Trailer Park: Lucy (2014)


Verdict: Buying a ticket!

Director: Luc Besson
Screenwriter: Luc Besson
Main Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Min-Sik Choi, Morgan Freeman

Coming to screens soon is Luc Besson’s Lucy, probably one of the most exciting films he has been involved with in awhile. Besson of course coming off a bad year with The Family, would like to come back with a success. It’s about time we get a film with a little something different, of course with the surge of superhero movies over the past few years this may become a big hit as Scarjo AKA Black Widow is boasting some badass brain super powers. It’s about time Scarlett Johansson started pursuing action films as we’ve seen her reprise her role as Black Widow three times now brilliantly, and Lucy looks like the perfect film to legitimately cement her as an action star. The trailer doesn’t really reveal anything unique in its premise, as it simply seems like a revenge flick, but when do revenge flicks ever get boring; I mean we have Oldboy’s Min-Sik Choi cast as the bad guy, who is known for having a particular set of skills with a hammer. What makes this film intriguing though is the drug and its effects on Scarlett Johansson’s character, it obviously increases brain power significantly as Morgan Freeman explains, but the abilities that Johansson develops influences a whole bag of baddassary. Ultimately we know to expect some great visuals and action sequences, but in terms of story we’re not really given much to know confidently what direction Lucy’s journey for justice will take her.

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Screen Fix Predictions: July 2014

July PredictionsFilms Opening in July;

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Sex Tape
The Purge: Anarchy
Hercules
Wish I Was Here
Begin Again (Critics: 75% | Audience: 79%)
Tammy (Critics: 21% | Audience: 62%)
Earth to Echo (Critics: 55% | Audience: 64%)


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes –
(Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 85-95% | Audience: 85-95%) – Cinema Fix

All it took to sell me this film was monkey’s on horses, if they were to release a trailer of just the apes riding horses for a whole minute, I think I would still watch this film. Unfortunately this film looks even greater than monkey’s on horses, and that scares me because I hate going into films with high expectations. But I have a good feeling about this, as it looks greater in scale than “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” with the complex conflict between human and ape coming into play, Caesar seems even more conflicted perhaps sympathizing for humans downfall and the war scenes look incredible. Whatever happens I’m sure it will be one hell of a ride.

Sex Tape – (Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 55-65% | Audience: 75-85%) – Cinema Fix

What makes this film so intriguing is how possible the premise is. I think most of us could admit that amongst our worst nightmares, accidentally mass emailing racy photos of ourselves would rank quite high on that list. Unless such photos don’t exist, then good on you, but who can resist nowadays with the emergence of the front side camera, snapchat and the increase of celebrity nudes. The way technology is going, soon being seen naked will be inevitable, as mentioned in the trailer, what even is the cloud?! The comedy seems to be going for a slapstick and sex jokes route, which is fine by me, therefore I will watch this film.

The Purge: Anarchy – (Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 40-50% | Audience: 65-75%– Cinema/Rental Fix (Depends what else is opening)

I was not a fan of the first film and couldn’t understand why a sequel was being made, especially with the less than complimentary response it attained. I mean the premise is pretty interesting and makes you think a little bit about how we are as a society surrounded by violence. But the execution was below par and for a thriller it was quite the opposite. Nevertheless The Purge: Anarchy potentially looks entertaining, with a change of formula, now taking the fight to the streets and casting Crossbones (Frank Grillo) as the lead. That being said it could still end up being a mess, but as long as it provides enough thrills to put us at the edge of our seats, it should easily improve on its predecessor.

Hercules – (Rotten Tomatoes Prediction: Critics: 25-35% | Audience: 55-65%– Rent Fix

One word springs to mind when watching the trailer, “ambitious”. It looks visually impressive and usually that alone would get me in the cinema but I get this feeling it will be all spectacle and no substance. I love The Rock and he will no doubt kick ass but what ultimately turns me off this film is his “I am Hercules!” line, it just comes off so flat and expressionless, I cant help but think he may not be as bad ass as I want him to be. Either way I’m sure it will be entertaining and the CGI monsters may just do the trick for some people.

Off The Radar: Premature (2014)

premature-movie-poster-01-1390x2048Roze-Rating: 3.5 / 5

Premature may look like your average teen gross out comedy judging from the unknown cast and budget production, and you would be right to assume that but it doesn’t matter because aren’t the point of comedy films to entertain you and make you laugh? Rob Crabbe (John Karna) is a normal teen coming to the end of high school, but just like any male teen he has fantasies, fantasies causing him to wake up with slimy boxers and an awkward mother telling him to put his own sheets in the wash after walking in on him. What Rob soon finds out is that whenever he releases his special sauce during the day, he lands right back in bed in the same awkward situation as before. Some would find it a burden but eventually Rob embraces it, which could potentially break him out of the “curse”.

I’ve seen enough of these B-movie comedies to know not to take them too seriously, or expect a lot out of them, but something about Premature sets it apart from the others. For one the premise is quite fun, it’s already been branded as Groundhog Day meets American Pie, and I’d say that seems quite accurate. It has the exact same format as Groundhog Day but takes a more gross out, cheap laugh root towards its comedy. That being said the jokes try not to be cheesy or overdone, and that’s probably down to the comedic timing and likability of the cast.

There’s something about Craig Roberts that makes me laugh, it could be his stone cold facial expressions, the fact I can’t help thinking he would look good in glasses or his hilarious delivery, whatever it is it makes me want to see more from him. Improv or not he has some hilariously memorable quotes. An example “It’s a scientific fact that your blood pressure drops when you orgasm, it’s like your balls are shooting yoga through your veins”, classic. He’s already starred in recent hits such as 22 Jump Street and Neighbors, so he must be doing something right. Alan Tudyk also makes a memorable appearance as a college admissions officer who happens to be a widower. I know it shouldn’t be funny but Tudyk somehow makes it funny, big fan of his after his appearance in Transformers 3. Also look out for Adam Riegler who looks as though he was pulled out from a Nickelodeon sit com, definitely a highlight of the film. As for John Karna, he is one of the few unknown leads, in these kind of films, that actually look promising for the future. He may not have done anything groundbreaking but at least I wasn’t trying to pretend he could act which is usually the case for these films, and he made me laugh multiple times which is the goal right?

If the film ever reaches your cinemas, I wouldn’t tell you to go spending money on a ticket, but I would tell you that if you’re like me and find it hard looking for new comedies to watch due to watching them all already, then this is a perfectly fun film for your weekend screen fix.

Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)

f140aad0-e041-11e3-bbab-c14b02f09f69_transformers-age-of-extinctionRoze-Rating: 2.5 / 5

Following the attack on Chicago, there is a sense of bitterness towards the transformers. Unknown to the public, Decepticons and Autobots are being hunted down and killed for their scraps, sanctioned by corrupt CIA operatives. Of all places, Cade Yeager finds a torn up truck in an abandoned cinema hoping to sell the parts for enough cash to put his daughter through college. When he discovers that it isn’t your average truck, his life takes a turn for the worst.

Now I’ve never been a hater of the Transformer franchise or ever boarded the “down with Michael Bay” bandwagon, because I actually find his films fun and thoroughly entertaining, but this time around I’m finding it hard to defend the CGI addicted director. I’ll give him Transformers one as it was actually a pretty good action flick, and what made it so good was that element of mystery, for people who weren’t familiar with transformers or ever had a history with them, the first installment was perfect. We’re learning about who the transformers are and how significant their rivalry with the Decepticons is, and the bond they form with the humans adds an extra layer to the transformers that makes them admirable characters. But as the sequels increase the more shallow the franchise has become, and when we take a step back and think about the films together as a series, it’s evident that there’s no progression and it never intends to, instead there’s more of a desire to include as much CGI as possible, dress the girls down as eye candy and make a simple story over complicated. And that’s a shame as the characters are pretty badass. That being said I’m one of those people that totally fell for the plethora of explosions and destruction that was Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Yes a lot of it was ridiculous, and there are moments that annoy me, but you can’t fault the entertainment value it offers and some of those action sequences are jaw dropping. Looking back you can tell that Bay took on the criticism from Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and improved the franchise immensely, because that film achieved the complete opposite of what it intended to do. The story was bloated and the pacing was completely off, making for an overlong film that was ultimately boring despite the non stop action. Unfortunately Transformers: Age of Extinction does not move forward as Dark of the Moon did, but instead takes a huge step backwards.

Unsurprisingly this film is visually brilliant, there’s one thing Bay can do and that is make a great looking action film. The CGI is incredible and has come a long way since the first film of the series, you would honestly think that these robots were real if you were a kid watching for the first time. Of course if you’re looking for explosions, explosions and more explosions then this film will hit the spot perfectly; it would be hard to find a film that can top the amount of destruction that you’ll get in this. But If you’re looking for an action film with a coherent story and uncliched characters then this may be 2 hours and 37 minutes you’d rather save for another trip to the cinema.

There’s a reason I could tolerate Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and that was because I cared about the characters having spent two films getting to know them with the exception of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley. Just like Dark of the Moon missed Mikaela (Megan Fox), Age of Extinction missed Sam Witwicky (Shia LeBeouf), just because followers of the franchise have already developed a relationship with the character and in addition that relationship between Witwicky and the Autobots. Mark Wahlberg is great in this film but in all honesty I didn’t care much for his character or the others, and that’s down to how cliched and cheesy they are. For the first time in a film, I actually disapproved of seeing a beautiful girl in short shorts, just because we’ve seen it so many times before in a Transformers film, why must it be a perquisite to have a gorgeous girl cast in these films. The good thing about Megan Fox and her character was that there was more too her than met the eye, she was a badass and had a legitimate reason to be involved with the transformers. Ultimately the characters are just bad, I mean the only reason I remember Shane (Jack Reynor) is because of his Irish accent.

Now the storytelling is pretty terrible, there are countless moments which could have easily been condensed and reduced the run time significantly, making for a less exhausting watch. The story alone is generic, haven’t we already had a government conspiracy plot line before. The most interesting thing about the film is the Transformers and their conflict between helping the humans or accepting they don’t want them there, and that’s where the tireless critique returns, make the transformers purely the heart of the films!

Despite the action being pretty well choreographed and executed, there’s so much of it that it really does suffocate you. The amount of shaky cam and low angle shots used within the long action sequences makes it so hard to concentrate on the screen. I had to look away and blink a few times just to make sure my eyes weren’t trying to wriggle their way out of their sockets. Admittedly I did enjoy the final action segment, just because it’s pretty hilarious and the urban warfare approach is totally my thing. I just wish they kept that same lighthearted tone from start to finish, because the worst parts of the film are when it tries too hard to be serious, and therefore sucking all the fun out of it.

Ultimately there’s no surprise towards how the film has turned out, we all know what to expect with Michael Bay films and especially when coming from the Transformers franchise. It may be time for a fresh face to take over and inject the imagination and inspired ideas that this film really missed. That being said if you’re in the mood for hardcore action to fry your brain then this will do the trick.

The Lego Movie (2014)

the_lego_movie_2014-wideRoze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Emmet is your average construction worker living life by the rules, always sticking to the instructions enforced by president Business. What Emmet isn’t aware of is that his mind is capable of so much more than conforming with everyone around him, and that he has the potential to be just as special as the people he looks up to. Unaware of the coming onslaught of President Business and his Kragal, Emmet finds the “piece of resistance”, the key to saving the universe they live in.

Coming from the directors of “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and the “21 Jump Street” franchise, The Lego Movie clearly have Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s footprints embedded into it, from the quirky humor to the larger than life action sequences. Finally a film utilizing it’s ensemble cast to its full potential. Up and comer Chris Pratt is the highlight of the film, voice acting as Emmet, and for anyone who’s a fan of “Parks and Recreation”, will be pleasantly treated to a character with hints of Andy written all over it. We are also treated to the likes of Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Morgan Freeman and Will Ferrell, and other big name cameo’s on top of that. The cast may be large but they all have their moments providing laughs for both adults and kids.

The major highlight of this film has to be the animation which has reached new grounds making each piece of Lego look real enough to grab from the screen. As Lego should be, the aesthetics are colourfully glossy with no limits to imagination. The way the pieces move and assemble is masterfully animated, taking the old timers back to their childhoods and entertaining the kids, possibly giving them ideas for their next big creation. That is where this film succeeds, the Lego really are the stars of the film. Exuding a sense of nostalgia for the older audiences while creating an atmosphere of fun for everyone else.

Both Lord and Miller acknowledged that their first effort in film lacked heart and a true connection between audience and character, although Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a success for its humor, this time around they’ve successfully found the best of both worlds. What I like about this film is that they never forget what Lego is all about and what it represents and in a way it’s a homage to the toy itself. President Business (Will Ferrell) is the bad guy, enforcing rules and instructions on the public with the ultimate goal of making things permanent. The film illustrates the endless possibility of Lego and encourages imagination and individualism going beyond the instructions you’re given, despite it being based on Lego, it goes for all things in life and that’s as big a connection you can make with an audience.

On top of the messages, what makes this film one of the best of the year, are the little details representing the nuances of playing with Lego, making it so relatable and real. for example the odd manual sound effects as a detachable building floor flies away, or the use of everyday household objects as toys, clueless to what they’re actually for. It’s a definite must watch film of 2014, and has Academy Award nomination written all over it.

Oscars Throwback: No Country For Old Men (2007)

Movies_Movies_N__006313_Roze-Rating: 5 / 5

Llewelyn Moss is a Vietnam veteran living in the desolate lands of Texas. One day during a hunting session, he finds what would be a drug deal gone wrong. Along with dead corpses and a wounded man begging for water, he finds a black satchel with 2 million dollars inside. He takes the money and hides it in his house knowing people are going to be looking for it. His conscious gets the better of him as he wakes up in the middle of the night to bring water to the wounded man, a mistake as he gives vital clues to the one man with no morals when it comes to getting what he wants.

No Country For Old Men is an absolute gem of a film. For me, it ticks all the boxes for a perfect thriller with a wild west edge. As a shallow viewer it has enough suspense, violence and action to enthrall for the full viewing time. Even with its quiet, barren land demeanor. But for the sometimes sophisticated side of my brain, the narrative has enough substance for me to have come out with a much richer experience of the film.

As the title and opening monologue from old timer Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) would suggest, it’s a film about the changing times. How a land which was once relatively safe has now become a harsh environment. Whenever we see the older generation on screen, they seem to be bogged down by unusual information or just odd behavior. A sign which says, times are more complicated and not as straight forward as before. Even for Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, he fails to put the pieces together quick enough to solve the drug deal gone wrong case. This isn’t to say he’s incompetent, he is the opposite, but it says that crime in the modern times are a lot more overwhelming.

The characters are also a great part of this film, the three main characters signify something different. We have the Sheriff who is an obviously good man. He has a loving wife and is also good at his job. Just like the old time’s, he’s laid back and composed but nothing less than a good person. There is the antagonist Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) who is a total psychopath, from the worst hair cut ever in film to his lack of remorse when killing people, he is the bad of the film. Since we are unaware of where he’s from and it’s apparent that he isn’t local, he seems to signify the unpredictability of modern evil and crime, sometimes referred to as a ghost. This may refer to the how the future is and what makes it so unsettling. He has no moral compass but believes in the power of fate, apparent from his coin toss game. As for Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin), he is right bang in the middle, as Uncle Ellis refers to some of his cats as half wild or outlaws. Moss is your every man, he’s been through a lot and understands the harshness of life. I like how he looks at the money with no expression and sighs “yeah” as if he already knows what he’s getting into but can’t protest against it. There’s some form of inevitability to it.

This film really is a cat and mouse thriller. Except the mouse is a cat too. Predator vs predator. It’s refreshing because we have characters who aren’t stupid. They’re all intelligent and know how to cover their tracks, they know how to defend themselves and when it comes to doing the deed, they can do it. Just as you think a character is missing something they respond with intelligence. It’s awesome to watch a film where you find it hard to criticize characters decisions but instead be left wondering “why didn’t I think of that”.

As for performances, well you have Javier Bardem in one of his first major English roles and will probably stand as his best for awhile. Think Silva from Skyfall but even crazier. I like that opening scene of him where he’s strangling that cop, just from his facial expressions you can tell that he’s a heartless bastard and it’s not the first time he’s attempted to kill someone. As good as Bardem is, Brolin totally knocks it out of the park for me. There’s something about his portrayal of the character. He’s just so slick and such a guy, a guy we all wish we could be. If I could pull off boots and a cowboy hat, I would, wouldn’t have to think about it, I’d be walking around looking like a total badass. (Brolin) “you got socks”, (Shopkeeper) “We only have white”. (Brolin) “That’s ok, whites all I wear”, that’s what it means to be a man right there. Tommy Lee Jones is business as usual and it was nice seeing some Woody Harrelson as well to make up a really great cast.

This was totally deserving of the Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Javier Bardem) Oscars. A film back in the day that I wouldn’t have wanted to watch, purely because it’s absent of music. Thanks to more appreciation for films, that lack of music only adds to the film, putting us in the west with the characters and surprisingly adding suspense to the films more thrilling scenes. No Country For Old Men is truly a great film.

Oldboy (2004) vs Oldboy (2013)

OldBoy VS

I chose to watch the remake before the original and immediately regretted that decision after realizing that this isn’t your average revenge flick. It’s a lot darker and filled with more surprises than I first anticipated. Going into the original knowing the general storyline and plot diminished the effect of the first half of the film, luckily due to changes in the remake there were still a few pleasant surprises and twists that I didn’t see coming. I think if I would have been a bit smarter and chose to watch the original first I would have instantly loved it.

The initial reasoning behind watching the remake first was to give it a fair chance so that I wouldn’t be comparing the two constantly, but this is just one of those films where this can’t be prevented. Firstly the story is unique providing plenty of plot twists to keep us guessing. Once knowing these twists, it’s hard to stop waiting for them to happen in the original. Luckily the remake didn’t stay completely true to the original and made a few plot changes but those were the only changes made. That’s what makes the remake incredibly pointless in my opinion. It didn’t offer anything new, apart from a western cast and a neo-noir tone. Why remake a film and change virtually nothing about it. Usually what you’d like to see in a remake is perhaps a unique style true to the director or something different creatively but the 2013 version felt lackluster and ultimately not worth filming especially when you have a pretty perfect counterpart.

Oldboy-5
Oldboy (2013) –
Roze-Rating: 3 / 5

We’re introduced to Joe Doucett leaving a lunch meeting drunk, what first seems acceptable turns unacceptable as he urinates in public and adds more booze into a soda cup before returning to work. He later shouts at his wife for nagging him to attend his daughters 3rd birthday party and hits on his clients wife who has no interest in him. It’s safe to say that he isn’t a pleasant man at all. We’re not meant to like him but we can tell that not even he likes himself as he spits at a mirror while staring at his reflection. He seems to have given up on himself. After a booze filled night he’s snatched off the street and awakens in an unfamiliar room which he’s trapped in.

We don’t really get a sense of that revenge until he is released from the room. Whilst in the room it’s more about his self improvement and redemption in order to be worthy of his daughters forgiveness when he is let out. I suppose that is what prevents him from going insane.

Without giving anything away this film tackles some dark themes which would make a lot of people feel uncomfortable, but this film lacked grit and an appropriate tone to support it. It felt too mainstream and lacked style, the cinematography, characters and locations felt generic which ruined what was supposed to be an eerie film about revenge. Instead it came off as your average blockbuster film.

What I liked about this film was the added noir tone. It felt appropriate during the scenes where Brolin and Olsen are trying to figure out who trapped him in that room. But then there would be an abrupt change in tone during Brolin’s hammer to skull combat scenes. Sometimes it would feel out of place especially the iconic hallway tracking shot. It was always going to be a hard scene to pull off and unfortunately it looked awkward. Having not seen the original before this, I can say that was my first reaction. Brolin was awesome but the extra’s made the scene feel gimmicky with over the top reactions and unrealistic movements, some moments were cool but others were off. Talking about extra’s, they seemed to burden the film with below par acting. Not only the iconic fight scene but a couple of flashbacks too. If someone points a shotgun at you, I’m pretty sure you’d flinch, at least a little bit.

Josh Brolin proves to be one of the few positives coming out of this film , showing that he can be a strong lead and carry a film. Another positive is Sharlto Copley, now cementing his status as king of accents. It may be slightly off in this film but his stiff interpretation of Brolin’s mysterious enemy makes him an intriguing character. It was interesting seeing Elizabeth Olsen for the first time, it gave me the chance to see if she’s Avengers worthy. She was solid but maybe due to the script she felt monotone. We don’t really sense her troubled past or any hardship, the only time we sense it is when it’s spoon fed to us or the first scene we see her with Brolin where she’s wearing a scruffy torn T-shirt, then minutes later we see her wearing a nice blazer. The only thing that signified to me was whether she was homeless or not, not every druggie has a torn up shirt!

Oldboy-3


Oldboy (2004) – Roze-Rating: 4.5 / 5

Oh Dae Su is an obvious alcoholic as we’re introduced to him at a police station being a nuisance. He says all he does is try to get through the day, which suggests he struggles in life and in a way might have already given up. He may be unhappy but he shares a sweet spot for his daughter despite continually being absent from her life. From the opening we know he’s done some bad things and may not be a pleasant person. Before we know it he’s been picked up from the side of the street and trapped in a room.

Compared with the newer version, the transition to his entrapment is a lot quicker, you could say the remake spoon feeds the audience the plot and also gives us a more direct interpretation of the character. With Oh Dae Su we can understand him the way we want to. There’s more emphasis on his growing insanity within the room which the remake didn’t touch on, to put the cherry on the top there’s an explanation to why he never gave in to the insanity which is what I was wondering the whole time. When he’s released he saves a man from committing suicide but it becomes apparent that he hasn’t completely changed, he still lacks compassion but he’s fitter and driven with only revenge on his mind. In that respect there is more emphasis on revenge which the remake didn’t have.

Themes of vengeance are relevant throughout the film, when we learn more about the person who trapped Dae Su. We learn the extent to which revenge can go and what holding a grudge can do to a man. For Dae Su, remorse slowly creeps in on him once he figures out who the mystery man is.

Performances are great from everyone in the cast. The lead Min-sik Choi is phenomenal, a character which will stay with me for a long time. He finds the perfect mix of grit, anger and insanity. Gang Hye-Jeong plays the female supporting role convincingly, we buy into her loneliness and hurt, making her a character we believe in. Playing the mystery man is Ji-tae Yu who is portrayed as this charismatic, suave, insane, evil man. In terms of antagonists, this is as good as it gets.

The blend of violence and dark humour is emphasized by the films overall offbeat tone. It gives the film consistency and style which the remake lacked. The screenplay is also better with narration, memorable quotes and metaphoric messages that move the narrative along nicely. There’s no question to why this is a cult classic, I’ve not seen a film as interesting, fast paced and intense as this in a long time.

Oldboy-4


Verdict

The original is miles better than Spike Lee’s remake. I’m all for a remake, but only if it’s justified. Foreign films have been adapted before, it’s not uncommon, but usually there’s a unique spin on them. For instance Prince Avalanche and The Departed. What makes the original so much better is the script, it has all the plot holes filled which the remake had. I don’t understand why you would take a film with a perfect story line and change little things like making the protagonists imprisonment 20 years instead of 15. Little things that create plot holes. As for the characters, as good as Josh Brolin is, he doesn’t come close to beating Min-sik Choi and his awesome hair. But even overall the characters are richer in the original. I didn’t like Elizabeth Olsen’s take on the female role at all. I didn’t buy into her vulnerability as much as Gang Hye-Jeong’s Mido. As for the antagonist, Sharlto Copley was absolute gold but it didn’t feel appropriate for a film like Oldboy, he felt gimmicky. Ji-tae Yu was just as suave as Copley but his anger and desire for vengeance felt real, you almost feel for the character. Overall Chan Wook Park’s film smashes the remake… in the skull… with a hammer.