Man of Steel (2013)

2013_man_of_steel_movie-wideRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Probably one of the most anticipated films this year, Man of Steel is a total reboot of the Superman franchise. Was it needed? I think most fans of the superhero would agree that it’s been due ever since the surge of comic book films over the past few years. Man of Steel explores the origins of Clark Kent tracking back to the demise of Krypton, fast forwarding to Kent’s journey to self actualization hoping to discover his destiny on earth.

I’ll confess that I haven’t actually seen any previous Superman films, so I’m quite clueless in terms of comparing past films with this one although I am aware of some Superman facts (who isn’t?!). One thing is for sure and that’s Man of Steel trumps its predecessors in the special effects department because this film boasts some of the best CGI and action sequences of the past decade. A lot of people don’t seem to be a fan of Zack Snyder, I think mostly due to his unique style. His past films include 300, Sucker Punch and Watchmen. All films which are far from bad but have something in common and that is a distinct visual style. Man of Steel joins his list of visually stunning films and may make the list of the most aesthetically pleasing films of all time. It’s hard to find a scene which isn’t beautifully shot or constructed. The film is clean, crisp, slightly grainy and contains some of the best lighting I’ve seen. Only negative would be that the sun seems to be conveniently placed in the background for more scenes than it needs to be.

In my second viewing I grew to appreciate Snyder’s storytelling technique, it’s unique and efficient which totally enhances the viewing experience. I really like how we start off in Krypton and get to see it on the big screen which I don’t think past films ever touched on. This would be a massive win for the fanboys out there. Once the film makes it to earth we’re entertained to a number of flashbacks which occur parallel to Clark’s journey to self actualization. The flashbacks have a lot of substance and we get to learn about his past and the ideologies that he was brought up with. This gives reason to some of his actions in present time. This was probably my favorite aspect of the film because some of the flashbacks were incredibly emotional, (Spoiler! If you’ve never heard of Superman) namely Jonothan Kent’s death scene which I totally loved. I mean I would never risk my life over a dog but that moment where he holds his hand up and accepts that he’s going to die for the greater good of mankind but also Clark was incredibly emotional but also hit on how much trust Clark had for his father to just let it happen.

I was quite pessimistic about the casting of Henry Cavill at first but once seeing him play the Man of Steel for real, he proved to be a perfect casting. He didn’t just get totally ripped for the part but he captured how human Superman is for such an extraterrestrial being. Small things like acting all cool when wanting to smash a brotha’s face in and that look of remorse when reluctantly doing what’s necessary. Michael Shannon as General Zod was a total win, you wont get anyone more intense and scary than that guy. The “I will find him!” quote will live on in my mind for a long time. I also really liked Lois Lane (Amy Adams) as a character in this film, she wasn’t a damsel in distress and when she was she took matters into her own hands. The fact that she can take her liquor says a lot about her character in general.

Lastly for a superhero film I think the action was awesome and far from generic. It definitely got your adrenaline pumping. I liked how the kryptonian’s fought, it seemed really appropriate that they could shift from punch to punch with intense velocity. If they can jump for miles then shouldn’t they be able to punch really fast? The action sequences had a genuine video game and comic book look to them from the fighting movements to the fire explosions; which proved to be the theme of the fights. Even though I found the action pretty epic, I think that’s where Man of Steel put a lot of people off, leading to quite a few negative reviews. The first half of the film was perfect in terms of narrative which made the action satisfying for me, but once it started you never had a chance to breath; it was relentless. After awhile all the noise, music and explosions start to lose impact and an emotional disconnect starts to develop which is why I think some people ended up leaving the film unsatisfied. That being said any action junkie would love this film.

Despite the lack of fun and joy with this first installment of the rebooted superman series, there’s a satisfying amount of action and narrative to keep you glued to the screen. Man of Steel is a total origin story of where superman came from and how he became more than a kryptonian but a symbol of hope to mankind.

On a final final note, Hanz Zimmer is a genius, the score for this film is amazing. I like how it’s present throughout which is definitely important for comic book films. I feel that comic book films nowadays lack a distinct theme song.

What do you guys think of the new superman? better than the classics? Do you agree with the critics or do you think they are being picky for the sake of being haters?

Emma Stone: Top 5 Films

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Emma Stone has quickly grown to be one the best female actors today with her recent triumphs in Easy A, The Help, Crazy Stupid Love, The Amazing Spider-Man and Gangster Squad. Of course she has some big films coming out soon, one being a Woody Allen project and of course a Spider-Man sequel. Before she starts getting involved in some serious blockbuster films I thought I’d recap on her best 5 out of 15 films in my opinion, since I’ve basically seen them all. There are a couple of films that I had to leave out despite enjoying them thoroughly, the films being The Rocker, Crazy, Stupid, Love and Gangster Squad. Even though I enjoyed them a lot, they didn’t quite match up with the following five films which prove to be pretty awesome.

5) The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Emma Stone takes on the role of Gwen Stacy, Peter Parker’s love interest, and totally triumphs making Bryce Dallas Howard’s interpretation of the character insignificant. To be fair Spider-Man 3 didn’t do too much justice to any of the characters and the trilogy itself, so I will take that comment back. From Spider-Man history in terms of the comics and films, we usually see the girl becoming a damsel in distress and the hero has to rise above everything to save them. Which is why Emma Stone’s take on the character was a lot more unique and memorable. Instead of being eye candy, she actually had the brains and the courage to take on the villain as opposed to standing in the most vulnerable positions with no defense plan. Ultimately it was a great performance exuding genuine on screen chemistry with the lead (Andrew Garfield), making the Spider-Man reboot a successful comic book film.

4) The Help (2011)

This film challenged Emma Stone’s ability to take on a drama, after thoroughly proving her capabilities of starring in comedy flicks. The Help exposes 1960s America focusing on its Civil Rights dilemma’s. Emma Stone is of course the hero of the film playing an aspiring author, Skeeter Phelan, coming out of university with a genuine motivation of succeeding in her field of work. After experiencing her friends discriminating attitudes towards their maids, she decides to interview two maids about their experiences with their employers and taking care of white children. This soon prompts maids from all around the village to contribute to the book idea hoping to expose the realities of racism in America. It was interesting to see Stone involved in a film with such a dark subject. At first you’re kinda expecting her to break out a silly face or a weird noise, but she balances the seriousness of the character perfectly; making her passionate and witty, illustrating her intelligence as well as humor. She joined the ranks as one of the best female actors after this film, and being cast with a group of talented women would have helped her immensely.

3) Easy A (2010)

Easy A definitely has Emma Stone written all over it. You can tell she had a lot of fun filming this movie since the character pretty much mirrors her personality. The film take’s on school culture with a unique angle integrating The Scarlet Letter as a way of boosting ones popularity. Olive Penderghast (Emma Stone) originally a nobody, has had enough of being invisible and attempts to climb up the social ladder by perceiving herself as the school bike. Eventually the lies get too much for Olive and the reality of having such a reputation means a lack of respect from her peers. As said before it shouts out Emma Stone with scenes of her being wacky and going all out weird, but that’s the charm of her character and ultimately leads to quite a fun and enjoyable film. 

2) Zombieland (2009)

This is one of Emma Stones most inventive and stylish films, mixing zombies with comedy. It focuses on a group of survivors within “Zombieland”, which is a post apocalyptic world infested with zombies, trying to find their next “home”. For some, home is a twinky and for others it is a theme park across the country, but despite their difference in ambition they all have one goal, which is to survive. Emma Stone takes on a pro con artist called Witchita, using her skills along with her little sister to con their way to a theme park so that they can both finally liberate in some fun. Stone rarely portrays characters which exude sex, but this is by far her sexiest role, I mean what’s sexier than a girl who can take on zombies like a boss while looking as hawt as she does. There’s a reason she’s been linked with a future zombie film, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”, it’s because she completely smashed this one.

1) Superbad (2007)

There’s no doubting the hilariousness of Superbad which is why this makes it one of my favourite comedies of all time. It has some of the most memorable characters and jokes you will see in a comedy film. It has a pretty simple plot, but what makes it so good is that it’s scarily relatable. We have all been in at least one of many situations Superbad explores, from indulging in messed up porn sites to going through literally anything to pursue a chance to bone. What also makes this film epic, is that it helped propel Emma Stone’s career from being unknown to being one of the most liked actors today, and for that we thank you Superbad. Despite the lack of Emma stone, it still ranks as her best film for me, and what a great film to debut in.

What are your Emma Stone favorites? and which upcoming Stone films are you looking forward to the most?

Gangster Squad (2013)

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Roze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

In this period gangster thriller we are sent back to 1949 post WW2. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) returns from war and back to sunny Los Angeles where things have changed drastically. Mickey Cohen is a power hungry gangster who is willing to do anything in order to grow his empire. His ambitions to own the whole of the west coast drives him to countless murders in what he calls “progress”. Before it’s too late Cheif Bill Parker (Nick Holte) contacts O’Mara and urges him to get a team together later known as “The Gangster Squad”. They’re mission is to take down all of Mickey Cohen’s crime operations before they grow too big to take down.

I expected this film to be loaded with plot twists, character development and periodical references. I suppose I thought it would be challenging LA Confidential or any other good period gangster films. Instead it lacked in all those areas and wasn’t as serious as I thought it would be. This was a good and bad thing because it ticked all the boxes that I like in a fun cop film but with a cast that it boasted and the performances it had; the lack of substance was unsatisfying.The plot is simple which didn’t really leave much room for an explosive film, which was disappointing especially when you have such an intense character like Mickey Cohen as the villain. That being said once you realize what direction the film is going, then you can sit back and enjoy it. As soon as I heard the music during the opening scene with Josh Brolin, I could tell it was going to be more fun than dramatic.

There’s enough action to keep the average film viewer satisfied but on the second viewing you realize it’s not as thrilling as it could have been. The shootout’s are loud but there isn’t much to them making them seem generic. Maybe I’m being overly fussy but I felt there was a missed opportunity in that aspect of Gangster Squad. Nevertheless they were still fun to watch.

The cast is amazing, I mean two of my favourite actors on screen… banging… again. So it was always going to be hard to hate this film when Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are acting together. Luckily they put in some pretty good performances. A lot of people didn’t really like Goslings high pitched, slightly odd accent and I think the director must have caught on to it because it gradually subsided as the film progressed. I didn’t mind it to be honest, it gave his character more of an identity. The rest of the cast were incredibly solid, it was the second time I’ve seen Josh Brolin play a lead role and he nailed it. Now I wish he was the new batman. Sean Penn as always is amazing as the power hungry Mickey Cohen, if there was more to the script, giving him more of a dynamic than just a short tempered gangster with a tolerance to killing then he would easily be one of the most menacing villains of 2013.

Gangster Squad really is style over substance. It’s glossy and pristine, despite it being shot in dark surroundings for most of it, you can catch the colours of neon signs and red lipstick very clearly. It’s definitely nice to look at, which is one of the main positives of this film, it captures that time period pretty well in a unique fashion.

Despite some disappointment over Gangster Squad, I actually quite enjoyed it. It seemed like the perfect film for me, I like gangsters, I like snappy one liners and I like shootouts. Was the film perfectly executed? No, but it’s fun and entertaining enough to watch til the O’Mara-Cohen showdown.

The Impossible (2012)

the-impossible1Roze-Rating: 4 / 5

Based on a true story, The Impossible is an adaptation of what a family of five had to endure during one of the most devastating natural disasters to occur in our time. Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons take a trip to Thailand for the festive holidays. Following Christmas day the family spend time at the hotel swimming pool not expecting what’s to come. Once the tsunami hits they are split in half not knowing if they have all survived. Only hope and the will to live pushes them to believe that somehow they will find each other.

I will say straight away that this film doesn’t fail to pack a punch emotionally. It’s intentionally powerful and so it should be for such an amazing story. it’s nothing short of a miracle what the family had accomplished after such a catastrophic event and it’s a story that needs to be told. There are a lot of encouraging and powerful themes explored in this film which can drive anyone to inspiration. It shows how heroes can come in any shape and sizes and all it take is a simple touch to say everything is going to be fine to heighten someone’s spirits.

This film for me holds two of the most powerful scenes of 2012. The opening scenes where the tsunami hits the hotel is both terrifying and realistic that your heart pounds uncontrollably. I felt emotions stronger than any other film that I’ve watched before, there was a genuine fear and realization about how vulnerable and alone you are in such a disaster. Recreating that event to the level of realism they did is pretty amazing, and it’s hard not to appreciate that scene. The second scene features Ewan McGregor where he calls his father-in-law to tell him their situation. I’ve not seen a moment as intense as that in a film this year, the amount of emotion he puts into it is infectious and if you don’t feel just a little emotional then you are obviously too manly for this film.

Performances from everyone needed to be intense and inevitably they were with such an awesome cast. I’ve missed seeing Ewan Mcgregor on the big screen, and he really proves how much of a talent he is. Props also going to the three kids, couldn’t have been easy parts to play but they got through it convincingly. Lastly Naomi Watts easily steals the show with such a devastating performance, capturing probably every emotion you could get in such a situation, and at the age of 44 it’s amazing how young she looks.

The only negative I could find with this film is that it didn’t seem to explore the people who weren’t so fortunate to find their families, there was a lack of tribute to the unlucky individuals. I can easily see where people could get easily offended, especially if they were victims of the tsunami or a similar disaster. Admittedly it could have really done with it towards the end because it became quite evident that they lost things to film and it ultimately played out the sentimental tone a bit too long. All in all, an amazing story told well through the media of film.

Hit & Run (2012)

90243_galRoze-Rating: 3 / 5

Dax Shepard tries his hand at directing his first mainstream film, Hit & Run. The film follows a young couple who are based in the middle of nowhere not exactly by choice. Charlie Bronson (Dax Shepard) is in the witness protection program having been caught up in a past crime. During the one year the couple have been together, Annie (Kristen Bell) is largely unaware of Charlie’s past and even his real name. His past gradually starts to unravel as the couple get involved with an adrenaline pumping road trip with the sole purpose of trying to get Annie to her dream job interview.

Before I even sat down to watch this film, I was really rooting for it to be a big hit. Not because Kristen Bell is in it looking super fine, but because it’s a Dax Shepard project. He wrote it and co-directed it, and it really puts things into perspective about how far he’s come since those days he worked at Punk’d. For those reasons I just wanted to like it a lot, but there honestly is too many problems with this film to truly consider it a good film.

The cast is undoubtedly awesome with appearances from Kristen Bell, Tom Arnold, Bradley Cooper and Beau Bridges. The entire cast play their characters the best they can but they are largely let down by the writing. The characters weren’t written well enough to fully meet the potential they had. Each character has their own little charm which made them unique and potentially memorable, but the lack of thorough writing to fully explore them and crucially their dialogue effectively made them seem bland. Which is such a shame because I started to like the characters, I just didn’t feel they were real enough.

What really let the film down was the storyline, some parts kinda annoyed me. There was a bit too much wrong with it for me to take it seriously, even for a comedy. The reason for this is because the premise is quite promising and with such a premise, you could do so much with it to make it funny and realistic at the same time. I think there was a lack of seriousness within the characters, where they were being chased and potentially killed, it ruined it for me because I thought it was pretty stupid how they would still be fixated on getting to the job interview.

What I did love was the film making, for his debut in directing a blockbuster film, there was a lot of substance behind filming the chase scenes. In reality they were quite boring scenes but the way he utilised the camera positions and angles really made it exciting to watch. It’s a good film to watch if you don’t want anything too serious.

This is 40 (2012)

this-is-40-1Roze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

Judd Apatow brings back Pete and Debbie from 2007 comedy hit Knocked Up to explore their lives a few years down the line. Their kids are older, busines isnt flowing and the rest of their family are being uncooperative, the recipe for a destructive marriage. As their problems become more evident as well as their increasing age, they realise that there isn’t much time to fix their relationship before their lives become a waste.

I think most people would agree that this film is slightly too long with a 133 minute running time, although it is filled with quite a bit of substance. I think it was a pretty good idea to revisit these characters since they were a memorable part of Knocked Up. Creating new characters from scratch would definitely not have been as appealing. Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann ooze this wacky, cheesy, genuine chemistry that not a lot of actors can produce. Their similar sense of humour is a joy to watch, largely driven by improv which Paul Rudd seems to execute with pure hilarity. There really isn’t much wrong with the acting although I think the older child (Maude Apatow) may have been a bit too intense and loud at times, but in reality I guess kids can go apeshit like that. The cameo’s were definitely the main highlights of the film, which is probably not the best thing for a movie, but they did offer a lot of the laughs. Huge props to Melissa McCarthy who has convincingly cemented herself as one of the best comedy actresses.

The storyline is pretty relatable which is why it’s generally an entertaining watch. I think any big fan of Paul Rudd will like this film a lot because his brand of humour is present throughout and its hard not to like this guy. It may not be the most original film but it still does the job in keeping us laughing and entertained. I think the problem with a film like this is that the subject is too serious to make an absolutely hilarious film, because there’s too many breaks of serious scenes before the laughs come in. Either way it’s definitely worth a watch if your a fan of Judd Apatow films and you want something down to earth with some comedy.

Battleship (2012)

battleship-pic-1Roze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

Based on the board game, Battleship explores the concept of the game while adding an extraterrestrial edge. Alex Hopper (Taylor Kitsch) is your stereotypical screw up who doesn’t take any responsibility, until an incident involving a chicken Burrito and an exceptionally attractive girl forces his brother to push him into the Navy. Despite seemingly finding his niche, his careless ways hold him back from excelling in his field of work. It takes the threat of an Alien attack on earth to reassess his ways and work at his full potential to save the world.

I can totally understand why this would be hated by a lot of critics and people who like films with a bit more substance because there is a lot wrong with this film. Despite the problems it actually ended up surprising me a lot in terms of its concept and premise. When I heard that it was based on the board game I instantly thought “bull sh*t”, I didn’t see how the Alien apocalypse genre would be able to incorporate the board game. But after watching it, I am not ashamed to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. Of course that is probably largely due to the low expectations I had of it. Granted if I had went in expecting a lot out of it I would probably be smashing the film.

The film started off with the right intentions, purposely trying to be fun and light hearted, which is what this film is all about. The characters they introduced were likeable and set up favorable characters for us to root for. The premise is also quite smart, they could have easily tried to use the board game idea with a less thrilling idea, but that being said the execution is what made the difference between an awesome film and a so so film. The main character driving the film is Alex Hopper played by Taylor Kitsch, a well written character with relatable characteristics. It would be quite hard too hate the guy, unless your driven to jealousy after seeing Brooklyn Decker doing her thing. Ultimately the plot of Battleship is commendable since everyone likes an Alien invasion and the way they used the Battleship board game concept ended up being quite smart and believable.

Something that let the film down a lot was the acting, I didn’t understand some of the castings especially for such a big budget film, you’d think they’d go all out. For example Gregory D. Gadson, I understand that he’s never had experience and he’s a Former US Army soldier but he just didn’t suit the character at all. One specific scene at the end is just ridiculous especially in the condition and shape he was in, it went over the line of acceptable. Rihanna was also slightly miscast, I thought her role was slightly too big for a person lacking acting experience, which was evident in some scenes, but that being said, she was surprisingly good. Despite from a couple of let downs in that department, I thought Taylor Kitsch was freaking bad ass, he’s obviously extremely talented because he was amazing in all his films this year. Hopefully he moves on to films with better scripts. Brooklyn Decker was also pretty good, she’s come a long way since Just Go With It, and showed some grit.

Lastly the effects used throughout this film are exceptional at most, but you could quite easily tell they got lazy with some parts. I think with the budget they had, they should really try make the most of every resource properly, and half assing some scenes wont make this a hit like they wanted it to be. There are also some scenes which logically don’t make sense, for example a scene where two characters seem to unnecessarily walk to the top of a sinking ship to jump off. The action was still pretty thrilling, especially the parts where the Board Game stuff comes to use, and a shoot-out at the end. If they would have kept to that standard of action then it would have been a perfectly epic action flick, but there isn’t enough adrenaline pumping scenes to reach that accolade.