammond's original vision and makes it a reality, but when things oh-so-obviously go awry, the dinosaurs have a much bigger menu to choose from when it comes to feeding time. It's the original film, but on a whole other level. Of course, nothing will ever triumph the original film. It's a masterpiece of cinema that still has me in awe today, despite knowing nearly all of it off by heart, but Jurassic World is the first sequel in the franchise I would deem a triumphant follow up, and this is coming from somebody who enjoys all 4.
It's the only logical step forward in this story, or at least if they were trying to go for something that isn't another rip off of the first film. The new dinosaur, the Indominus Rex, is terrifying. Combining the DNA of several unnamed dino's, this new beast is smarter, faster and more violent than anything else at the park. It can hide from heat sensors, it's skin changes colour and it looks at everything as if it's food. It's a dinosaur trained in captivity and when it escapes, you're going to want to hope you're very very far away. As an audience member, however, I'd much rather be up close and personal with it.
The many concerns brought up by fans about this new dinosaur, myself not included, can be put to rest. This dinosaur works, and they justify both its name and its existence in the film. There won't be a single person who will walk out of the cinema still complaining about how dumb a hybrid dinosaur is. Colin Trevorrow and his team of writers know exactly what they're doing and they did it brilliantly. They've conjured up this franchise's third greatest antagonist yet, the first two being the raptors and good ole Rexy, who I suppose I should talk about now.
While the T-Rex's appearance in the film is brief, it's an appearance you won't forget. My only problem with its appearance is that it looks absolutely nothing like the t-rex from the original film, despite them apparently being the same character. The film never once addresses that they're the same t-rex, and it's this that's gotten me hesitant about whether or not it really is the same dinosaur. I'd like to think it is, but the film never once addresses it as so. Hey, I guess I'm going to have to listen to the cast and crew on this one.
As for the trained raptors, it looks like fan hesitance was wrong about this film yet again. The trailers don't do the velociraptor's justice. I won't go into much detail about what exactly their role in this entire film is, or why the hell Chris Pratt is riding next to them on a motorcycle (but yes, that scene was unbelievably cool as well). All I'm going to say is that the raptor's presence in this film is arguably one of my favourite aspects of the movie. They do a phenomenal job with the animals, and they add something new to the table, rather than just having them as full time killing machines for the fourth film in a row.
Enough of all this dinosaur talk though, let's get into the human element of the film. While each of the characters get their chance to say one extremely corny line of dialogue, perhaps with the exception of one or two people, the human element works really well. The goodies are likeable and the baddies are despicable. Their character traits aren't anything new and their development is fairly predictable, but they're good enough characters to take us through this world and all of their performances were top notch. They're just no Sam Neill or Jeff Goldblum.
When we first get a glimpse at what this park is like, despite having seen it in the trailer, I'm not going to lie, I got fairly emotional. There's a few large sweeping shots of the park, accompanied by the famous theme song, and as it occurred, tears began to swell in my eyes. None large enough to break the barriers formed by my eye lashes, but they were certainly there. It was the first of many moments of nostalgia, and it's this nostalgia that had me choking up. The film contains many references to the original film, some more subtle than others, but none that I would rather have not seen.
While nostalgia is fun, it's not quite as fun as this film's finale. After an early screening of this movie, Josh Gad went to twitter and said that the last twenty minutes was cinematic bliss, and he sure wasn't lying. You know exactly what's going to go down, but you just don't know how, and that's what's so fun about it. It's tense, electrifying and left me literally shaking. I don't know about you guys, but I'm certainly down for another Jurassic World movie. How they're going to do it, I have no idea, but I will yet again be there opening day, you can count on that.
To sum up, Jurassic World is a two hour long thrill ride with plenty of entertaining action, throwbacks to the first film, an interesting take on certain dinosaurs and a finale that'll leave you roaring for more. This is finally a Jurassic Park sequel we can all be pleased with.
Ex Machina is a suspense driven sci-fi thriller from the writer of 28 Days Later, yet the best scene in this entire movie has absolutely no suspense whatsoever. It's simply Oscar Isaac's character putting on some tunes, telling Domhnall Gleeson's character that he's going to tear down the dance floor and then he goes and does exactly that. It's Oscar Isaac dancing like crazy and I currently have the scene on my phone over the span of multiple gifs. I love it so much.
But in all seriousness, Ex Machina follows the story of Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson). He's a programer, working for a company called Blue Book. After winning a competition to spend the week with the company's founder, Nathan (Oscar Isaac), Caleb is flown out there, knowing very little of what's in store when he gets there. After arriving and introducing one another, Nathan explains to Caleb what he's about to embark on, and this endeavour is to perform a sort of turing test on an artificially intelligent woman Nathan has created. When Caleb is sent to meet Ava (Alicia Vikander), he's taken back by just how human she is, and how beautiful she is as well. Ex Machina is a back and forth game of trust, suspense and what it means to be human, and I'm so happy I finally got a chance to check it out.
Ex Machina is a film with a very minimal cast. For the majority of the runtime, we're shown just three actors; Oscar Isaac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Vikander. I love Oscar Isaac. He's starting to turn into one of my favourite actors, and the other two cast members, who I'm noticing are appearing in more and more things lately, I've really taken a liking too, also. Each one of them shines in this movie, all of them having their individual moments to shine. Their performances are without fault, adding a whole new layer to the suspense. Who can we trust? Can we even trust anyone? The actors do a goddamn magnificent job at building this much needed tension.
Unsurprisingly, the most interesting character in this entire movie is Ava, who, up until meeting Caleb, has seen just one face before in her life. Nathan's. She's a grounded and intelligent A.I who truly is remarkable. She's believable, seductive and all the right kinds of off. Her character even has a slight sense of humour, and it's this humour that truly makes the film human, such as with the previously mentioned dance number, as well as a variety of other smaller moments.
It's deliberately slow in pace, but thanks to the screenplay by Alex Garland, it flows almost perfectly. There's never a dull or dragging moment, and every single plot point in this movie is placed so well. With a cast as small as this one, Garland has plenty of time to develop his characters. While we don't know an awful lot about their backstory or their motives at first, over the two hour runtime we know all we need to know about them, and the effect is priceless. Garland reels us into this story and these characters and once in, it's a place I never wanted to get out of.
Not only has he crafted a top-notch story, but he's also directed it to perfection. Everything is so polished and smooth and natural. It's a beautiful looking movie with some of the best cinematography of the year. You never feel as if there's a camera in the room. It never feels artificial, which I guess is a bit of an ironic word to use. The film just moves from scene to scene so smoothly and there isn't a single moment with poor direction.
When we do get to the film's third act, things have changed drastically, although this is for the better. We think we know who to trust and who not to trust, but we're not 100% sure. I know I certainly wasn't. There are a few minor moments of predictability, but the film's best kept secrets are safe. One of these secrets is the ending itself, which was shocking, haunting and left my entire audience in silence as we all stood up and left the cinema. When a film gets a reaction as priceless as that, you know you've made a film audiences will remember ten years from now.
To sum up, Ex Machina is a suspense driven sci-fi thriller that works exceptionally well due to the three lead performances and the absolutely breathtaking writing and directing from Alex Garland. This right here is quality cinema.
Aloha is the latest film from writer-director Cameron Crowe, the man who spent over $3.5 million on the soundtrack for Almost Famous, so take that comment as you will. While most people love him, there's a certain few that, well, don't. If you're one of those people who don't love him, Aloha is not a film for you. If you're one of those people who do love him, like myself, then this film could go either way for you. Once the film had finished, I got up and asked myself "would I still have enjoyed that if it didn't have Cameron Crowe's name all over it?" This is a hard question to answer, but for now, I'm going to leave the answer as a maybe.
The film follows the story of Brian Gilcrest (Bradley Cooper), a military contractor who's life has fallen to pieces. He's been hospitalised and he's depressed, so taking a job in Hawaii seemed like a good idea. At least it was until he got there, where Brian meets up with his ex-girlfriend and previous love of his life, Tracy Woodside (Rachel McAdams), as well as being assigned to work with optimistic fighter pilot, Ng (Emma Stone). As it is with most Cameron Crowe movies, the characters debate about the state of their lives, some romance ensures and there's some heavy handed monologues in which characters say prophetic words. It's clichéd, but it's fun.
When you go into a Cameron Crowe movie, whether it's Say Anything or Almost Famous or whatever it is, you know exactly what you're getting into. It's part chick-flick, part dude-flick, and Crowe usually blends them seamlessly. With Aloha, this seamlessness isn't quite as seamless as it should've been. In fact, the film is all over the place, horridly blending plot lines here and there, resulting in one big mess of a movie. Plot lines fly in and out, none really staying long enough to matter.
Thankfully, we don't have Crowe to blame for this film's messiness. Just like with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, we're forced to blame Sony. I don't want to hate on the film company, but I must point out how frustrating it is to see them constantly cutting up and ruining movies. For all we know, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 could've been a great film. I saw the potential. I've seen the same potential in this movie. To be honest though, I liked Aloha. It's a complete mess, but it's an entertaining one, and for that I'm thankful.
Strangely, it's not the writing or the directing that made this film for me. Both of them have been better before, although that's not at all me saying that they're bad. Cameron Crowe does a terrific job. It's just that the performances stood out so much more. Featuring the likes of Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Bill freaking Murray, Alec Baldwin and so many more a-listers, this film is full of talent, and not one of them fails to be great. They all nail their roles, even if some of their roles aren't really too clear. I mean, why the heck was Bill Murray in this movie? I'm not complaining, I'm just not sure.
The central plot of the film revolves around Bradley Cooper's character, particularly his relationship with Emma Stone's character, who of course serves as a romantic interest because why not? They're great and all, but their scenes are never quite as interesting or entertaining as the ones he shares with Rachel McAdams' character, who's husband, played by John Krasinski, steals the show. This is most evident in the final scene he shares with Cooper. It's a scene so unexpected and brilliant, and it's easily the best scene in the film.
But no matter how many great individual moments there are, the whole thing just feels so familiar. There's always a sort of "been there, done that" vibe to it all, and yes, the plot is completely predictable too. As soon as we're introduced to certain characters, Crowe has made it incredibly obvious what their fates will be. You know what the outcome of the film will be and you know exactly how they're going to get there. Sure, you'll be asking yourself "what the actual fuck is going on right now?" but it's still an entertaining two hours nonetheless.
To sum up, Aloha dwells in completely familiar territory, but thanks to Cameron Crowe's (mostly) excellent direction and brilliant performances from all the leads, Aloha manages to work really well, even if it's a complete mess in terms of plot.