Rush (2013) The true story of the rivalry of Formula 1 racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda from the mid 70s.
I had high hopes for this movie going into it. After reading some of my more trusted critic's reviews, claiming that it is Ron Howard's best film and such, I was excited. I think maybe...too excited. I was asking for greatness, and all I saw was good. So....let's do two paragraphs. One for what I liked and what I didn't.
What I liked: this movie requires no knowledge of Formula 1 racing. Far and away the best part of the movie is the part where it does a spectacular job making the world of Formula 1 make sense without obviously holding your hand. Another great thing is the acting. Chris Hemsworth is great as James Hunt, but the man who deserves all the conversation is Daniel Bruhl as Niki Lauda. He steals the show in this, to the point that I wouldn't be surprised if I'm asking for an Oscar nomination for him at the end of the year. He plays a character who's an asshole, to the point that he could've faded into the shadows as the "bad guy". But instead he turns this character into a very likeable person. To the point that I was rooting for him come the final showdown. He puts in an incredibly memorable performance. Additionally, this movie is beautifully shot. The racing scenes were breathtaking, and the crash sequences had me cringing in my seat.
What I disliked: remember the part where I said I was rooting for Lauda at the end? Ya this was the biggest problem. Think of every sports movie you've ever seen. There is an incredibly obvious character or team that you are rooting for. This is completely nonexistent in Rush. About halfway through the movie I realized that I had NO idea who we were supposed to root for. The playboy James Hunt was not the most likable of characters, and Lauda was an asshole but thanks to the brilliance of Bruhl he becomes the most likable character, and given what happens to him you can't help but root for him. But Howard is constrained by what really happened here so....ya. I'm trying not to spoil here even though it's not since the movie is based on real events. My other major complaint is that OLIVIA WILDE IS TOTALLY UNDERUSED IN THIS MOVIE. I mean c'mon guys! She actually was a really interesting character here, playing Hunt's wife. There was an attempted story arc between her and Hunt and the playboy persona Hunt has, and then how Hunt deals with his sexual desires but then oh! Nevermind. They split, Hunt goes back to how he was, and Wilde is delegated to random clips of her watching the final showdown from a TV set. C'mon Hollywood! Olivia Wilde is so talented!!!! And beautiful. She steals the show in everything she's given a chance to do so in. GAH! Hell Jessica Biel gets bigger movies than Wilde. They look so similar but Wilde is 1000000x better when it comes to acting. Why? Ok this has turned into a total Olivia Wilde fanboy rant so I'm going to stop now.
So I think I am going to switch my initial statement. I was expecting perfection, but all I got was greatness. That is probably pretty accurate.
The Critique: a fun, exhilarating sports movie with interesting character development. A very entertaining way to spend 123 minutes of your life.
The Recommendation: There is something here for anyone. Might be one of the better date movies out there right now. Well Don Jon is a thing but if your GF doesn't like porn I would strongly discourage that choice. But again if you're looking to have fun you will definitely find it here.
Where to See It: See this one at the movie theater. The racing sequences are amazing on the big screen.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great
Prisoners (2013) Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal star in this mystery-suspense thriller filled with twists and turns.
First of all apologies from my end for the lateness of this review. My Saturday was insane and as a result I did not have an appropriate amount of time to formulate my thoughts for this review. But....better late than never right?
This movie was fun. A lot of fun. It is a classic who-done-it flick, with a lot of twists that are quite impressive and (for the most part) unpredictable. Additionally, it is masterfully acted. This is without a doubt the best part of the movie. Honestly, if you are a fan of movies, I would strongly recommend seeing this for nothing else but the acting. There is a clinic on this in here somewhere. Jackman and Gyllenhaal was great, but the man who stole the show was Paul Dano. If you are asking yourself who Paul Dano is, watch There Will Be Blood. That was one of the most memorable acting performances I've seen in recent memory. And he was just as memorable in this movie, despite being in darkness for a large portion of the movie. Certainly blew Ryan Reynolds in Buried out of the water. Sorry Ryan. My biggest problem with this movie was its length. It is waaaaay too long at 153 minutes. And there's a completely unnecessary and unbelievable and forced FOURTH act. I really wish that they had not even included this ending. Which is a shame because I saw reviews of critics praising the ending but man I just didn't see it at all.
Honestly, there's not a lot to say here. I don't want to spoil anything, because the whole purpose of a who-done-it flick is to not know what's happening. It is well written, with a lot of great themes prevalent throughout the movie, despite being rather formulaic in its events. It is well acted, with everyone showing up and putting in great performances. It's pretty memorable, but it is definitely not going to show up at the Oscars. Still, I would recommend it.
The Critique: a classic and fun who-done-it. Overlong and mostly lacking memorability, it is still a good way to spend 150 minutes.
The Recommendation: If you like mysteries, you will LOVE this movie. If you like acting, this movie is a clinic. If you have no interest in either, you probably aren't reading this review.
Where to see it: seeing it in a movie theater did not add to the experience. Redbox or Netflix will work just fine.
The Verdict: 7/10 Good
Insidious Chapter 2 (2013) A direct sequel of the original, Chapter 2 picks up right where Chapter 1 left off, with the entirety of the original cast returning to find out the truth about who is the lady in gray? Sound interesting and haven't seen a trailer? Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBbi4NeebAk
So I liked this movie. I liked it a lot. Something to say right off the bat: I STRONGLY recommend seeing the first one before you see this one. You will feel lost throughout this movie if you try to just jump into this story. So throughout the review I will compare the two. It would be impossible not to do so. By the way I'm not sure if you caught it before but I said story. One of my main complaints against the first one was that it did not have a very coherent story. Well, they do a far better job with the story this go around. There are some plot holes (like, and this isn't a spoiler because it's pretty vague, but what happened to the baby in the ENTIRE second and third act?) but they are far fewer this time around. So that's good. Another cool thing about this movie is that it has a very unique and interesting concept. To quote IGN's review of Chapter 2, this movie is not afraid to explore its mythology. It explores many of the points that the first movie brought up, as well as the consequences of the final scene of the original. (Remember what was in the picture at the end?) What results is a slightly more believable movie, but the side effect is a far more predictable movie. The suspense and scares are created through the ol' fashioned 'don't open the door!' type scares as opposed to 'what is gonna happen next?' which is a far scarier scare. I don't think that's grammatically correct but whatever. From what I have heard, The Conjuring does that second scare very well. I bring this up because James Wan directed both of these movies. Because of this, the critics are struggling to not compare the two because this is Wan's next horror flick after that. Fortunately for me though, I don't have to because I haven't seen The Conjuring! Yay!
Brace yourselves: here comes my brief Patrick Wilson plug. This is my man-crush. He is so talented and gorgeous, and I have loved everything he's done thus far in his young career. And this is quite possibly the best performance I have ever seen from him. There were times when, at the height of the scares surrounding his character, I had to remind myself that it was Patrick Wilson I was seeing on screen He was so good!!!!! Oh right, there were other actors in this as well. Rose Byrne is great too. She is an extremely underrated actress. Barbara Hershey puts in a good performance, as well as the "comedic relief" ghost hunters. They had several very funny exchanges. That's another thing this movie has going for it: there's more comedy to offset the suspense. But Wan found the perfect balance here to ensure that there's comedy to ease the tension, while simultaneously not having the comedy become a distraction. But overall, the acting is great. Everyone takes this movie's concept very seriously, and it shows on screen. One thing that was sorely missing to me though was that the score. In the original the score brought something terrifying to the movie, and Tiny Tim's Tiptoe through the Tulips was and still is one of the best song selections in a movie in the history of mankind. That was a joke at over-exaggeration if you couldn't tell. But it was a great element of the original! Here however, music takes a backseat. Tiptoe through the Tulips does not make an appearance in the film at all, despite showing up in almost every piece of advertising. I was kind of shocked by this.
Still, at the end of the day, you go to a scary movie to be scared. And this movie certainly delivered in that aspect. So, as I discussed in my review of the original, I can forgive some of the plot holes this one contained. I was just glad to see that there were fewer of them. In short, if you are a fan of Insidious 1 you will enjoy Insidious 2 just as much. Or more, in my case. And if you were on the fence with Insidious 1....this one will probably win you over. It was a fun time.
The Critique: a fun, scary horror flick with a rather interesting premise. One of the best horror films of the last few years. Excluding The Conjuring.
The Recommendation: this is a bulletproof plan to cuddling guys, so take advantage of it! Also any horror fan or Insidious fan will find themselves right at home with this movie.
Where to See it: the movie theater is the place to go for this one. There is nothing like being scared with a room full of people.
The Verdict: 8/10 Great
Now to try to figure out how to sleep....