Sunday, June 21, 2015

Movie review - Jurassic World (PG13) - Review by Daniel Kilgallon

Run Time: 124 min

Jurassic World is a new science fiction action movie and the fourth installment in the Jurassic Park film series. The movie is directed by Colin Trevorrow and stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson. I actually never bothered to watch either of the poorly reviewed sequels to the first Jurassic Park movie, but as most human beings should, I have seen the original 1993 masterpiece. Jurassic Park is undeniably one of the most influential movies ever made, as the CGI used to bring the dinosaurs to the big screen was completely unheard of at the time. 

The visual effects for that film easily hold up today and set the bar high for every film that came after it. In fact, until it was topped by 1997’s Titanic, Jurassic Park was the highest grossing film of all time. That being said, despite this fresh take, I must say that I was a bit skeptical heading into the theater, largely due to the negative reputation of the second and third installments. 

Taking place 22 years after the events of the first movie, the fictional island of Isla Nublar finally features a fully functional dinosaur theme park called “Jurassic World”. The park has been operational for ten years at this point in time, so in order to bring back popularity, Claire Dearing (Bryce Dallas Howard) and the rest of the park operators decided to create a genetically modified dinosaur known as the Indominus Rex. Of course, before long the creature breaks loose and goes on a killing spree throughout the park, leaving an expert dinosaur trainer named Owen Grady (Chris Pratt) and the rest of the people in the park all fighting for their own survival. 

For starters, Jurassic World isn't nearly as good as the original and I don’t think that anybody, including myself thought it would be. However, that is hardly an insult, as this new movie was significantly better than I expected it to be. The plot got going quickly and there was certainly plenty of exciting dinosaur action from start to finish. The acting was pretty good too, particularly from Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), but I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed that the legendary Jeff Goldblum didn't make an appearance. Putting that minor complaint aside, Jurassic World is an absolute blast of a summer blockbuster.

Movie Review - SPY - By Niels Mank and Michelle Libby

We have all seen the “so called” spy movies.  They start with a CIA agent who goes on daredevil missions and lands the girl while chasing the bad guy.  This is not one of those movies.  First off the main character Susan Cooper is played by the extremely funny Melissa McCarthy.  Susan is not in the field as an agent, but works in the pest infested basement of the CIA helping her agent in the field.  That all
changes after her asset, field agent Bradley Fine, played by Jude Law is killed on a mission.  Susan takes it upon herself to avenge his death.  After talking her boss into allowing her to enter the field and go after his killer, Susan moves from the bat infested basement to the belly of the beast.  As with all spy movies its about the race to the finish where a bomb will explode, or in this case a terrorist will sell a nuclear weapon. McCarthy infiltrates the inner circle of the terrorist organization and quickly becomes placed on the right hand protection detail of her partner’s killer, Raina Boyanov, played by Rose Byrne.

McCarthy also hooks up with Jason Statham as Rick Ford, another CIA agent who thinks that she is going to mess everything up and blow the case. 
Another stand out performance in my mind was from Peter Serafinowicz, who plays an agent who is McCarthy’s contact overseas, and is always hitting on her. 

From the director of Bridesmaids and The Heat, this movie earned its R rating with some shocking pictures flashed on the screen and Melissa McCarthy’s colorful language style on this production. You will find your stomach killing you after you realize you have been nonstop laughing for over 10 minutes at a time.  

Watch for the surprise, as this movie does not disappoint.  If you’re looking for a “R” Rated comedy you won’t find one better.  Melissa McCarthy has done it again! Don’t forget to stay until the end of the credits, there are more laughs there too.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Movie review - Tomorrowland (PG) - review by Daniel Kilgallon

Tomorrowland (PG)

Run Time: 130 min

Tomorrowland is a new science-fiction/mystery movie directed by Brad Bird and starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, Thomas Robinson and country star Tim McGraw. The movie is heavily inspired and titled after the futuristic theme land at Disney theme parks. I enjoy a lot of Bird’s animated work, such as The Incredibles and Ratatouille, and his debut live-action film, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, is one of my absolute favorite action movies. For those reasons, I was excited to see what he would do with this project. Furthermore, I enjoy a lot of George Clooney’s movies, such as, Batman and Robin (just kidding), Ocean’s Eleven and Gravity. Having said that, the duo of Bird and Clooney, coupled with some mysterious trailers, made me really interested to see this movie. 

As I mentioned before, Tomorowland is heavily inspired by the same-named Disney theme land. That futuristic world is present in this movie, and a handful of lucky people who come across a special pin with a “T” logo on it can get there by simply touching the pin. A middle-aged man named Frank Walker (George Clooney), actually discovered one of those pins himself, visiting Tomorrowland as a curious and adventurous young boy genius. Unfortunately, he developed into a bit of a grouch ever since. Now, an ambitious teenage girl named Casey Newton (Britt Robertson) is trying to get his help and return to Tomorrowland to discover what it can offer for the future.

Overall, I had a pretty good time with Tomorrowland. Unlike the extremely violent Mad Max: Fury Road, the PG rating of this movie made this a much better family movie  experience. That being considered, this movie still took a little too long to get going, and was a bit boring in parts. However, Brad Bird’s distinct style of directing made for a visually impressive movie experience that was lots of fun to watch. The acting also made up for some of the slower parts, as George Clooney was great as usual and all of the young actors and actresses around him were actually quite impressive. I would also add that Hugh Laurie (aka House) was very good in his role. All in all, Tomorrowland was a little bit disappointing for me, but it is certainly still a decent summer movie that is solid entertainment for people of all different ages.

Movie Review - Pitch Perfect 2 - review by Emma Davis

With a lot to live up to, the Pitch Perfect sequel, which was released this past weekend, is not a disappointment to fans of the cherished a cappella comedy. In Pitch Perfect 2, Portland’s own Anna Kendrick returns as the equally brazen and ambitious Beca Mitchell. 

The film flashes forward to Beca’s senior year at Barden University where the Barden Bellas have been reigning national a cappella championship winners every year since the close of the last movie. 

Another competition season is upon them, and naturally the Bellas have found themselves with the fate of their group on the line once again after a performance mishap. 

Some other favorite elements from Pitch Perfect return in the sequel, including an amplified version of a ‘Riff-Off’. The now underground face-off not only features revamped hit music that is sure to inspire you to find the nearest a capella group to join, but also features a star-studded cast. 

Many celebrities made cameos, including Snoop Dog, The Green Bay Packers and even the Obamas with a little help from computer editing. And while we may see less of Jesse and Beca in this film, the rom-com aspects of this comedy are shown in the form of budding relationships between some new and unlikely characters. 

Past Bellas and Barden graduates make their appearances in the sequel, but it mainly follows the evolution of the beloved Barden Bellas and their futures as individuals as well as the fate of the a cappella community in general. While we may not see a third movie, it’s nice to know that the Barden Bellas are back, and they have finally found their sound.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Movie Review of Mad Max Fury Road - Review by Daniel Kilgallon

Mad Max: Fury Road (R)

Run Time: 120 min

Mad Max: Fury Road is a new post-apocalyptic action movie and the fourth installment in the Mad Max franchise, coming 30 years after the previous film. George Miller directs once more, while Tom Hardy (Inception, Warrior, The Dark Knight Rises) replaces Mel Gibson in the title role, starring alongside Charlize Theron and Nicholas Hoult. I actually never had a chance to see the first three Mel Gibson movies from the late 70s and early 80s, so heading into the theater, this was my first experience with the beloved series. Having said that, the trailers alone made this movie come off as a total action fest, filled with chase scenes, explosions, and above all, chaos. Mad Max: Fury Road was absolutely crazy and a complete blast of an action film that came exactly as advertised.

This post-apocalyptic thriller throws the audience right in the middle of a world that apparently became a completely barren desert wasteland, where all sense of humanity seems to be lost. Although absolutely bizarre, the premise of this film is pretty simple, as “Mad” Max Rockatnsky (Tom Hardy), a damaged man of few words, must team up with Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a woman driven by her loyalty to her female companions. Together, they look to return to Furiosa’s homeland with water and life. However, that requires traveling through the desert on the deadly “Fury Road”, all while being chased down by a countless number of ruthlessly insane warriors. 

Right from the start of this movie, you feel as if you are losing your mind, and that does not change throughout the entire two-hour runtime. I cannot stress enough how downright crazy this movie is, and believe me anyone who has seen this would say the same. Everything about the setting, to the completely bizarre characters that live in it, is just totally nuts. Having said that, once you settle into the wild environment, this is an absolute blast of a movie. The film is essentially a two hour chase scene that somehow manages to never lose a bit of our interest. The action sequences are brutal and absolutely thrilling, loaded with breathtaking visuals and plenty of explosions. Furthermore, I am a huge Tom Hardy fan, and I thought he owned every scene in the iconic title role. Overall, Mad Max: Fury Road  is an unbelievably entertaining summer action flick that is truly insane.