M. Night Shyamalan has a rather strange filmography. His third feature, The Sixth Sense, brought him a lot of attention. Not only is it a fantastic movie, but it was more than a promising start for his filmography. He followed that up with Unbreakable and Signs. Both were well received. And then who knows what the fuck happened after that. He went on to make some absolute monstrosities, most famously the live action adaptation of The Last Airbender. I was not looking forward to this film after seeing the trailer. It looked like another Shyamalan dud. Boy, was I wrong.
The Visit follows the story of two young siblings, Becca (Olivia DeJonge) and Tyler (Ed Oxenbould). Their mum (Kathryn Hahn) has had a rough relationship with her parents (Deanna Dunagan and Peter McRobbie) ever since she moved out at the age of 19. She hasn't spoken to them in 15 years. But her parents contact her online, hoping to finally get a chance to meet their grandkids. Their mum allows it, sending Becca and Tyler off for the week. Becca, being an aspiring filmmaker, decides she wants to document the week, hoping to mend the wounds formed between her mum and her grandma. Not long after arriving, the two of them suspect that something's up. Despite a 9:30 curfew, the two go out and take a look around, and that's where all the fun begins.
Before seeing The Visit, I was honestly worried about his upcoming collaboration with Joaquin Phoenix. I didn't want Phoenix to be in another bad movie. Now, after seeing The Visit, I'm suddenly more interested in that movie than ever before. Shyamalan, give me everything you've got. The Visit, while flawed, is certainly a step in the right direction for his career. It's a tense and atmospheric movie that's actually shot well, despite being found footage. Shyamalan only gives the allusion of found footage to put the film on a lower budget. It's actually shot extremely well, featuring some legitimately creepy imagery.
The film's first two acts are a slow build, raising the stakes, the tension and the elderly nudity levels. I was pleased to see two of those. The first two acts aren't necessarily scary, though. My heart may not have been racing, but I was certainly invested in what was going on. I was curious as to what their grandparents were up to and why they were acting the way they were. Then the third act kicks in, and I was on the edge of my seat. One of the final scenes between Tyler and his grandpa may make you feel more uncomfortable than you'd like to be, but the rest is good old Shyamalan fun. Where's that been the last decade?
The Visit really only has five characters. There are other very minor characters who come and go, some being more important than others, but none stay for more than a couple of minutes. It's really just Tyler, Becca, their mum and their grandparents, and all five give incredible performances. Australian actor Ed Oxenbould is going places in life, and I wouldn't be surprised if Olivia DeJonge was as well. As for the grandparents..... they're absolutely terrifying, the grandma in particular. Their performances are psychotic. You know something's up, but you don't know what. Everything just feels off. Then there's Kathryn Hahn who appears in a few Skype conversations and that's that.
Also surprising is the fact that Shyamalan has incorporated a twisted sense of humour into the film. There are moments where I wanted to laugh, and was on the brink of laughter, but wasn't quite sure if I should or not. But the humour never takes away from the scares. It actually helps to improve them, evening out the tension before providing us with moments where you're not sure if you should keep watching or turn away. And as a matter of fact, my friend did. He refused to watch. The film isn't gory, but it's certainly grotesque, and it's also odd. Very, very odd. There are some things in this film that.... man, I don't even know how to explain what I just watched.
To sum up, The Visit is goofy fun, and certainly a return to form for M. Night Shyamalan. It's a horror movie with a twisted sense of humour and an edge of your seat third act, even if the first two aren't quite as scary as I wanted them to be. YAHTZEE!
When we're first introduced to Hugh Jackman's villainous Blackbeard in this movie, he's introduced in the most villainy way possible. We see him suiting up, fixing his wig and walking all sinister-looking out onto the side of his ship.... except they don't do it quite how you expect. Instead, every single person standing outside, watching and waiting for his entrance, is singing 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' by Nirvana. I hate to say it, especially since this saying is thrown around more often than I'd want it to, but it was at this moment onwards that I knew I was going to have a ball with this movie.
Pan is the unnecessary, yet welcomed, origin story of Peter Pan (Levi Miller). The film starts in World War II. Peter is an orphan, causing mischief with the nuns whose job it is to look after him. One night, not long after a bombing, Peter and a bunch of other orphans are snatched up from the orphanage, taken aboard a pirate ship and flown to the magical land of Neverland. Peter's thrown into the mines, mining away with the thousands of other miners, including a young, not yet evil Hook (Garrett Hedlund). The two hatch a plan to escape from Blackbeard's (Hugh Jackman) mine and out into the surrounding forrest. It's here they meet Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara), who helps them on their quest to find Peter's mother and save a bunch of fairies from Blackbeard's pirate army, who are also on the hunt for Peter and co. It's quite the adventure.
If you came out of this movie absolutely despising it, I wouldn't complain. Honestly, I'd understand. Unless you hate it simply because Tiger Lily is white.... then I might argue. She's native to Neverland, not America. But as I was saying, if you didn't like this film, I'd get it. It's certainly not a film for everyone. Everything in this movie is completely over the top, all the characters are pretty much caricatures and everyone over-acts. But it works so goddamn well, resulting in a (nearly) constantly entertaining movie that was much better than I was expecting it to be.
Director Joe Wright, the man responsible for the latest adaptations of Anna Karenina and Atonement, brings so much energy to every scene. Whether it's Peter breaking into a nun's office or a bunch of pirates raiding a tribal area, Wright makes everything feel alive. There's never a down moment. From his opening scene, which gave off some film noir vibes, all the way to the closing credits, Pan is expertly coloured, perfectly positioned and a tonne of fun. It's hard not to have a smile on your face the whole way through.
Never before has Neverland been depicted in such a way. Wright's version of Neverland feels right out of a child's imagination. There's pirates, mermaids, crocodiles, fairies, flying, weird robot-like bird creatures, guns that turn you into coloured smoke and so much more. It's somewhat reminiscent of Tim Burton's Wonderland, but it's treated so much better. And it has better performances. And there's no Johnny Depp dancing. And it has Hugh Jackman giving an absolutely brilliant and energetic performance. And there's Nirvana. There's no dragons though. That was disappointing.
The film is just so ridiculous and random that it works. It verges on being too ridiculous and too uneven, yet it's executed masterfully so it ends up being neither It's 111 minute runtime flies on by, mostly thanks to the cast and director. The cast are all fantastic, first time actor Levi Miller having great chemistry with both Rooney Mara, who has proved herself to be one the greatest actresses working today, and Garrett Hedlund. All are fantastic. Then Cara Delevingne shows up for a few seconds before disappearing. I was very confused and slightly underwhelmed. But the scene had crocodiles so I'll let it pass.
Unfortunately, Pan isn't all smiles and good times. There are some things that really drag it down. For instance, some of the dialogue. Some of the corniness fits in with the vibe, but other stuff not so much, especially the foreshadowing of the events in the original Peter Pan movie. The dialogue in the final scene between Hook and Peter is atrocious, and a scene I will not spoil that involved Peter and someone who shall remain unnamed (for the sake of spoilers) felt completely shoehorned in.
Then there's the visual effects, which are really inconsistent. There's some great moments of true wonder, particularly the scenes involving flying pirate ships, and then there's some moments where you wonder what the hell went on in the editing room, specifically the scenes where characters fly. It's on the same level as Attack of the Clones, and we all know how well the visual effects in that movie hold up.....
To sum up, Pan is a bright, colourful, visually stunning and unbelievably fun movie. If you don't like it, I'd understand. It's full of over acting and corniness, but I had an absolute ball with it. It's got its fair share of problems, but it's just a good time at the cinema.
3 1/2 Stars
The Intern will undoubtably find an audience. I am almost certain about that. This film will probably make a decent enough amount of money at the box-office when it's released. That's not to say I liked it, though. I didn't. But at my screening last night, which was pretty packed, people were bursting with laughter. Not just the odd chuckle here and there, but legitimate laughter. Why? I'm not sure. I guess some people are idiots. Or maybe I'm the idiot? Either way, I have a strong feeling that this movie will go down well with a particular audience, and that I am not one of those people.
We follow the story of a widowed 70 year old named Ben (Robert DeNiro). He's getting bored of retirement, doing the same old thing day in and day out. That's when he finds a flyer advertising a senior intern program at an online clothes shop. Despite knowing next to nothing about technology, he applies, and surprise, surprise.... he makes it. He's assigned to be an intern for Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway), the company's founder and current CEO, but she's not awfully fond of the idea of an intern program, let alone a senior intern program. But he sticks around, helping out until she finds him something to do.... and that's our movie. That's it. He does intern-y things for her, gets close with her personal life, they start to get along and that's it.
The concept for the film is rather ridiculous, but the movie knows that and it jokes about that. Sure, all of these jokes fall flat, but they're there. As the concept starts to be used in full effect, I found myself getting used to the idea. It's honestly quite an original plot, or at least it was for the first ten minutes or so. The film continues to go on, slowly dragging in more and more clichés and more and more predictable plot-lines until eventually I just didn't care. There's so much going on, but at the same time so little. This film ultimately achieves nothing and ends exactly where you'd expect it to.
One good thing about this movie, however, are the performances from DeNiro and Hathaway. Their chemistry is fantastic, really bringing their performances to life. The characters themselves are ones you've seen in seven thousand (give or take) other movies, but this doesn't stop the performances from being as good as they are. DeNiro brings humour to everything, as well as a certain lovability. The Intern is definitely a likeable movie. It's just not a good one.
I've only seen one of Nancy Myer's previous directorial efforts, but if her other films are anything like The Intern, I don't think they're for me. Her screenplay is lazy, bringing in the charm, but not the humour, and certainly not an engaging plot. It's quite the opposite. 95% of the jokes don't hit, which is rather unfortunate seeings as how the ones that do are legitimately hilarious. There's an excellent scene in which Robert DeNiro has to break into someone's house to delete an email from their computer and it's easily the best scene in the whole film. The Intern needed more of that and less of Anne Hathaway's daughter.
When we finally get to the third act after a tiresome first two, I didn't find myself at all invested in the story at hand. It's repetitive, unoriginal and incorporates way too many irrelevant plots. It runs out of steam.... big time. So much so that the final few minutes doesn't seem to really care about these characters whatsoever. The relationships built up to this point are thrown out the window, characters occasionally referenced in passing, but nothing really being wrapped up. Experience may never get old, but this film certainly did.
To sum up, The Intern is a tiresome bore with jokes that fall flat 95% of the time. The ones that do work work unbelievably well, but they're far and in-between, and it's certainly not worth staying around for. This comes out the same day as The Martian. See that instead.
2 1/2 Stars
Mount Everest is a place I never intend on climbing. I don't really want to climb any mountain, but Everest is one I'm willing to stay as far away from as possible. Why? Well, for starters, it can get up to minus 60 degrees celsius. Then there's the fact that the wind speed is 200 miles per hour. Oh, and also, 1 and 10 climbers die. Scared yet? No? Then let's chuck in the fact that there's estimated to be 120 dead bodies just laying around on the mountain. In case the heights and the impending death wasn't enough to freak you out, there's also dead bodies.... everywhere... Yeah, I guess you could say this place scares me, and so did the movie.
Everest tells the true story of Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), a mountaineering guide taking a group of climbers up to the top of Mount Everest. One of the people taken on this journey is Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), a man with a crumbling marriage, but a passion for climbing. It's these two men that the film primarily focusses on as they hike their way up, avoiding as many difficulties as they can, but are forced to face overwhelming odds when a dangerous storm hits the mountain, putting each and every one of their lives at risk. It's a game of survival as they each attempt to make their way down the mountain before either running out of oxygen or freezing to death. I honestly don't know which one I would consider a worse way to go.
Visually speaking, Everest is quite the spectacle, especially in the first half. As we're taken on this voyage through the most dangerous place on Earth, the cinematography is quite wonderful. Not only are we shown the scope of everything, shots constantly panning over the edge of a cliff to reveal the magnitude of the mountain, but it just looks damn beautiful at times. There are several jaw dropping shots of the mountain, especially those taken during the daytime. It's a beautiful looking area, yet it ends up being quite the opposite once the storm kicks in.
What I really loved about the first half of this movie is how well they set up the stakes. Sure, the pacing is a little bit off, the climb up taking much longer than it needed to, but they got me emotionally invested in these characters. They established who was who, providing just enough backstory to satisfy my emotions. Not only that, but there's a constant sense of dread as they go up this mountain. I didn't know the true story prior to going into this movie so I had no idea who was going to live and who would die. There was tension swirling around all of these characters. Nobody was safe. This is Mount Everest we're talking about. One slip and you're dead.
As we come into the second half, that's when the storm really hits. There were short bursts of wind prior to the actual storm, but nothing severe. Nothing strong enough to cause concern. But when that storm hits.... oh boy. You can really feel it. Sitting in that theatre with the lights down truly adds to the experience. Everest is a film that, if you do intend on watching it, needs to be seen on the big screen. Watching at home just won't do. It immerses you into this location, not letting you leave the storm. They're stuck and you're stuck, and this does lead to some truly horrific moments. Without delving into spoilers, all I'll say is I wasn't expecting this film to go as far as it does. It's not so much on the visual side, either. It's also the emotional weight that it contains, which in time adds to the visual impact of everything.
While it does do certain things right, especially in the third act, up to that point it plays a lot of things very safely. Prior to that storm hitting, nothing in this film really felt risky, aside from the actual climb, obviously. The way everything was handled, particularly the script, felt pretty generic. It works, don't get me wrong, and it's certainly an entertaining movie, I'm not saying it isn't, but nothing at the start really feels groundbreaking. They're dwelling in familiar territory, but putting it on a larger, yet more personal scale.
Easily the best part of this movie, however, are the performances. Jason Clarke absolutely blew me away, a scene in which he calls his wife, played by Keira Knightley, from on top of the mountain just proving how good of an actor he really is. Everest has a star studded cast and they all deliver, no matter how minor their role is. Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington, Robin Wright and so many more. There's plenty of talent to be found and they're all phenomenal.
To sum up, Everest uses its first hour to set up both the stakes and the characters, and while it's certainly entertaining, it's also flawed. When the storm hits in the second half, the film really gets going, and that's when this film truly delivers what it set out to do.
3 1/2 Stars
When I walked out of Prisoners back in 2013, I knew I'd just witnessed something special. I knew right then that what I watched would go down as a classic some day. It's a film we'd be talking about years later. It's a film I still talk about today. Prisoners was a very special movie, and it really put director Denis Villeneuve on my radar. With Enemy last year, he proved himself once again. He's a director to be on the lookout for. With Sicario, out in hopefully a wide release on the 24th, Villeneuve may not reach the heights of his previous directorial efforts, but he's showing further evidence that he's a man we should be on the alert for.
Sicario opens with a raid on a house with potential hostages inside. Leading this raid is FBI agent Kate Macer (Emily Blunt), a divorced woman with a dedication to her job, but a reluctance to do whatever it takes to close a case. She's by the book. When her raid collapses on her, she's approached to help follow up the case by travelling to the Mexico boarder under the command of a man named Matt (Josh Brolin). Wanting to do the right thing, she accepts, hoping to hunt down the men responsible. To do this, they get the assistance of Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), an expert in drug cartel related issues. As the three of them get further into the case, Kate begins to notice that she's not being told everything, raising several suspicions about the operation she's actually performing.
Emily Blunt has never been better when it comes to Sicario. She's absolutely phenomenal, not holding back when it comes to any of her lines, and it probably helps when Taylor Sheridan's screenplay is written as excellently as it is. Blunt's dedication to the role is noteworthy, hopefully enough to snatch an Oscar nomination next year. She deserves the recognition. Sicario is easily the greatest performance she's ever given. Blunt's career is really on the rise, and if she continues to deliver the goods, she could just end up being one of the finest female actresses currently working.
Her two lead co-stars, Del Toro and Brolin, are also top notch. I can't say for certain that this is both of their best performances, but it has to be close. It just has to be. For the entire first half, I honestly couldn't tell if I should trust them or not. Their performances were so natural that they managed to simultaneously gain my trust and lose it. Sure, when the second half kicks in I figured out who was what, but it's this first half that I really appreciate. As for their characters, Brolin's got nothing on Del Toro. His character is full of depth and humanity, and his back story made my mouth ajar. He's without a doubt the most interesting character in this entire film. Even more so than Blunt, who I would've liked to see get a bit more screen time in the final twenty minutes. The same goes with Brolin.
Not only can Villeneuve get Oscar-worthy performances out of his actors, but he's also excellent at creating an atmosphere, especially evident in the opening raid sequence. There's no better way to introduce characters than through action, and this opening scene does it the best. We're first introduced to Emily Blunt's character sitting in a van, breathing in deep breaths. Boom! Character depth already. What gives this film its atmosphere, in part, is the characters. We care for them, they have depth and they make this world feel vibrant.
Allowing such depth, especially just through the way these characters act, Villeneuve can go all out with the suspense. These characters are vulnerable, Kate in particular. I couldn't guarantee her safety. I had a suspicion of where everyone in this film stood, and yes, this suspicion did come true, but I couldn't guess their fates. I was clueless when it came to the actual outcome, and while it's not some big surprise or big shoot out, it works. The unfortunate thing about this ending, however, is that it doesn't feel quite like an ending. Things just happen, characters walk off and then the title fades in. It leaves you wanting more, and not in the same way that Prisoners did.
Twelve-time Oscar nominated cinematographer, Roger Deakens, has re-teamed up with Villeneuve to once again provide us with some beautiful cinematography. There is not one shot in this movie that I wouldn't consider absolutely gorgeous. From the way he lights the scene, to the way the camera moves, to the way he places certain objects and characters. Everything's gorgeous. Everything's perfect. Everything's planned. Nothing in this movie is without reason, and that's one of the things I adore about Villeneuve. One of the many, many things.
To sum up, Sicario doesn't quite reach the heights of Prisoners and Enemy, but with cinematography as gorgeous as this, performances as Oscar-worthy as this, and directing as mind blowing as this, it's safe to say we have a fabulous film on our hands.
When we all got out of seeing The Maze Runner late last year, there was one question swirling around everybody's mind. "What the fuck was up with that ending?" The film, which was hit and miss up until that point, ended on a completely disappointing note, trying to have a cliffhanger, but not really getting the audiences hyped for a second installment. It was a failed ending that made no sense whatsoever. So of course I'm sure you're all curious about seeing The Scorch Trials as it will finally provide us with some answers, right? Wrong. I still don't know what the hell is happening in this trilogy and to be honest, I don't think the filmmakers know what's going on either.
The Scorch Trials picks up immediately after the events of the first film. Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and the rest of the gladers have been rescued from the maze. They're taken in a helicopter to a large and very secure base. It's here they meet Janson (Aidan Gillen), the man who claims he's responsible for rescuing them. He provides them with food, water, beds and showers, putting them in with other maze survivors. But Thomas is suspicious. Breaking out of his room and exploring the vents, Thomas' suspicions are proven true. He hatches up a plan to escape, and the other gladers come along too. Leaving the "safety" of the facility, they're forced out into the scorch, where plenty of other dangers await, and even a little mystery.
The Scorch Trials does something a lot of other young adult franchises don't dare to do. It breaks free from the original film. Instead of being trapped in this world of the maze, the film decides to pace forward. In fact, it rushes forward, steaming through plotlines and zooming past twists. It does something different, furthering the story forward, and while that does create several problems, it also creates some credibility. You can see most of it a mile away, and the things you can't are just plain stupid, but it doesn't hold itself back to being about a maze. It plays around with new ideas.
That being said, there never is any closure on what actually went on in the first film. The last thing we saw was the villainous Ava (Patricia Clarkson) revealing the maze was just the beginning and that phase 2 was currently underway. Does this get explained in any further detail? Absolutely not. There are minor comments on the future of these kid's lives and why they were saved, but nothing I would go so far as to say is a revelation. It's just reassurances of what we already know. What was the point of the maze? Why was that phase 1? Phase 2 can't be just blood tests can it? Is that seriously it? I have absolutely no idea.
What must be complimented, however, are the performances. Well, most of them, anyway. In the first film they were a bit all over the place, but the second time around seems to have gotten everyone a bit more balanced out. Dylan O'Brien is still a great choice for Thomas, as is Thomas Brodie-Sangster in the role of Newt, even if he's only given about five lines total, all of which are exposition. The newer additions, which is essentially the entire adult cast, are even better, Game of Thrones' Aidan Gillen is easily the best thing about this movie, but his character is also painfully underused.
That's the thing about this movie, too. Nobody gets enough screen time, with the exception of Thomas, our main character. Kaya Scodelario, who plays Teresa, gets about six minutes of screen time, most of which is her staring off dramatically at something. No matter what I said about her acting in the first film, she's an interesting character, and even more so here. It's not until the third act that her character does anything, and the one thing she does felt extremely out of character. It just comes out of nowhere, simply put in there to have an explosive finale before a cliffhanger you can see a mile off.
While the first Maze Runner was written by three different people, The Scorch Trials was written by just one, and clearly this person wasn't the one in charge of writing dialogue last time. All the dialogue written for this movie is either cringe worthy or trailer worthy. There is no in-between. The good lines, and this happens very rarely, were all used as promotional material, whereas the rest of the dialogue was left protected. And for good reason. Characters are constantly narrating their actions or recounting the events that literally just happened. It's corny, and while the deliveries almost make it watchable, it's still so very dumb.
One of the major plots from this movie revolves around this disease that turns people into what I can safely say are some sort of zombie. Think Last of Us meets World War Z. Yeah, you're pretty much screwed if one comes close. Like most of the film, they're in it without explanation or cause, but they do make for some fun moments. There's a rather tense scene about halfway through that involves a chase between two lead characters and a whole hoard of these creatures, ending with a very Lost World: Jurassic Park moment. It's scenes like this that are rather entertaining to watch. Not scenes where Thomas takes some sort of drugged alcohol and goes clubbing with Alan Tudyk from Firefly.... because that happens.
To sum up, The Scorch Trials is just as mediocre as the first Maze Runner. It goes from fun to corny within the blink of an eye and it makes no apologies for anything. If you liked the first, good on you. I have no doubt you'll love this one. They're just surprisingly not for me.
2 1/2 Stars
Ever since this film's release in the US last month, I've been hearing plenty of reviews from people calling it the best film of the year. As someone who isn't really into rap music, I wasn't entirely sold on this promise. Sure, I respected their opinions, but I'm not necessarily all that into rap. I went into this movie excited, but prepared to not like it as much as others do. Oh, how I owe them all a huge apology. I knew it looked good, but god damn, that was great. Like, really, really great. Take that, Jersey Boys. This is how you make a music biopic.
Straight Outta Compton is the true story of N.W.A, the rap band consisting of Ice Cube (played by Ice Cube's real life son, O'Shea Jackson Jr.), Dr Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jason Mitchell), Dj Yella (Neil Brown Jr.) and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge). The film, which takes its name from one of their more popular albums, takes us on a journey through two decades of their careers. The film manages to intertwine so many aspects of their lives, not only including the rise of their fame and controversy of their music, in particular their song "fuck the police." We get to witness the tension that builds within the band, the unnecessary police brutality and racism against them, we see their family life and we see them gradually grow against their manager, Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti). It sounds like your usual biopic topics, and in some cases it is, but Straight Outta Compton must do something right as it sure as hell didn't feel familiar.
Like I previously said, I'm not a big rap person. I can respect it and I can respect certain bands or musicians, N.W.A in particular, but I just can't get into it for some strange reason. It's just not my thing. When it comes to Straight Outta Compton, however, they put so much else on the table that you don't need to be a fan of rap or even music to enjoy it. If you're a fan of quality entertainment, this film is for you. Even though at its core, the film is about the relationship between these five musicians, what really makes this film special, to me anyway, is the way it portrays the racism and police brutality.
In my opinion, it was the most captivating aspect of this movie, and it's what really drew me into the film. There's so much to love about this movie and so many moments that will no-doubt bring a smile to your face, and maybe even a tear to your eye, but the strongest aspect of this film is easily the way it deals with authority. N.W.A raised a lot of controversy, and the police reactions to this are simply not on. They beat people, arrested people and shut down shows all because these five guys spoke the truth, and this aspect of the movie really hit me hard. It can get repetitive from time to time, the band constantly getting arrested and then they're scott-free in the next scene, but it's engrossing nonetheless.
The screenplay by Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff is phenomenal, going through the careers of these musicians with ease and elegancy, but it does skim through some rather important details. I wasn't too familiar with the true story prior to seeing this movie, so from time to time I felt like I was a little behind with things, in particular the final scene. There are details that are aimed primarily at the fans, so movie viewers like myself won't quite get a grip on things. This is a very rare occurrence, don't get me wrong, but it did happen more than once, so I felt it was necessary to bring it up.
But the man who deserves some serious credit here is director F. Gary Gray. Nobody else could've made this movie as well as he did. Everything from the shots to the performances he got out of his actors were all mind blowing. He can mix humour with the seriousness and the two go hand in hand. As the second half kicks in, Gray spends less time focussing on the music and more time on the musicians themselves, and this really plays into the film's favour. He lets us in on all of their lives and gives us a more extensive look at the destruction their band has caused.
No matter who you are, it's always a hard job to balance out so many protagonists in one movie, but it's certainly been done before and it's definitely been done here. Dj Yella and MC Ren are given the least amount of screen time, but their presence is still felt. It's Ice Cube. Eazy-E and Dr Dre that serve as the main main characters, and there's never an unnecessary moment between them. Each of their individual scenes are great, but it's the ones together that really stand out, a tracking shot in a hotel room being the first to come to mind, and it's not nearly the only memorable moment.
To sum up, Straight Outta Compton is a brutally honest biopic that may have a difficult time balancing itself out, but is entertaining right from the get-go, all the way up to the closing credits. You don't need to be a fan of this type of music. Just go see the movie.