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Posts Categorized: Movie Thoughts

Friday, July 29, 2016

Movie Thoughts: Nerve

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-13, Review0 Comments

NerveTitle: Nerve (Official site)
Tag Line: We dare you
Release Date: 27 Jul 2016
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 96 min
Genres: Adventure | Crime | Mystery| Sci-Fi | Thriller
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Movie Theater (screening)
Production Company: LionsgateAllison Shearmur ProductionsKeep Your HeadSupermarché
Distributed By: Lionsgate
Director(s): Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman
Writers: Jeanne Ryan (novel), Jessica Sharzer (screenplay)
Stars: Emma Roberts (Vee), Dave Franco (Ian), Emily Meade (Sydney), Miles Heizer (Tommy), Kimiko Glenn (Liv), Marc John Jefferies (Wes), Machine Gun Kelly (Ty),  Brian ‘Sene’ Marc (J.P.), Samira Wiley (Hacker Kween), Juliette Lewis (Nancy)

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to see a screening of the the movie NERVE which is based off of a YA book by Jeanne Ryan. I haven’t read this book so I didn’t know too much about the movie before nerve 4walking into the screening other than what the previews showed. NERVE is shown mostly from the point of Venus, called Vee by friends, who is your stereotypical sheltered good girl who longs to break out of her shell. When her BFF Sydney starts to play the hot new game, NERVE which is a mobile app that dares players to do crazy and outlandish things for cash. The more watchers a player has and the more daring the dare the more money they make as they race to be among the final two to win the game.

I wasn’t a big fan of Sydney as she is that typical faux-BFF that is seen all too often in YA books. Where nerve 3she’s only a friend when the other person does what she’s told and doesn’t outshine her. So when Vee not only joins the game as a player but also starts to gain a following Sydney is not happy. As Vee plays the game she meets up with Ian, a bad boy on a motorcycle, and they pair up to try and gain more followers. Ian helps Vee to break out of her shell and to see just how brave and capable she is but all may not be as it seems. This bad boy comes with some secrets and Vee is the one who ends up facing the consequences.

NERVE is a fast paced movie that provides a good social commentary on the internet and mob mentality. Its so easy to be a watcher and to remain anonymous as you egg others on to do things that nerve 5you probably wouldn’t encourage otherwise. Like to commit acts of theft, kiss a stranger, or moon a crowd during a football game. When you are anonymous, you are removed from events and so have the false sense of security that even though you are watching you aren’t culpable no matter what is going on in front of you. Or in how you might help in bringing certain events into being. The explosion of NERVE’s popularity among Vee and her friends is swift and addictive and like so many things on the internet seems like harmless fun. Things do take a darker turn as the movie progress and its a good reminder that even in real life there is a dark side to the internet and its always best to proceed with caution.

I enjoyed NERVE and I liked how it was shot both from Vee’s POV and from the POV of the watcher. nerve-film-1024As a member of the audience there are times when you are viewing the scenes as if from inside of a computer. You see just how unaware the players sometimes are of the things that are going on around them and how they are always watched even when the player thinks they are alone. As a viewer you also see just how invasive this game goes into each players personal life. Its scary sometimes to think about the access some of the harmless seeming phone apps we use on a daily are but in reality just how much data mining are these apps doing?

I definitely enjoyed NERVE more than I thought I would and I am definitely more curious about the book now and how it compares. I liked Vee and the journey that she takes over the course of this movie. Are things crazy over the top sometimes? Yes. But its a movie and an action one at that so I don’t expect it to be 100% realistic. But at the same time I can see something like NERVE taking a city by storm. I can see kids and adults alike wanting to take part and for these dares to come about. So in that sense the movie does have a realistic vibe to it. Even as everything does get tied up nicely at the end.

My Recommendation: Worth seeing but more of a Netflix night than a night on the town type of movie.

Bechdel Test

 

Does it pass the Bechdel Test?

Also known as the Bechdel–Wallace test, the test is named after the American cartoonist Alison Bechdel, in whose comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For it first appeared in 1985. Bechdel credited the idea to a friend, Liz Wallace, and to the writings of Virginia Woolf. The Bechdel test asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. The requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added. Only about half of all films meet these requirements, according to user-edited databases and the media industry press. The test is used as an indicator for the active presence of women in films and other fiction, and to call attention to gender inequality in fiction due to sexism.

NERVE Bedschel Results:

1. Does it have at least two named women? Yes
2. Who talk to each other? Yes
3. About something besides a man? Yes

 

Pass

 

irishdarkblue

three-half-stars
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Movie Thoughts: Pitch Perfect 2

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Review0 Comments

pitch perfect 2Title: Pitch Perfect 2 (Official site)
Tag Line: We’re back, pitches!
Release Date: 15 May 2015
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 115 min
Genres: Comedy | Musical
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Movie Theater
Production Company: Universal PicturesGold Circle FilmsBrownstone Productions
Distributed By: Universal Pictures
Director(s): Elizabeth Banks
Writers: Kay CannonMickey Rapkin
Stars: Anna Kendrick (Beca), Rebel Wilson (Far Amy), Hailee Steinfeld (Emily), Brittany Snow (Chloe), Skylar Astin (Jesse), Adam DeVine (Bumper), Katey Sagal (Katherine), Anna Camp (Aubry), Ben Platt (Benji), Alexis Knapp (Stacie), Hana Mae Lee (Lilly), Ester Dean (Cynthia Rose), Chrissie Fit (Flo), Birgitte Hjort Sørensen (Kommissar), Flula Borg (Pieter Kramer), John Michael Higgins (John), Elizabeth Banks (Gail)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

When PITCH PERFECT (my review) came out in 2012 I wasn’t sure what to expect from it and ended up being happily surprised by how much I enjoyed it. When I heard there was going to be a sequel I was looking forward to it but also a tad worried as sequels Pitch Perfect 2can go so terribly wrong. PITCH PERFECT 2 is set 3 years after the first film and we learn that the Barden Bellas have been on a winning streak on the A Capella circuit. That is until an unfortunate incident in front of the President of the United States has it all come crashing down. As part of the Bellas punishment they can’t recruit new members and as the rest of the group are seniors this could mean the end of an era for the Barden Bellas. While I think that the punishment is a bit overkill it does add some drama to the movie. I also thought it strange that in 3 years the Bellas hadn’t added any new members to the group, especially since the end of the first film had them hosting auditions. But again, no new members adds more drama. However, thanks to a loop hole they are allowed to let Emily into the group, a freshman and a legacy to the Barden Bellas.

While I did enjoy PITCH PERFECT 2, I did find the previews to be a it misleading. The previews make it seem like the movie is going Pitch Perfect 2to be all about the world competition but that is a very minor thing in the movie. The bulk of the movie is about the Bellas all freaking out over the fate of the group and what they are going to do once they graduate. I also felt that there could have been more singing in the movie and that the Treble Makers were totally under utilized. I missed the Jesse/Beca moments but I did enjoy the Benji/Emily ones. I also liked Beca at her internship and the scenes with her boss and Dax but felt that it separated her from the Bellas too much. And while I did like the new character, Emily, in the end she was just awkward and out of place during most of the movie.

Where PITCH PERFECT 2 shines is with its comedic moments. While things did drag at times there were laughs from the opening scene to the closing credits. I especially loved the mid-credit scene with Bumper on the Voice. I also enjoyed the various Bumper and pp2 3Fat Amy scenes over the course of the film though against the more we saw of them the more apparent it was that there wasn’t much in the way of Beca and Jesse. I really missed all those cute Beca/Jesse moments of the first film. I did enjoy the the various cameo appearances throughout the movie though my favorite was the Green Bay Packers. It was surprising and entertaining and I wish that their scene was longer as it was so enjoyable. I like the a capella battles and wish there was more moments like that in the movie.

I also liked Gail and John’s inappropriate commentary throughout the movie and it was just as fun as it was in the first movie. They were in it just enough to be funny and shocking. Lily continued to say crazy things under her breath though like pp2 eJesse she wasn’t used as much as she could have been. And I did like how there was no explosive vomiting scenes as those were totally unnecessary in the first movie. Overall, I did enjoy this movie and thing that its worth going to see. PITCH PERFECT 2 has a lot of the elements in the first movie that I loved though things weren’t as fresh and unique. Its a good sequel but its not as good as the first film. There is also the potential for a third movie to happen so it will be interesting to see if they happens or not. That will all depend on box office ratings I’m sure.

 

My Recommendation: Worth seeing in the theatre if you liked the first film.

irishdarkblue

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Movie Thoughts: Avengers – Age of Ultron

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Review2 Comments

Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-PosterTitle: Avengers – Age of Ultron (Official Site)
Release Date: 01 May 2015
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 141 min
Genres: Action , Adventure, Sci-Fi
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Movie Theater
Production Company: Marvel StudiosDistributed By: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director(s): Joss Whedon
Writers: Joss Whedon (screenplay & story ), Stan Lee (comic book), and  Jack Kirby (comic book)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/Hulk), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), James Spader (Ultron), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Don Cheadle (James Rhodes/War Machine), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Paul Bettany (Jarvis/Vison),  Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), and Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Avengers – Age of Ultron is the newest release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and continues story lines that were Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) ..Ph: Jay Maidment..©Marvel 2015 begun in previous films. Age of Ultron starts off right in the middle of an action scene and it confused me a bit because it felt like I had missed something. I love a good action scene but I also like to have a little build up to it, an explanation for it, and not to be just tossed in the middle of it with no warning. Not that it wasn’t a good action scene, because it was. The Avengers team are working really well together and have found their grove. They use their weapons and abilities in tandom and are able to trade snarky one liners throughout and so while things start off with a bang and some confusion there is also banner and laughter as well.

Marvel's Avengers: Age Of Ultron..Quicksilver/Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) and Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen)..Ph: Jay Maidment..?Marvel 2015Age of Ultron also introduces a few new players to the world, including Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. Along with the baddie of the film, Ultron and also Vision. Most of what I know about all of these people are what I learn in the movies. I was never a huge comic reader growing up and there is just so much lore that I’m lucky there are people on the internet who can help fill me in on everything. But boy can it get confusing at times. That side I really liked the new characters and what they brought to the film. I like the banter between Quicksilver and Hawkeye as well as most of Ultron’s lines. James Spader is the king of delivery in this one and even when he was trying to kill the Avengers he did it in a way that makes you laugh in the process.

Age of Ultron goes by quickly but it lacked something for me that prevents me from loving it fully. While there was a lot of action there wasn’t a whole lot of depth or character development. Well, aside from several scenes devoted to Avengers-Age-of-Ultron-Black-Widowone character who I loved seeing more about. Though, while informative, they were manipulative at the same time and I don’t like to feel like I’m being manipulated. This is part of why I don’t read John Green or Nicholas Sparks as both of them love to manipulate the reader. I also wasn’t a fan of Black Widow’s character in this movie. She is the total badass and yet it seems in the last couple of movies that she’s been regulated to sidekick and then love interest. In the first Avengers it seemed like she had a thing with Hawkeye, in Winter Soldier with Captain America, and this time around it was Bruce Banner. While there was also funny banter between Thor and Tony Stark on who was the better girlfriend, Jane or Pepper, they got to shine as heroes and fighters while Black Widow gets captured. Granted she does have some good fighting moments it just seems most of her dialogue was romantic in nature.

Overall, I enjoyed Age of Ultron and am glad that I saw it in the theatres but I don’t think its my favorite film in this Captain-America-Thor_612x380franchise. Unlike many in my social media friends lists I don’t have a burning desire to see it again. Though maybe if I did I might like it more. I don’t know. There’s just something that felt a bit flat for me with this one and there is lots of set up for that ultimate battle which will be coming with Infinity Wars. I wanted to love this one and I think maybe I just built it up too much in my head after my unexpected love of the first Avengers. That said, it is worth watching if you are a fan of the series as the action scenes are totally off the hook. I just want a little more from my action movies sometimes and this one didn’t fully deliver on that though I am curious to see how events in this film affect other Marvel Cinematic Universe storylines.

 

My Recommendation: Worth seeing in the theatre if you liked the first film. If you were just meh on it then you might want to wait for DVD.

Click here to read some funny lines from the movie – Spoilers abound!

irishdarkblue

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Movie Thoughts: Home (3D)

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Review0 Comments

HomeTitle: Home (Official site)
Tag Line: Worlds Collide
Release Date: 27 March 2015
Rating: G
Runtime: 94 min
Genres: Animation | Fantasy | Comedy | Adventure
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Theater (screening)
Production Company: DreamWorks Animation
Distributed By: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Director(s): Tim Johnson
Writer(s): Adam Rex (novel), Tom J. Astle (screenplay), Matt Ember (screenplay)
Stars: Jim Parsons (Oh), Rihanna (Gratuity ‘Tip’ Tucci), Steve Martin (Captain Smek), Jennifer Lopez (Lucy Tucci), Matt Jones (Kyle), Brian Stepanek (Gorg Commander / Father / Boov), April Lawrence (Boov Announcer)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Home is the newest animation release from Dreamworks studios and is loosely based on the book, The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. Though I didn’t realize it was based on a book until the end credits and as I’ve
Home1 never read this book I can’t make any comments on how true it is to the story. However, based on what I’ve read of Smekday’s synopsis there are several surface changes in terms of names and locations. But not knowing it was based on anything else allowed me to just sit back and enjoy this cute film.

I became interested in this one when I first saw the previews and they had me cracking up. Jim Parson’s voicing of Oh is perfect and there are times in which Oh is the Boov version of Sheldon Cooper. Just Sheldon Cooper’s less smart self and all of his social akwardness. There is also a little Oh in all of us, Home2where we all just want to be liked and that we often make mistakes along the way. Rhianna also does a great job as Tip and when I hear Rhianna speak as herself its hard to mesh her adult self with the 13 year old animated girl she plays so well. Tip is full of sass and fire and she copes so well when aliens invade her world and somehow miss her in their relocation of all the Earth’s humans to other locations on the planet.

Tip and Oh meet under hilarious circumstances and while Tip is rightfully cautious of Oh he immediately takes to her and wants to be her friend. Of course it doesn’t hurt that she can help him escape as he has made one mistake too many with his Boov allies and he’s a wanted Boov. The two travel together and along the wayHome3 Tip learns to see past her initial reaction and learns to like Oh for who he is and the two become friends. And through Tip, Oh learns a lot as well. Tip is brave and filled with hope even in the most dire of circumstances. She’ll run towards danger if she thinks that she has a shot at helping someone else. Which is a concept foreign to the Boov and a great message for Oh and young viewers. Its ok to be scared but being scared doesn’t mean you aren’t incapable of doing that difficult task ahead of you.

Home is filled with action and adventure and lots of laughter that kids and adults will enjoy. There is the slapstick humor that is more readily accessible to younger audiences and also the more subtle sarcastic moments that will Home4appeal to adults. Its truly a film that will appeal to all generations. Though all is not filled with laughs as I will admit that there as a time or two when I totally teared up with what was happening on the screen. (Stupid animated movie trying to make me cry!)

All in all Home is a fun movie and Tip is a great role model. We need more girls like Tip on the big screen. She’s smart and funny as well as flawed and real. I also loved that she was a character of color. I enjoyed most everything about this film and my quibbles are all minor and not worth mentioning. Home is filled with wonderful animation and was just a joy to watch. Totally worth seeing.

My Recommendation: Worth seeing in the theatre, though don’t think 3D adds anything extra to this one.

 

irishdarkblue

 

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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Movie Thoughts: The Judge

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated R, Review1 Comment

The Judge

Official Movie Poster

Title: The Judge (Official Site)
Tag Line: Defend your Honor.
Release Date: 10 October 2014
Rating: R
Runtime: 141 min
Genres: Drama
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Where Seen: Movie Screening
Production Company: Warner Bros.
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Director(s): David Dobkin
Writer(s): Nick Schenk (screenplay & story), Bill Dubuque (screenplay), David Dobkin (story)
Stars: Robert Downey Jr. (Hank Palmer), Robert Duvall (Joseph Palmer), Vera Farmiga (Samantha Powell), Billy Bob Thornton (Dwight Dickham), Vincent D’Onofrio (Glen Palmer), Jeremy Strong (Dale Palmer), Dax Shepard (C.P. Lennedy), Ken Howard (Judge Warren), Emma Tremblay (Lauren Palmer)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

The Judge1The Judge is one of those movies that I knew I had to see the moment I learned who was in it. I have been a big fan of Robert Downey, Jr’s for years and I was excited to see him in something that would stretch his acting chops a bit. His performance in The Judge is nothing short of stellar and I loved his interactions with Robert Duvall who plays his father. The story focuses on Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) who returns home after many years away to attend his mother’s funeral. There is some bad blood between Hank and his father (Robert Duvall) and the tension between the two is palpable. Your heart aches as these two appear together as you can see that under all the anger an ill words that there is a lot of hurt and pain. Before Hank can leave town his father, a respected judge, is accused of murder and he feels like he has to stay in order to defend him.

The Judge is a slow moving, character driven film and if you are looking for bells and whistles you will want to check out the action movie in The Judge 2the theatre next door. This is a movie that finds its strength in quiet moments and dialogue scenes as all the characters try to find their way back to each other. The Judge is a serious film but there are also moments of laughter and scenes that will make your heart ache at the touching moment that is happening on screen. I do think that Vincent D’Onofrio and Jeremy Strong were under-utilized as Hank’s brothers Glen and Dale and wish that they had more time with RDJ and Duvall. 

Billy Bob Thornton does an excellent job as the prosecutor and really enjoyed all the courtroom scenes in this film. I also loved the moments that Thornton and RDJ shared on screen as they both tried to fight the best case they could. The Judge was a powerful film andThe Judge 3 its one that I hope will earn some of its cast members an award nomination or two. Its a movie that just sucks you in and makes you a part of the small Indiana town where its set. You feel like you are a part of the Palmer family and you are sitting right there in the courtroom hoping that RDJ can work his magic as he tries the hardest case of his life. 

All the characters in The Judge go through tremendous growth throughout the course of the movie and who they are at the start is not who they are at the end. TheThe Judge 4 Judge is a movie that will touch your heart stings and one that I am glad that I saw. Its filled with so many nuances and a great soundtrack and one that I don’t think you will regret seeing.

My recommendation: Worth seeing in the theatre but will also be a great DVD rental.

irishdarkblue

 

 

The Judge Banner2
four-stars
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Movie Thoughts: Maze Runner

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-13, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Maze Runner Poster

Official Movie Poster

Title: The Maze Runner (Official Facebook)
Tag Line: Get ready to run.
Release Date: 19 September 2014
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 113 min
Genres: Action | Mystery | Sci-Fi | Thriller | Dystopian
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Movie Screening
Production Company: 20th Century Fox
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Director(s): Wes Ball
Writer(s): Noah Oppenheim (screenplay), Grant Pierce Myers (screenplay), T.S. Nowlin (screenplay), James Dashner (novel)
Stars: Dylan O’Brien (Thomas), Aml Ameen (Alby), Ki Hong Lee (Minho), Blake Cooper (Chuck), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Newt), Will Poulter (Gally), Dexter Darden (Frypan), Kaya Scodelario (Teresa), Chris Sheffield (Ben), Joe Adler (Zart), Jacob Latimore (Jeff), Alexander Flores (Winston), Randall D. Cunningham (Clint), Patricia Clarkson (Ava Paige)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Earlier this week I was able to go see a movie screening for The Maze Runner which was based off of James Dashner’s novel of the same name which was released in 2009 (my review). There was Maze Runner 4much to like in the book and I was very curious to see how these words and descriptions were going to be brought to life by Hollywood. Just looking at the initial movie stills I knew I was going to be in for a visual treat as the images of the maze were very similar to the cover image of the book only better as now there was more of it. The entire movie was such a visual treat for the eyes and I was totally sucked into this crazy world and believed that it existed. I also spent most of the movie on the edge of my seat as it was non-stop action almost from the moment that Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) wakes up in the box.

As with most book to movie adaptations there were some small changes made from page to screen Maze Runner 2but most of these differences are negligable. For one, timelines were shortened (if my memory serves me right) but this only makes the action sequences all the more intense. Then there were some things that were revealed that I don’t think were mentioned until the next book but even that was just a minor quibble. In many ways I almost liked the movie better than the book as it can be so hard to picture certain things in your head from a loose description in a book. Case in point, the grievers. Oh my stars did the visual effects team come up with a total win on these terrfying creatures. These beasts that live in the maze made most people in the audience jump when first introduced and even made a few others scream out loud. This is how real they appreaed and we didn’t even see this in 3D. Add to this the amazing score and your heat is pumping almost as fast as that of the runners throughout the entire movie.

In the book, two of my favorite characters were Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Minho (Ki Hong Lee) and I loved what the actors brought to their characters. I love them both even more now and I look forward to what Brodie-Sangster and Lee will do with them if The Scorch TrialsMaze Runner 1 gets greenlighted. Which after seeing The Maze Runner I don’t have any doubts will happen.  I was also really excited to see what Dylan O’Brien would do with the character of Thomas, especially after what he did with his character Stiles on last season of Teen Wolf. And while Thomas isn’t as intense as a possessed Stiles there is a seriousness to him and O’Brien managages to show so much expression without needing to vocalize his thoughts. Of all the people in this movie the only one that I had issues with was Kaya Scodelario who played Teresa and that was mostly because she kept reminding me of a young Kristen Stewart though less mopey and more expressive. But this thought kept popping into my head whenever she was on screen and it took me out of the false-reality of the movie for a few beats.

The best part of this movie though was the ending. Those that have read the book probably know Maze Runner 3to which scene I am referring to and I just have to say that Wes Ball did an amazing job with it. There were a few moments when I wasn’t sure if they would go there and when they did the gasps of the audience were audible. I think I might have gasped myself and I knew it was coming! Overall I was really impressed with The Maze Runner movie and those its been years since I read the book I felt that it was very true to my memory of it. The maze was amazing to see on the big screen and the cast was just phenominally chosen. I went into this screening with low expectations, just as I always do when a book I’ve read was turned into a movie, but I’m happy to report that this adaptation blew me away. As I said above it was visually stunning and for that alone I have to give this movie props.  Even if you haven’t read the book this is a movie worth seeing I don’t think that you will be disappointed.

My recommendation: Worth seeing on the big screen.

irishdarkblue

five-stars
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Movie Thoughts: If I Stay

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-13, Review5 Comments

if_i_stayTitle: If I Stay (Official Site)
Tag Line: Live for love.
Release Date: 22 August 2014
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 106 min
Genres: Drama
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Movie Screening
Production Company: DiNovi PicturesMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)New Line Cinema
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Director(s): R.J. Cutler
Writer(s): Shauna Cross (screenplay), Gayle Forman (novel)
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz (Mia Hall), Mireille Enos (Kat), Jamie Blackley (Adam), Joshua Leonard (Denny), Liana Liberato (Kim), Stacy Keach (Gramps), Gabrielle Rose (Gran), Jakob Davies (Teddy), Ali Milner (Liz), Aisha Hinds (Nurse Ramirez), Gabrielle Cerys Haslett (Young Mia), Lauren Lee Smith (Willow), Christine Willes (Nurse Davis), Chelah Horsdal (Liddy)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

As a book I wasn’t overly fond of If I Stay there was just something about the writing and how some of the scenes played out that just turned me off. So much so that as of writing this, If I Stay is the only Gayle Forman book that I’ve read despite so many people telling me how much I NEED to read her If I Stay1others. When I first heard that If I Stay was going to be turned into a movie I may have sighed and though but what about <<insert other book titles here>>. THAT one would make a far better movie and while I do still think that there are other realistic contemporary young adult books that should be made into movies I’m not as ambivalent to If I Stay as I once was.

The previews didn’t wow me for this movie and if it wasn’t for recieving screening passes then I probably would have waited for this one to stream on Netflix before I watched it. But if I had then I would have missed out on something special. If I Stay is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the book. Chloë Grace Moretz really shines as Mia and she just took my breath away with the range of emotion she managed to convey. Mia’s role isn’t an easy and Moretz does a fabulous job bringing the before and after Mia to life. The supporting cast was also super excellent and I loved every one. The only actor that I had issues with was Jamie Blackley who played Adam and often came across as stiff If I Stay2on screen. Some of this though might be projection to some of the idiotic things that the character of Adam does in this story. There is so much push and pull between these two as they each try to hold on to each other while also trying to follow their dreams that it really tugs on the heart strings.

Another thing that this movie did really well was how it wove in Mia’s past with her present as she wandering about the hospital trying to figure out what she should do next. I was engrossed in this movie and got so caught up in the story that the world around me mostly fell away. I say mostly because I couldn’t seem to stop thinking about how Mia in the now was barefoot for all of her scenes. I keep thinking that poor actress and can someone please give her some shoes as those floors have to be cold! But those moments were fleeting and I mostly just sat there engrossed. My heart aching as events moved forward and we got to see all the various hurts and all those wonderful family moments that you almost wanted Mia to leave. Though at the same time there was still so much left for her to stay for that you are really torn on what choice you want her to make.

If I Stay nearly brought me to tears as well. Ok, there were some tears but just before this movie made me want to ugly cry (as others in the audience did) it moved to a past memory that was so If I Stay3heart achingly perfect that you can’t help but smile and laugh and want to freeze time right there. Right at that perfect moment so that the accident and nothing bad happens and these characters can just stay with each other forever with no hard choices needing to be made. Sadly though you can’t freeze time and bad things do happen and somehow you have to find the strength to pick yourself up and move on.

The soundtrack for If I Stay was also one of the best film soundtracks that I can recall in a very long time. Each song chosen and every note of the musical score was just perfect for the scene that it was in. Its a soundtrack that makes you want to immediatly run out to buy it just so you can relive all those moments in the film. And the storyline of the story along with how it ends makes me want to read Where She Went for the first time. I want to know more about these characters and what happens next. Though I think I am more fortunate than If I Stay 4some in the theatre as I know there is more story to tell. There were several gasps in the audience at the final seen and I heard a couple “That’s it?”, “That can’t be how it ends”, and “What happens next?”.

If I Stay was a movie that I was on the fence for but its one that I am so glad that I went to see. I think those that loved the book and those who, like me, didn’t care for it as much will like this movie adaptation. This is how Hollywood should adapt books into film and I hope that they decide to turn Where She Went into a film as well. As I almost would prefer to experience that story on the screen than in print.

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irishdarkblue

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four-stars
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Movie Thoughts: Captain America – The Winter Soldier

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-13, Review0 Comments

CA2Title: Captain America – The Winter Soldier ()
Tag Line: In heroes we trust.
Release Date: 04 April 2014
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 136 min
Genres: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: Movie Screening
Production Company:  Marvel Entertainment
Distributed By:  Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Director(s): Anthony Russo, Joe Russo, Joss Whedon (post credit scene)
Writer(s): Christopher Markus (screenplay), Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Joe Simon (comic books), Jack Kirby (comic books), Ed Brubaker (Concept & story)
Stars:  (Captain America/ Steve Rogers),  (Nick Fury), (Natasha Romanoff/ Black Widow),  (Alexander Pierce),  (“Bucky” Barnes/ Winter Soldier), (Sam Wilson/ Falcon), (Maria Hill), (Brock Rumlow), (Jasper Sitwell), (Kate),  (Peggy Carter),  (Dr. Arnim Zola),

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Internet,

As you know I only just watched Captain America: The First Avenger a few days ago and the whole purpose for me finally getting off my butt to do so was so that I could attend a WS2screening of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. From previews, The Winter Soldier interested me far more than The First Avenger ever did but I hate to see/read things out of order when there is a series involved so I had to see the first before going to this one. And while I am glad that I had all of the back story and what not for The Winter Soldier I think this is one of those cases where I could have missed the first in order to watch the second. The Winter Soldier takes place a few months or so after The Avengers ends with Steve Rogers () doing his soldier thing for Nick Fury and SHIELD and feeling a bit lost and out of place in the world.

Its not just technology that has changed since Steve Rogers was last walking about but WS1people’s attitudes and ideals. Steve Rogers is a very black and white soul and the wold now is multiple shades of grey. This causes him to question his role in what he’s doing but before he can make a big life change sh!t gets real at the SHIELD offices. People are killed, others are framed and no one is who you think they are. Its all one crazy action scene after another that leaves you on the edge of your seat wondering who will come out on top. There were laughs and gasps and every emotion in between during my viewing of The Winter Soldier and I enjoyed being in such an interactive audience. There was some fun running gags that came up at the oddest of moments that really helped lighten things up. Much like Tony Stark’s schwarma obsession in The Avengers did.

But part of what made this movie for me was as Black Widow. Her WS3character was underused in The Avengers (though it can be hard with such a large ensemble to give all equal time) so I was glad to see her shine here. Natasha is a strong, fiesty character who helps Steve Rogers navigate through the greys of the world and I just loved how they interacted together. Natasha is funny and kicks some series ass and if it wasn’t for her Captain America may not have been able to save the day. I also liked the addition of as Sam Wilson/Falcon. Just like Natasha, Sam fit in well with Steve Rogers and I loved how the three of them worked as a team.

The storyline was fast paced and while The Winter Soldier clocks in at just over 2 hours it WS4feels like little time has passed when watching it. Its so easy to get caught up this world and to get lost in the story that I hated for it to end. Though the ending could have been a bit more clear cut for my tastes. I don’t mind series but I do hate when one is so clearly left open for a sequel by leaving several important threads dangling. It will also be interesting to see how the ramifications of this movie effect the show Agents of SHIELD and future Marvel movies set in this world.

 

My Recommendation: Worth seeing in the theatres.

 

irishdarkblue
four-stars
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Movie Thoughts: Captain America – The First Avenger

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-13, Review0 Comments

Captain_America_The_First_Avenger_posterTitle: Captain America – The First Avenger ()
Tag Line: When patriots become heroes
Release Date: 22 July 2011
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 102 min
Genres: Action | Adventure | History | Sci-Fi | War
Series or Standalone: Series
Where Seen: My couch (Rental)
Production Company:  Paramount PicturesMarvel Entertainment
Distributed By:  Paramount Pictures
Director(s): 
Writer(s): Christopher Markus (screenplay), Stephen McFeely (screenplay), Joe Simon (comic books), Jack Kirby (comic books)
Stars:  (Captain America/Steve Rogers),  (Peggy Carter),  (James Buchanan “Bucky” Phillips),  (C0lonel Chester Phillips),  (Johann Schmidt/Red Skull),  (Howard Stark),  (Heinz Kruger),  (Dr. Abraham Erskine),  (Nick Fury),  (Dr. Arnim Zola),  (Jacques Dernier),  (Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan),  (Gabe Jones),  (Jim Morita),  (James Montgomery Falsworth,  (Gilmore Hodge),  (Senator Brandt)

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Growing up I was never a huge comic book fan, I read some and watched some of the CA6cartoons but they weren’t anything that I actively sought out. When Marvel started to release their live action super hero movies I never made a huge effort to go to the theatres to watch them. With the exception being The Avengers because that just looked (and was) awesome. Since watching The Avengers I’ve been meaning to go back and watch the intro films of all the characters and have been slowly doing so. Most recently I watched Captain America: The First Avenger and I went into it with pretty low expectations because of all the Avengers he was one of my least favorite.

CA3Captain America is predominately set in the 1940s during the second world war and the main villain is a guy called Red Skull. As I was never big into the comics I didn’t know the backstory or where things were going so I was often pleasantly surprised by the events as they unfolded. I enjoyed seeing characters used that would influence the modern day avengers and how the past and present would eventually intersect. There was lots of action and comedic moments and while my attention did drift from time to time I was mostly engaged in this film.

There were some moments that shocked a bit and the special effects were all very well done. I CA1loved the cast that was used and was a bit sad at the end knowing that we wouldn’t be seeing most (if not all of them) in future Captain America films. Captain America could stand all on its own and the bulk of its plot points are all wrapped up. Yes, there are open threads but that is to be expected, especially since Captain America: The Winter Soldier is due out in theatres tomorrow. While I may not rush out to rewatch Captain America I did enjoy it and don’t feel like I wasted my time trying to watch it prior to seeing Winter Soldier.

CA2My one main complaint with this movie was its lack of women on set. This is always an issue of mine with these sorts of movies and while I did think that  as Peggy Carter did a fabulous job I just wish there were more characters like her and that she was used as more than just a romantic possibility for Steve Rogers. Yes, she had her role to play in the SRG (or was it SSG? SSR?) it just seemed like she was mainly there to look pretty and give the Captain someone to come home to. Overall, though if you like comic book/action-adventure films then you might want to check this one out.

 

My Recommendation: Worth the rental.

 

irishdarkblue
three-stars
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Friday, March 14, 2014

Movie Thoughts: Veronica Mars

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Movie Thoughts, Rated PG-13, Review3 Comments

Veronica MarsTitle: Veronica Mars (Official Site)
Tag Line: She thought she was out
Release Date: 14 March 2014
Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 107 min
Genres: Comedy | Drama | Crime
Series or Standalone: Standalone (potential for more)
Where Seen: Theater
Production Company:  Rob Thomas ProductionsWarner Bros. Digital Distribution
Distributed By:  Warner Bros.
Director(s): Writer(s): Rob Thomas (screenplay & story), Diane Ruggiero (screenplay)
Stars:  (Veronica Mars),  (Logan Echolls),  (Cindy “Mac” Mackenzie),  (Wallace Fennel),  (Dick Casablancas),  (Gia Goodman),  (Lou “Cobb” Cobbler),  (Stosh “Piz” Piznarski),  (Leo D’Amato),  (Sheriff Don Lamb),  (Eli “Weevil” Navarro),  (Keith Mars),  (Deputy Sacks)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Marshmallows!!

There aren’t enough words available for me to describe all the feelings that I had while watching the Veronica Mars movie. It made me laugh, it made me gasp, and it almost made me cry. Its a VERONICA MARSbeautiful love letter from Rob Thomas and the gang to all the fans of the tv show and I just couldn’t get enough of it. I was lucky enough to see the movie last night at a special fan event which began with some clips from NYC red carpet interviews with the cast followed by a message from Kristen Bell. Then the movie started and it was almost as if the show never ended. I loved the opening intro which gives people new to the world of Veronica Mars a history of the highlights in the show. And Rob Thomas does a great job of introducing background info on various events and characters as they are introduced in the movie via the voice over technique that we all know and love from the show. It was also fun to see Rob Thomas work in old gags form the show, info from the failed 4th season pitch, well timed use of the the old theme song, and just seeing how well all these characters fit together even after 10 years apart.

The best part of this movie was seeing it in a theatre packed full with Veronica Mars fans. The VM2whole audience would gasp and laugh and clap at different moments in the film and it was all one big happy. All the reactions were real and genuine and walking out of the movie you could only hear people talking about all the moments that they loved about it. And there was so much to love about this movie. All the old favorites from the show were there and there was angst and tension and so many laugh out loud moments. It was great seeing where all the former Neptune High students ended up…and let me tell you one in particular came as a big surprise!

The story line flows like one long episode of Veronica Mars and as such it does follow the standard pattern of the show. The viewers know that Veronica will save the day but its all about the journey and getting her back to Neptune where she belongs. My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough. VM5I wanted more. I didn’t want this movie to end so I was glad when the ending was a bit open-ended. Oh the main mystery of the movie is solved but there are enough threads so that Rob Thomas and the gang could return for another Veronica Mars movie and I really really hope that they will. But even if this is all we get I can say with certainty that this marshmallow was very happy with the results.

Also, there are two little clips that occur in and around the end credits so be sure to hang around for them. Although they aren’t as entertaining as a Marvel movie end scene but VERONICA MARSthey do help to keep the magic of the Veronica Mars movie alive for a few moments more. Now I’m going to go and stalk my inbox as I await for my digital download code for the movie so that I can watch it again and again and again!

Go Pirates!!

 

My Recommendation: No matter how you watching this – in the theater or via digital download (legally of course!) – this movie is a must see and will appeal fans of the show and those that love a snarky heroine.

 

irishdarkblue
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