Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"Spring Breakers"- Awful, Awful, Awful Attempt at Being an Artistic Film
Awful, awful, awful… I have no other words but awful.  Actually, that's I lie.  I have plenty to say.

I went to see "Spring Breakers" late last night with one of my oldest friends.  Much like everyone else in the theatre, we had a high expectation coming into this film.  There had been so much hype leading up to the premiere, that I was really disappointed in how much it SUCKED.  It was a terrible attempt to be an artistic film.  Throughout the whole movie I kept thinking, "Why am I here?”, "I paid for this?", "What is even going on right now?” 

In case you hadn't heard anything about this disaster film, I will do my best at trying to explain it for you.   Brit, Faith, Candy and Cotty are sick of seeing the same things every day.  It’s spring break and everyone is going down to Florida for this huge college rager.  They are short on cash, so three of the girls decide to rob a local restaurant— total badasses right?  Once they get down to Florida, they are immersed into the party of a lifetime.  Drugs, alcohol, and excessive partying, lead them to getting arrested.  They think they will be caged up forever, until they are bailed out by a major drug lord/local rapper/arms dealer named Alien.  If getting arrested wasn’t MY first ‘get outta town’ thought; then meeting this guy would have been. 

In addition to the clich├ęd party scenes, there was an unnecessary amount of nudity and I sat in the theatre feeling cheap and dirty.  I just couldn’t wait to get out of there.  There were so many scenes shot with an oblique camera angle that it made me feel dizzy and unfocused.  The really was no plot to this film, other than trashy girls going on spring break to see if they could get even MORE trashy. 

The film was directed by Harmony Korine, and starred Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Heather Morris, Selena Gomez, and James Franco.  I will say that it was interesting to see Franco play a creepy drug lord.  The film definitely proved that he isn’t limited to any particular roles.  I was actually even impressed by Selena Gomez.  She did a great job at displaying emotion through her innocent character.  From seeing her in this film, I kind of take her more seriously now and believe that she can do A LOT better in picking the right films for herself. 

If I were to rate this film, it’s obvious that I would give it a half a star.  You can be the judge for yourself, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you!  Here’s a trailer for the film, along with a cast interview.  Let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"The Host"- Better Than "Twilight", But No Standing Ovation

“The Host” is an American science fiction film, adapted from the Stephenie Meyer novel of the same name.  Meyer is also the author of the well-known series, “The Twilight Saga”.  I’ve read all of the “Twilight” books, and like many others, I have to say that the novels were IMMENSLY better than the movies.  I can’t stand Kristen Stewart, and of course she was cast as the main female protagonist.  But aside from that, I really feel like they didn’t capture the whole story properly in the films, and the acting was subpar. 

Moving on from the vampire films… “The Host” was directed by Andrew Niccol, and it stars Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Max Irons and Jake Abel.  Saoirse is a very promising young actress, most commonly known for the roles she played in “The Lovely Bones” and “Hanna”.  She is what made the movie for me.  I think she is a better actress then what the movie deserved, but they did right by casting her.

Saoirse plays Melanie Stryder, who is one of the few humans left on the planet that hasn’t been inhabited by an intelligent alien species known as "Souls”.  Although an incredibly peaceful race, Souls can only survive by being inserted into a host body, taking control of their minds.  Melanie is captured by this race, and a Soul named Wanderer is placed inside Melanie’s mind, in an effort to discover the secret whereabouts of some of the last remaining human colonies.  Wanderer soon realizes that Melanie has not faded away in consciousness, and she is putting up a grand fight in order to prevent her family from being found. 

As time passes and Wanderer tries to break Melanie's walls, she begins to feel sympathetic toward the humans Melanie loves so dearly- her brother Jamie and her boyfriend, Jared Howe.  As Wanderer and Melanie’s trust builds, they embark on a journey through the desert to find the resistance, nearly dying in the process.  They are found by Melanie’s uncle, who brings her back to the human resistance— only to discover that Melanie is now a Soul and everyone, including Jared, wants her dead.

Wanderer chooses to help the humans hide from The Seeker (Diane Kruger), who is one of the main leaders of the Souls.  She is very vindictive towards the human race, and is determined to find and seize the remaining human survivors.  “The Host” tells an inspiring story of friendship, love, loyalty, and the strength of the human spirit.

I have never read “The Host”, so I only hope that the story line was a little fuller.  I understand that the movie was just over two hours long, but I still think that is enough time to develop strong character relationships.  I felt that there wasn’t enough character development, and the movie jumped into the story too fast without giving the audience enough time to understand who these people were.

I enjoyed the movie enough, but I wouldn’t give it a standing ovation.  You be the judge for yourself.  Check out the trailer, along with an interview with the cast from the movie.  Tell me what you think!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

"The Call": Surprisingly Good Thriller

Last night I went to see the suspense/thriller, “The Call”, which starred Halle Berry and Abigail Breslin.  It was directed by Brad Anderson, and a lot of reviewers pronounced it to be high-concept.  The film follows Jordan Turner (Halle Berry), who is a 911 operator.  On one of her shifts, she receives a call from a frantic teenage girl whose house has been invaded by a serial killer.  Jordan's clever instructions allow Leah to escape the killer, but when the call disconnects, Jordan redials the number which alerts the killer.  This mistake costs the girls life, and she is found dead several days later.  After this traumatic event, Jordan explains to her boyfriend that she can no longer field 911 calls.

Six months later, Jordan is now a trainer for 911 operations.  This is when a rookie operator receives a call from teenager, Casey Welson (Abigail Breslin).  She was kidnapped in a mall parking lot and shoved into the trunk of a car.  Casey is obviously distraught and fearing her impending murder.  The rookie operator is inexperienced and clearly cannot handle the situation, so this is when Jordan takes over the call.  Jordan soon realizes through the call that the man who kidnapped Casey, is the same man who murdered the other girl 6 months prior.  Jordan is forced to confront the killer from her past in order to save Casey’s life. 

“The Call” was expected to earn about $11-12 million on its opening weekend, but surpassed this by a significant margin and grossed $17 million in its first three days.  The Call” has received mixed reviews from critics, as it currently holds a 40% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 81 reviews with the consensus: "The Call builds plenty of suspense before taking a problematic turn in the third act”.  I have to agree with this unanimity.  I found the film to be extremely thrilling, but I was unhappy with how quick and short the end of the movie was.  I felt as though there could have been a better way to finish out the movie.  That being said, I thought that Abigail Breslin gave a tremendous performance, and she really made the audience sympathize, and fear for her situation. 

It’s not an Oscar winning film, but if you’re looking to be creeped out, and kept clinging to the edge of your seat—then I recommend you go see this flick.

As always, here is a trailer for the movie, along with Halle Berry's interview for the call.



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Argo": Great Film; Historically Inaccurate

So you know those weeks where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to fit everything in?  Well this past week was like that for me.  I was so busy with school, work, and family, that I just couldn’t get a chance to see a new movie this week.  I had planned on seeing “The Call” with Halle Berry, but something ALWAYS seemed to get in the way.  I was worried that I wouldn’t have anything to blog about this week, but then it hit me.  I remembered that I had seen “Argo” not too long ago—and this film has sparked some recent controversy so I figured now would be a perfect time to submit my thoughts!

For those who don’t know much about this film, “Argo” won a TON of worldwide awards, including the Oscar this year for Best Picture.  It’s a historical drama, thriller starring Ben Affleck, and was also directed by him as well.  In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by Iranian revolutionaries and several Americans were taken hostage.  Six of them managed to escape to the official residence of the Canadian Ambassador and the CIA was eventually ordered to get them out of the country.  Exfiltration expert Tony Mendez (Affleck) developed a plan to create a fake Canadian film project looking to shoot in Iran, in order to successfully smuggle the Americans out as its production crew.  He seeks out the help from some trusted Hollywood contacts, and they work together to try and put this plan in motion. 

I thought it was a fantastic film.  Affleck fully immerses you into this hostage crisis, almost to the point where you feel as though you were actually there.  It was witty, thrilling, and emotional all at once.  However, as a Canadian who was not even alive in the time where this event took place, I am still aware that this film EXTREMELY downplayed Canada’s involvement.  Argo largely credits the American CIA at the expense of the Canadian’s.  In an interview conducted my CNN, former President Jimmy Carter says that “90 percent of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian”.  He also gives his personal opinion stating that the real hero was the Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor, who orchestrated the entire process.  According to him, Tony Mendez, who was played very well by Affleck, was only in Tehran for “a day and a half.”

I understand that this was a Hollywood movie, and it of course was American, which is probably the main reason why the Canadian contributions were kerbed.  I just hope that those who enjoyed the film will educate themselves on this important piece of history—with the ACTUAL FACTS.  With all that being said, I still recommend that everyone see this movie, and let me know your thoughts on it!  You can leave me a comment here at the bottom!

I’ll also leave the theatrical trailer at the bottom, along with the CNN interview with Jimmy Carter.  Very interesting and worth checking out!