Friday, September 27, 2013

Movie Review - Planes

If you loved Cars planes wouldn’t be too big a stretch, right? Perhaps. 
Planes is a story about Dusty Crophopper, a little plane who is afraid of heights and wants to race in the Wings Across the World race. 

The movie is great for the kids and held their attention the entire 91 minute runtime with bright colors and fun music, Planes has great messages about the underdog testing limits both physical and emotional and finding out who your friends are. The messages mine seemed to grab was to never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, and if you put your heart and head into it, you can do anything. 

It’s a movie more for younger kids, my almost teenager said. 

The main characters were given life by Dane Cook as Dusty Crophopper, Stacy Keach as Skipper, Brad Garrett as Chug, Teri Hatcher as Dottie and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Rochelle. The cast is rounded out by other big named actors like Cedric the Entertainer, John Cleese, Anthony Edwards and Sinbad. 

If nothing else, the adults can sit and play name that actor with the voices. 

Other people had this to say about Planes

“The camera angles are a source of wonder, they're very well-incorporated and really give the sense that you're journeying in the air with the character,” said one man. 

A 40-year-old man took his 4-year-old daughter to see it. “It's no Cars. Or actually, it's very much like Cars. That's the whole idea. The Brent Mustangburger character ties it together if there was any doubt. Some of the jokes are similar. Some of the sight gags are similar. But the story itself is actually superior. Rather than a story about a spoiled sociopathic jerk who discovers that he actually does have a heart, this is a story of an individual who is all heart and proves to the world that you can be more than what everyone else tells you that you have to be.”

Most of the online reviews were terrible for this one, but for younger children it’s a hit. They’ll want to own it on DVD and watch it often. I personally thought it was going to be difficult to follow Cars, but they did a great job.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Movie Review - "Only God Forgives" - By Heath Chase

In 2011, "Drive"--the single handed best film I have ever seen--was released to theaters. Director Nicolas Winding Refn opened my eyes to a powerfully beautiful and subtle way of film and created an atmosphere that I still keep close to two years later. When I saw that "Only God Forgives" was being released as Refn's follow-up to my favorite film of all time, my excitement meter spun out of control. After viewing this film I can say that 98 percent of Earth's population will despise it in its entirety, although I stand on a fine line between thinking it's garbage and thinking that it's art. You have every right to be confused.

"Only God Forgives" has a somewhat limited plot staring Ryan Gosling as a tight-lipped thug named Julian, Kristin Scott Thomas as his mother, and Vithaya Pansringarm as a brutal cop. Our story takes place in Bangkok and follows Julian, a criminal who has just received news that his brother has been murdered by an unknown man. After his mother Crystal flies to Thailand to address the situation, she begins to twist her remaining son's mind in hopes of leading him to track down the killer. All the while a cop, only known as Chang, tracks Julian and his mother's every move.

That's about it. Now I'm all for a simple plot, and this one could have worked, but with terrible pacing and writing, the film becomes just a director's jumbled thoughts thrown onto a canvas that only he could understand at first glance. Story aside, this film is genuinely breathtaking to look at and if this is not nominated for a best cinematography Oscar I will be surprised. The streets of Bangkok light up with neon colors, and the film breathes of atmosphere, much like 2011's Drive. The acting is also phenomenal, although while watching I counted under thirty words to come out of Ryan Gosling's mouth, and for a man that is in nearly every scene--well, that's not a lot of talking. If you like fast paced movies with a vivid plot that doesn't take too much speculation to understand what is going on, "Only God Forgives" is not for you. With this said, I dug deep through my viewing and tried to depict the hidden messages throughout this bizarre neo-noire film and came out--like I referenced above-- 'on the fence.'

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Movie Review - Smurfs 2 - By Niels Mank

Smurfs 2, just the sound of the title makes you instantaneously think “lalalalala” just like you did when you were a kid watching it on Saturday morning cartoons. Just the simple nature of those small little blue characters will put a smile on your face adults and kids alike. 

From the very second the advertisement came out for Smurfs 2, it was a must see for our family. Every day we heard the chant “Can we go to Smurfs today? The first movie was impossible to miss, and as expected, Smurfs 2 delivered.  Every minute was filled with uncontrollable laughter, smiles and joy. 

The plot of the story was simple. Smurfette, voiced by Katy Perry, feels unloved by the rest of Smurfs because of her supposed missed birthday, which drives her into the woods where she meets a small grey smurf-looking girl. This girl is the creation of the evil wizard Gargamel, played by Hank Azaria, sent there to kidnap Smurfette. 

As you can imagine, if you tuned in Saturday mornings, most of the rest of the movie is Papa Smurf, given life through the voice of Jonathan Winters, and a few choice Smurfs chasing after Smurfette trying to rescue her from the evil Gargamel. 

Other actors lending their voices to Smurfs 2 are Christina Ricci as Vexy, Jayma Mays (of Glee fame) as Grace Winslow, Neil Patrick Harris as Patrick Winslow, Alan Cumming as Gutsy Smurf and Lil Wayne as Flack. 

As I looked around the theater I could see the children laughing, smiling and enjoying the latest reinvention of Smurfs, but as I looked at the parents, I saw smiles on their faces also. They were most likely dreaming back to when they watched The Smurfs on TV as a child, and remembering their happy childhoods. Smurfs 2 is a great movie for the entire family that will never disappoint.