Monthly Archives: March 2014

Movie Review, “Divergent” Seen in theaters

When I heard about how “Divergent” was being compared to “The Hunger Games” I was curious to see whether this would hold true. Lately the attempts by the movie industry to convert young adult books into movies, has been failing. “The Host” and “City of Bones” are prime examples of how the books just didn’t translate right. I mean, I was just lost the entire time when I was watching “City of Bones.” A person shouldn’t need to read the book first, in order to understand the movie.
So, the big question is, is “Divergent” good? Should you go see it? Well… that’s a tough question to answer.
The story and plot kept my interest, but that was mostly because I was having trouble figuring out what was going on. I kept hoping that eventually they would explain things. I caught on early that it was a book to movie translation problem. I had “cheated” and read a bit of book before I went. And it was what I read, and only what I read, that helped me to understand the first fifteen minutes of the film. (cause that’s as far as I read)
The move was unpredictable, and yet, not original. How exactly they managed to pull that off, kept me boggled throughout the movie. There were moments where it seemed like the characters might be put in an uncomfortable position and actually get some drama going. But then, the author seemed to chicken out and decide to play it safe rather than stir up some controversy. Most of the characters fell flat, they just didn’t have EMOTION. Everyone was just going through the motions. If that’s how they were meant to be, then fine, but that’s a hard act to pull off. If the characters don’t feel anything, how are we supposed too?
Now the little love story, just made me… well gag. It was lame.
As I was watching the movie, I could tell what the author was trying to do. And I even know where they messed up. You see, the appeal of movies and books like the “Twilight Saga”, “Hunger Games” and even “Fifty Shades of Grey” is one big thing. The girls reading these books, not only want to be the heroine in the book, but they can imagine themselves as the heroine. The heroine is relatable, we can see what she’s experiencing and say, “Yes, I want that. Yes, I know what that feels like.”
The chick in “Divergent” is not relatable. There are not enough girls out there who dream of running off to join what seems like an underground fight club/biker gang. None of us girls are watching the movie thinking, gee I wish that was me running to catch a train and getting the shit beat out of me boxing. We are thinking, “I would never do that, she is crazy.”
Without the “relatable” content, the secret to the success of these movies, it will never do as well as the movies its being compared too. Maybe the book accomplished this, but the movie did not.
So… would I suggest seeing it? Again, it’s a complicated question. I mean, my mind did wander quite a bit during the movie. So I was bored. But it was an interesting plot… just told in a very boring and unrelatable way. There wasn’t even any good eye candy for me to tell you, well you can just stare at them and ignore the flat dialog. Even “City of Bones” had awesome music for me to zone out too.
I’d say wait until the movie comes out on DVD. So if you get bored, you can go do something else for a while. If you’ve read the books… I would go. At least you’ll understand what’s going on. And you already know you’ll be bored, cause you’ve read the book. Win-win.

Movie Review “Dallas Buyers Club”

The Oscar nominated and winning movie, “Dallas Buyers Club” has received a lot of praise. I wanted to see what all the talk was about. The opening scene in the movie really sets the stage well for what you are sitting down to spend the next two hours watching. Sex and drugs. Lots of sex and drugs.
The rawness of the film, helps you bond with the characters. The rough Texan, the man’s man, suddenly finds himself with a disease that at the time, was predominately a homosexual disease. In order to find a method to live with HIV, he had to overcome his severe hatred of that group of people.
The plot worked well because the character went through something that I think everyone can relate too. Who doesn’t fear being kicked out of their social group and forced to join one that we aren’t comfortable with?
The secondary plot about the how little was known about HIV and AIDS in the 80s is obviously the “message” the writers were hoping to get across. Don’t see this movie hoping it will educate you on the facts of the virus. I noticed the writers seemed to press with the idea that the audience would already be fully educated and there would be no need to elaborate. There are hints here and there, to help you in case you are completely clueless. And I think for the most part, this was a safe assumption for the writers to make. These days, most of us are aware, I would think.
If you can tolerate the crudeness, or rawness of the sexual scenes, I would say this movie is worth seeing. Like I said, the plot is one anyone can relate too. But because of the context used to tell the story, I can understand if some people don’t want to see it.

Movie Review “12 Years a Slave”

Continuing my review of the Oscar nominations, I watched “12 Years a Slave”. Considering how many nominations and wins it received I had high expectations. To which, most were met. I am curious how much of the book was altered for the movie script. But I haven’t decided if the book is something I would enjoy.

One part I found puzzling was how the story, told from the male’s point of view, chose to focus on the women slaves. I mean, did Solomon not make one male slave friend? All the men he spoke too, on any personal level, were white. It almost made me wonder if the other male slaves disliked him. I think that aspect would have been nice to show and should have been explained. I could easily see the other slaves disliking him, because he did seem to convey an air of, “I’m better than you”.

The only acting in the movie that I didn’t like was Brad Pitt. The role he played didn’t seem to fit into the rest of the movie and I couldn’t shake the feeling that the role was created just so he could be in the movie. He shows up, and is finally the guy who tells Solomon’s family what happened to him. I get that maybe the writers wanted the event to seem surreal, but I still think Brad Pitt could have done a better job with his acting. His only hesitation about defying the masses was a line about, “this will put my life in danger too” followed by an anticlimactic, “but I’ll do it.” Which only makes his character more perfect and less believable. Obviously being a producer for a movie has perks, such as being able to cast yourself into the “savior” role.

And I am not alone in my assessment. “Brad Pitt giving himself that part was like if [Annapurna Pictures founder] Megan Ellison had cast herself as the SEAL who shot Bin Laden at the end of Zero Dark Thirty.”

Thankfully his role is short. Overall the movie is worth seeing, it’ll make you cringe and face a reality that I don’t think I a lot of Americans want to accept as something that really happened in our history.

Movie Review on “Nebraska”

When the Oscar nominations come out, my interest is always peaked and I’ll usually pick a few of the winners and nominated films to watch. This year was no different. Nebraska was the first on my Oscar list to watch.
Now being from Nebraska myself, I intended to watch this film regardless. It just wasn’t in the movie theaters near me for very long. So I had to wait for the DVD. Sadly this means by the time I was settling down to watch the film… I’d already heard a lot of reviews that the movie now had to live up too.
I can tell a lot of effort went into the black and white effect and they did a very good job at it. This movie was focused on subliminal messages. You could tell every angle was well thought. And this careful attention to detail followed through to the dialog and expressions on each actor.
The plot, very simplistic, but that didn’t matter, sometimes a plot doesn’t need to be gripping to be good. The closest movie I can compare it to would be “About Schmidt” from 2002. Same slow paced, heartwarming story about an elderly man and his quest across the midlands.
Now I may be judging the movie harshly because of the all the hype I heard about it before I saw it. But to me… this movie was more something that should have been aired on the Hallmark Channel. The only difference between “Nebraska” and the regular Hallmark Channel movies… was the budget. You could tell that since they had a bigger budget and some big names, they were able to produce the movie in a higher quality.
So if you like the heartwarming stories, like “About Schmidt” or “Old Yeller” then sure, go see it. If the plot gets boring for you, there are quite a few good lines that you are bound to laugh at. And overall the Cinematology is amazing.
I will admit it took me a moment to place the actor Will Forte. Once I did… I was blow away. I was such a huge fan of his role from SNL as MacGruber. It was nice to see that he is a well-rounded actor, capable of playing both comedy and drama roles.