The Spectacular Now (2013)

82be1a35bdd197cdb228bea4120f7e72Roze-Rating: 5 / 5

Every year I watch a shiz load of films, ranging from the brilliant to the utterly terrible, but there will always be that odd film that some how finds its way to me and strikes the sweetest G-Chord within my heart. The Spectacular Now is that film for me of 2013.

Ever since The Descendants I knew I was an instant fan of Shailene Woodley and had been waiting to see her follow up film for quite a while. And what a film. Just as The Descendants was, this film is down to earth and totally real. Miles Teller plays Sutter Keeley, a kid on the brink of adulthood. We meet him as he struggles to begin his college application, unsure of how to put his life into words. He seems like he has his sh*t together as we indulge in his large personality and his way of words, but once we’re exposed to his constant alcoholism we know something is up. What makes this such a relatable film is Sutter’s predicament. He’s lived in the now for all his life and has struggled to do anything productive with it. He may have heaps of fun but during a time of his life where a future plan matters he becomes stuck. His girlfriend dumps him for the pure reason that he has no ambition. Then Shailene Woodley’s character Aimee Finecky comes along and gives him a bit of a pick me up. Aimee is the complete opposite of Sutter, she’s down the chain on the social ladder and has dreams of finally leaving for college although stunted by her mother. Sutter befriends her in the hope of helping her out.

There’s films out there which make you wanna cry because devastating stuff happens in them with that sole outcome in mind, but then there are some films which make you wanna cry because you connect so much with the characters and the films themes that they are more tears of inspiration than sympathy. I wont lie, by the end of the film I felt quite emotional. It was odd because I’ve never felt so emotional for such a character triumph. Something so simple yet profound. I’m at a similar time in life as this Sutter kid which is why it probably felt so relatable, and because of that I may have left the film slightly a better person.

What I like about this story is that there’s no defining character that helps grow Sutter. From watching past coming of age films there’s usually a father figure or someone that can be looked up to who knocks some inspiration into our lost soul, but in this film, it took getting to his lowest point to finally grow. Sure there were characters along the way which were important but at the end of the day if you can come to terms with your problems then you can look for a solution. That’s what makes the final scene so good, it’s ambiguous but does it really matter? (You’ll see)

The cinematography is earthy capturing the human element of young love and uncertainty pleasantly. Along with the score which slowly develops from upbeat to endearing to melancholy.

As for performances, Miles Teller has the potential to be the next Vince Vaugn of sorts with his natural ability to bring charisma to a character. Saw him for the first time in Footloose then 21 & Over this year. He has no problem with running his mouth rampant and when put in the right film, it comes out positively. Hopefully he sticks to movies such as this and doesn’t over do this type of character as some actors do. Shailene Woodley co-stars and offers another great performance. Really looking forward to her new franchise film next year, Divergent, I don’t care if it seems like a Hunger Games copy, I’m sure she will bring something to the films.

What really makes these performances stand out though is the chemistry between Woodley and Teller. The last time I saw legitimate awkwardness and realism brought to teen love was last years Amazing Spider-Man, maybe I need to watch more films if that’s the case. But everything about their interaction is something I’ve been through, and for that reason it felt so real.

The Spectacular Now is a coming of age tale that starts off upbeat then hits you with emotional substance. It’s engaging and totally relatable with great leads and raw chemistry. One of my favourites of 2013.

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Man of Tai Chi (2013)

Man-Of-Tai-Chi-18Roze-Rating: 3 / 5

Keanu Reeves makes his directorial debut with this relentless martial arts film exposing the powers of Tai Chi. It follows the transformation of Tiger Chen from an honorable man of the martial arts to a greedy underground fighter. Manipulating him through this journey is Donaka Mark (Kaunu Reeves), who exploits Tiger’s transformation to a select few. What Tiger doesn’t know is that Mark is not in it for the fighting but for the killing.

This film may not satisfy the few craving a kung fu flick with strong characters and an exciting narrative as Man of Tai Chi lack in those departments. The premise is quite straight forward, a man strives to take Tai Chi beyond its limits. A sketchy millionaire offers him money to fight in random locations, allowing him to release the beast within himself like never before. Once getting too addicted to hurting people he realizes he has crossed the dishonorable line of the martial arts code. Thereon he tries to redeem himself. The characters are also quite one dimensional as well, except for the protagonist. He experiences quite dramatic moral changes. Other than that there are no other characters to be interested in.

What the film lacks it gains in badass fight scenes which are practically all throughout the film. I suppose compared to your odd Kung Fu flicks the fights may not be too unique but they are nonetheless exciting to watch. Keanu Reeves does a great job in filming these fights and making them easy to watch but also exciting. What stops it from getting boring is that Tiger Chen fights a number of different fighters with particular fighting skills which gives the fighting sequences diversity. Tiger also grows as a fighter as the fights go on, he gradually gets more intense until he eventually explodes.

Tiger Chen puts in a great performance turning from stuntman to lead man. What makes it that more awesome is that he does all his own stunts but he isn’t that bad of an actor either. That could be me blinded from all the subtitle reading but from what I saw he wasn’t too shabby. Keanu Reeves plays a man of very few words, I suppose that was to give him a constant ominous demeanor but ultimately it felt kind of odd. Nevertheless he makes a badass fighting opponent.

Man of Tai Chi is a story about a man of innocence being turned into a man of evil after experiencing too much power. It takes awhile but once realizing he has lost all integrity of what Tai Chi really is, he manages to dig deep and become the master he has been training for all his life. Decent modern kung fu flick but nothing unique. That being said it’s not a bad first directorial attempt by Keanu Reeves.

Masters of Sex (Pilot)

Masters of SexRoze-Verdict: Its premise will attract viewers for all the right reasons, it’s a 50’s period piece exploring social themes of that era, with Mad Men coming to an end soon this may be the perfect series to turn to for our 50s – 60s cravings.

The series follows protagonists Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson who we know in present day as the pioneers of human sexuality. Based on the biography by Thomas Maier “Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love”, we are taken on their journey as the duo risk their reputation and careers for science.

Starring;

  • Michael Sheen as William H. Masters
  • Lizzy Caplan as Virginia E. Johnson
  • Caitlin Fitzgerald as Libby Masters
  • Teddy Sears as Dr. Austin Langham
  • Nicholas D’Agosto as Dr. Ethan Haas
  • Beau Bridges as Provost Barton Scully
  • Allison Janney as Margaret Scully, Scully’s wife

The premise is entertaining, exploring a subject that almost everyone is curious about except it is taken from a time where sex was taboo, only meant for love and creating life. This makes it a hell of a lot more interesting and thought provoking as we get a genuine insight on the ideologies that society had given women and men about family, love and sex.

The title itself would attract enough viewers to make this successful because sex sells I suppose, as we all have our inner pervert. I’m happy to say that my genitalia did not have any input in watching the pilot (a first). I wasn’t surprised to find that it was a great pilot keeping me interested and entertained til the very end. It has a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to binge watching the rest of the season once it ends next month.

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan look brilliant together, they seemed to gel really well in the pilot. It wasn’t just an instant connection but they gradually grew into this team who played off each other’s passion for the science of sex believably. Of course we’re left wondering where the next episodes will take us and what formula will be used but there’s a lot of potential for quite an entertaining chemistry between the two assuming they don’t take too much of a serious approach. Sheen performs as a cold, emotionless, egotistical doctor passionate about his work. He’s not a bad person, just too absorbed in his research. Caplan plays an unfamiliar character for her, as we see her cast as party girls and rebellious women, so this character should be a great challenge and way to push her acting abilities to its limit. her character is a strong woman driven by what she wants. Different from the women in those times who knew their place in society. A scene where she retaliates when getting hit by a man says a lot about her personality.

The pilot gave us a look at a few of the themes they may explore during the season. We get a glimpse of racial discrimination, pressures of having a family and the opinions of sex during the 50s. Most of all, I think the main theme will be women. As we hear both main characters explaining how their research will benefit women the most, for medicine and recreation. It’s an exciting time for women as they have just been given the right to vote and now the truth about female sexuality can overshadow society’s preconceptions on the matter.

Great pilot, only negative I think was the music. It felt out of place since it was quite modern but that is just my opinion. I like how Mad Men would stick to their time periods music, it really made you feel like you were there.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Trailer + Discussion)


I recently re-watched all the X-Men films and I couldn’t help but notice that there’s a shiz load of continuity problems. As I moved on to the next movie you find more and more confusing errors that kinda ruin the franchise a bit. For example we see Emma Frost in X-Men: First Class (60’s) and in Wolverine: X-Men Origins (Decades after First Class) which are set at different times yet the character is younger in Wolverine: X-Men Origins. Another confusing error would be how we see Charles Xavier walk during a flashback in X-Men: The Last Stand but then we see him get shot in the spine and him being paralyzed in First Class. Of course a common reasoning behind all these problems is that it happened in the comics where characters would lose and regain abilities or whatever, but I can’t help but think they kinda screwed up a bit too much here.

There’s no doubt that First Class was a pretty awesome film, it raised the bar to a whole new level for X-Men films. So why not just say it was a total reboot of the franchise. Some people might say it is but the opening sequence is from the very first X-Men film so I think it was definitely intended to be connected with the past three films. It’s not a bad idea but they screwed up already in X2 when we see a glimpse of Hank McCoy (AKA Beast) as a human then in The Last Stand he’s back to being a blue furry monster. It’s just confusing, you can’t get away with it in movies like you can in comics because people like to complain for the sake of complaining.

To be honest it’s not a huge problem for me because I quite liked X-Men and X2 and it’s quite easy to just accept that what went down in the previous trilogy has lead to Days of Future Past; which looks amazing from the trailer. I saw The Wolverine once it came out but went in completely unaware that it was also connected with the X-Men story line. So as you can imagine once the after credits scene started playing I literally jizzed in my pants. Like wow, probably the best after credits scene ever.

Anyways the trailer is pretty awesome, it looks like we’re going to see an intensely cynical young Charles Xavier who doesn’t look in the best of shapes. I’m not aware much of the story or comics but I do know Wolverine is going to be sent back in time to help prevent a war which will happen in the near future probably related to Bolivar Trask and the Sentinels (sorry, probably a “no shit” comment to comic book fans). So it’s going to be pretty awesome seeing the past and future Xavier’s and Magneto’s in one film as well as past characters like Storm, Iceman, Rogue, etc. It’s going to be huge in terms of characters since we have even newer mutants joining the cast. What I’m hoping for is an even more intense Wolverine, I totally respect Hugh Jackman’s crazy commitment and love for this character. He hasn’t stopped working to improve this character since the very first X-Men, which is why The Wolverine was so satisfying because we  see some of that savagery we’ve not seen before. Days of Future Past better be a thrilling ride.

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?

Man of Steel (Trailer)


Literally jizzing my pants to see this movie, since the sudden surge of comic book films, I’ve been totally hooked. Literally been researching every characters back stories, seeing if there’s possibilities for films or if they can be in future Avengers films. No wonder comic book crazies are so into this stuff, the speculation is the funnest part of the comic book experience.

Anyways for some reason a lot of people hate Zack Snyder, and I don’t get why, I mean he brought us freaking 300, with the most epic quote ever “This is SPARTA”. One thing he does bring to a film, is heaps of style and along with it comes a unique tone. I’ve seen three of his five films, and the have all been pretty good, 300 is just fuckin’ epic, Dawn of the Dead is one of the best zombie flicks I’ve seen and Suckr Punch was… interesting, not bad, but a bit too unusual for me, but then again it’s a bunch of girls half naked playing with guns, I wasn’t exactly complaining for 1 and a half hours.

So one thing is for sure, and that is we are going to get a scarily dark, gritty and realistic version of Superman. I totally love these type of films, I just love a dark and gritty film when done right, and in this case, it seems fitting, since it is quite a dark origin story, and his superpowers would be a burden in the real world. One thing I am excited about with this trailer is the CGI and effects, they look pretty amazing and I think we’re in for some large scale explosions to go with the drama. Gonna be sick.

End of Watch (2012)

End-of-Watch_05Roze-Rating: 5 / 5

The film follows the journey of two LA police officers to fame. Officers Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Zavala (Michael Pena) are loyal partners who continue to impress their peers and superiors after making high status arrests and rescues. Eventually their motivation and high ambition put them on the radar of a massive drug cartel who aren’t massive fans of their hero antics having prevented them a lot of money. The story doesn’t just explore the gangster culture of LA and the dangers of police officers, but it explores brotherhood, loyalty and the heartache of their loved ones.

End of Watch offers so much, it has action, style, interesting characts, drama, it’s an all round great film that uses the found footage style appropriately. The action is extremely realistic which means it isn’t just relentless gun fights but it captures the heart thumping tension of making an arrest, really showing the unpredictability of thugs. This really aids the intentions of the film, which is to expose the reality of police officer life, which is why you get to also see the boring side of the job; paperwork. The two main characters are awesome, they are extremely likeable and they share a bond that you wont see in many films. The chemistry they share is so real that you root for these characters without thinking about it, and it makes you even more worried about each hostile encounter they face. This is thoroughly due to the great performances by Michael Pena and Jake Gyllenhaal, who keep growing on me, especially Pena who really show’s his full acting abilities. There are also some really enjoyable appearances from Anna Kendrick and America Ferrera, despite smaller roles, put in good performances.

The plot is quite simple, two cops ambition and initiative make them famous in the best and worst of ways. It literally follows them through their high status arrests until they are wanted by a massive drug cartel. I really like the way they went about filming this, using the found footage style as well as normal filming. It really helps make the film that much more realistic and puts you in the shoes of the police officers. Since everyone is familiar with the cops series and cop video’s on youtube where they film themselves from inside the car, everyone can relate and are already aware of what a cop video looks like. It makes the film a lot more gripping and grittier.

Overall awesome film with a lot of emotion, tension and grit. Definitely in the list of the greatest cop films around. You will also see a man with some real talent with the word “fuck” I wonder what his audition was like…