Monthly Archives: March 2013

Arbitrage (2013)

arbi

Synopsis

Robert Miller is the CEO of a very successful company. He is living the dream in every aspect of his life; elegant wife, daughter willing to take over the company and a stunning home. Of course, this isn’t enough for him and soon, personal and business secrets threaten to upturn his life just at one of the most critical points.

 

First Half Review

So, I went to see a Richard Gere movie of my own free will.  The last movie I saw him in was probably “Pretty Woman”. I don’t know what he’s been doing since 1990. Oh yeah, he was also in “The Jackal . Maybe he should stick with the rom-coms.

But anyway. Arbitage is, to me, the dirty cousin of “Wall St”. We have a rich guy who has everything and of course, wants more. So we have what can be described as a thriller slash drama or maybe the other way around. It has some thriller type moments but is really about a family man who’s life is crumbling around him.

It is good and not the kind of movie I would usually watch but all the cast put in a fine performance and you’re left at the end thinking “should I be happy with this ending or not….”

 

Second Half Review

This is definitely not the kind of movie that I would normally watch. These kinds of movies normally bore me and I just couldn’t be bothered. I saw this movie the same evening I saw “Warm Bodies” so I was hoping it would be better than that. I was right, it was!

Robert Miller is the man who has it all. Money, power, respect, a family who adore him. This isn’t enough and soon enough his personal secrets get in the way of his business secrets and soon his life is just one big ol’ mess.

It is very interesting to see just how far Robert is willing to go to protect his own interests, which he dresses as his family’s interests. He is not a likable character by any stretch of the imagination but you can’t help wondering what he is going to do get out of the mess he has created for himself.

Richard Gere is very good as the main character, but to me, the stand out performance in this is Susan Sarandon, as Richard’s wife, Ellen. Initially, she is portrayed as the air head trophy wife, more interested in vacuous fund raisers than her husband’s indiscretions. However, the scene in which she confronts Robert about his treatment of their daughter was possibly one of my favourite scenes in any movie I’ve seen this year. The biting tone in which she responds to Robert’s pitiful “It’s a cold world out there”, is just wonderful: “Then you better take a warm coat.” as she turns and walks haughtily from the room. Just. Wonderful.

Anyway, go see this movie. Or don’t. I ain’t yo daddy. But its a good movie. I would easily watch it again.

 

TL DR First Half: “Pretty Woman” told from he other side.”

TL DR Second Half: Goddamn, I love Susan Sarandon.

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Warm Bodies (2013)

zom

Synopsis

R, a lovelorn zombie falls in love with Julie, a very much alive zombie hunter. Their love may be the answer to saving the worlds zombie populations.

First Half Review

A Zombie love story.

Nope.

Just no. Ok gonna do a list for this one

Good

– Sound track
– Pretty woman joke
– Eating brains gives you the memory of the person before

Bad

– Everything else
– Zombies starting off being able to talk
– Love is the cure
– Zombies driving super cars
– CGI skeletons
– Zombie love story

Pretty much the bullet points sum up this movie. It’s a loose adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, that’s really all you have to know. It’s aimed at the teenage girl market, but marketed it seems for teen boys. Girls are not going to see this movie just for that reason I mean he’s a zombie, it’s necrophilia, It’s just… No.

Second Half Review

I really wanted to like this. I did. The whole idea of a zombie love story was intriguing, and the reviews honestly weren’t that bad. It was one of those “supernatural” movies that the teenage girl inside me fangirls about. Well, it COULD have been, but alas.

I have a fairly love/hate relationship with zombies. I’m fascinated by them but also absolutely terrified of them. I had issues sleeping for weeks after I watched “28 Days Later” and again after I watched “28 Weeks Later”. I love when shows or books add something a little bit extra to the zombie legend, and thats why I was kinda excited to see what “Warm Bodies” would do.

As the synopsis says, this movie is about R, who falls in love with a very much alive chick named Julie. The whole story is held together with less glue than a overly shattered china plate. I could feel my brain start to reject the whole new zombie “mythos” as soon as R opened his mouth. None of the alive people seem bothered about the fact that zombies can talk.  Like, full conversations.

The whole movie was pretty awful to be honest. I can honestly see what they were trying to do. But zombies will never, ever be sexy. I fail to see the allure of them, beyond the mindless flesh eating terror that they are meant to be.

Love cures the zombie apocalypse  If only we had just thought of giving them hugs instead of killing them. What if their outstretched arms was them reaching for hugs and we mercilessly slaughtered them?

Now I feel bad.

TL DR First Half: No. No. No.

TL DR Second Half: Huggable Zombies that are kinda hot

The Bay (2012)

bay

 

Synopsis

This found footage horror takes place in 2009 at the picturesque the town of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, USA where something has infected the water there. Things go from bad to worse as the story is told through a variety of townspeople and their trusty cameras.

 

First Half Review

Seen quite a few movies in February, so only getting to review a lot of them now. Between working late shifts and volunteering for the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival (JDIFF), it’s been busy as all hell. But anyway, moving on. “The Bay” is one of the movies that I got to see as part of my volunteering in the JDIFF.
“The Bay” is a found footage horror film and without spoiling it, I’m not going to give too much away as the story is pretty bare as it stands.  I hate found footage movies. I find them cheap, not scary and often over hyped. “The Bay” however is quite good in the sense it uses all available tech to it’s advantage. You can poke holes through it for that but using security footage, Skype, YouTube, dashboard cams and an amateur news reporter is quite good.

The story tells of isopods, which are naturally occurring parasites that are found in fish that have mutated and gotten a taste for human flesh, somehow. It’s never really explained why this is, but let’s roll with it.

It’s a decent horror movie, leave your brain at home and scream at the right times. Catch it if you like schlocky horror.

 

Second Half Review

I… I don’t even know where to start with this. I got roped into going to see this as I was promised, and I quote, “Oh, this will be this years “The Raid” (an amazing Indonesian movie that I missed last year at the JDIFF and was livid about). So to avoid the same thing this year, I went and stupidly, didn’t read a single thing about “The Bay” before I saw the movie.

The movie starts with a very disinterested woman talking to an unknown person on Skype, and she begins to tell the story of what happened on the 4th of July at Chesapeake Bay in 2009, as she was a junior reporter there to cover the festivities. I had absolutely no sympathy for this woman the entire film, I can’t remember her name, only her face as she blandly tells the camera that “it’s difficult to talk about”.

It would appear the Government has managed to hush up the whole event. Now. This is my first problem with the whole movie. The events on this day happened on the 4th of July. The biggest holiday in American society. The film would have you believe that no one tweeted ANYTHING of what was happening. No one uploaded videos to YouTube. No one uploaded pictures to Facebook or Instagram, or updated their status saying “Holy crap guys, there are people going mental here; look at this picture of a woman eating her own tongue!” SERIOUSLY?! The internet just doesn’t seem to exist in Maryland in 2009. But wait!

My second problem with this movie is the sheer ineptitude of the Centre for Disease Control (CDC). Now, we’ve all seen movies where the CDC is called in, or called upon, to help identify new and unusual cases. In any of these movies or tv series, have you ever seen the highly educated, highly trained professionals use Wikipedia? They do in this movie. Also, they use Google Image Search for the Isopods! I was actually astounded when I realised what I was seeing. Surely they had better databases and medical journals to delve into rather than fricking Wikipedia?

Anyway, I digress. So yes, the movie is completely ridiculous. The plot is non-existent and the actors are on the pitiful side of wooden at the best of times. I can see what they were trying to achieve with this movie. Its partly an environmental warning and partly a “horror” movie. It doesn’t achieve either and ends up a complete farce. I’m thinking this might end up slotting in beside “The Room” and “Birdemic” for me, albeit with higher production values.

 

TL: DR First Half: Worth it if you like schlock horror.

TL: DR Second Half: Avoid seeing it if you can, unless you have a group of friends over and are getting a bit merry.

Oz: The Great and Powerful (2013)

oz

Synopsis

Oscar “Oz”  Diggs is a two bit carnival magician who dreams of greatness, and a life beyond what he can realistically achieve. One day, as he runs from a muscle bound strong man, he steals a hot air balloon, and is catapulted to the land of Oz. Here he is thrust into a prophecy that will make or break the land of Oz, and Oz is the only man who can make a difference.

 

First Half Review

So first things first, I’ve never seen the Wizard of Oz. Never had the chance, never saw the point. I was in a stage version of “The Wiz” when I was in secondary school,  so I’ve been able to piece together the complex story of Doherty and her misadventures from that.

So, “Oz” is a Disney movie (known for traumatizing children) directed by Sam Raimi (known for terrrozing Bruce Campbell and Ted Raimi in his movies) and also being one of those directors who is a decent director and it really shows in the overall movie.

We have the story of “Oz” which we saw in the IMAX 3D which I’ll admit hurt my neck but was awesome. The 3D was actually pretty good, and used well as apart from being a gimmick to sell more expensive tickets.

Oz gets transported to OZ. (from here on in to avoid confusion, we’ll call him the Wizard.) He’s tasked with defeating  the wicked witch and freeing OZ from her tyranny. We meet his flying monkey and a little china girl (yeah, that David Bowie song will get stuck in your head) and they follow the yellow brick road out of OZ to defeat her.

This is a kids movie but because it’s a Disney kids movie at times it could be terrifying (for small children)

It was enjoyed by our friend in tow and it does serve as a nice companion to the original movie, have been told I have to now watch “Return to Oz” as well.

 

Second Half Review

Almost went to see “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” instead of “Oz” but I’m ever so glad we didn’t. I really enjoyed Oz, way more than I thought I would.

Sure, the actors can seem a bit at odds with the roles that they play; for instance, I would never have thought Mila Kunis for Theodora, or Michelle Williams for Glinda. At times it works, and at times it just falls a little flat. James Franco is pretty decent as the titular Oz, but after a while I got tired of his smarminess and just wanted the film to get on with it.

At 2 hours, its a fairly hefty sit through, especially as the story drags in places. There is no suspense, no surprises at all. The story mostly plods along, and seems content to rest on the magnificent visuals and awesome sound track. I have to specifically single out the visuals, as they are stunning. As already mentioned, we saw this movie in 3D IMAX, which normally doesn’t really do anything for me (my eyesight is terrible and I often have difficulty seeing the 3D images in certain movies), but not this time. There is a scene at the very beginning where there is snow falling, and actually does appear to be falling straight onto you! My favourite scene though, is one in which the Wizard and his merry men are travelling by bubble through a forest made of emeralds; Heavenly, and when the camera shows the jewelled flowers blooming, just… amazing really.

This film certainly doesn’t take away from the mythos of the land of Oz and from the absolute classic that is “The Wizard of Oz”, and it doesn’t do the whole “LOOK WE PUT THIS HERE SO THAT IT MAKES SENSE IN THE OLDER MOVIE. AREN’T WE CLEVER!!?” I read that because another studio owns the rights to “the Wizard of Oz”, this movie couldn’t make any references to it, such as the ruby slippers and Munchkinland. But still, it sits nicely alongside the original  without adding a whole lot of substance to be fair, but this is a decent movie.

Definitely check it out if you don’t want to see anything else in the cinema, or are looking for something nice, light and fluffy.

 

TL: DR First Half: Possibly need to see the other Oz films now…

TL: DR Second Half: Oz gets lost in a small gust of wind, hits his head and has some majorly trippy dreams.