Sunday, 28 May 2017

Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Genres

Adventure, Animation, Comedy

Director

Rich Moore

Country

USA

Voice Cast

John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Mindy Kaling, Joe Lo Truglio, Ed O'Neill, Dennis Haysbert, Adam Carolla, Horatio Sanz, Rich Moore

Storyline

Tired of being the guy everyone hates, video game villain Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) sets out to fulfil his dream to become a hero. But it's not that simple and his quest brings havoc to the whole arcade world. 

Opinion

A dumb movie. That's what I thought Wreck-It Ralph was going to be and that's why I never bothered watching it. But then I read the storyline, which I never do, and it did intrigue me a bit so I gave it a chance. And it was a pretty good surprise.

Although pretty simple and quite predictable, the story is engaging and very enjoyable from start to finish and it does have a few surprising twists and turns that makes it a little bit more interesting. What's really interesting about the film though it's the lesson it teaches. Unlike I thought, it does not show how a villain can become a good guy, but it shows that's the most important thing is being yourself and starting to appreciate you for who you are. Then, and only then, people will respect you. 

It also delivers a beautiful message of friendship with the beautiful relationship between Ralph and Vanellope, a cute and adorable character who is an outcast, just like Ralph. And it did really surprise me how mature she sounded at times. And how developed the characters were overall. And the video game fans will love spotting the characters and references. And the voice cast is also quite impressive.

At last but not least, Wreck-It Ralph is also beautifully animated which does not come as a surprise since it's from the Walt Disney Studios. The animation is indeed amazing, filled with cute and colourful characters and very detailed background. 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

Genres

Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Directors

Joachim Rønning, Espen Sandberg

Country

USA

Cast

Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Golshifteh Farahani, Stephen Graham, David Wenham, Martin Klebba, Keira Knightley, Angus Barnett, Giles New, Adam Brown, Danny Kirrane, Delroy Atkinson, Paul McCartney

Storyline

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea.

Opinion

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise started declining in quality since the very beginning with the first sequel and kept on doing just that with the following movies. In spite of that, I still decided to spend my Friday night and money on Dead Men Tell No Tales. Not that the trailer looked particularly appealing to me, I just was excited to see Javier Bardem playing a pirate, some sort of zombie-like, evil pirate - and by the way, he's not even a pirate. Anyway, he was great. The rest of the film? Well, I'm not so sure about it.

The worst thing about this film is its inability to amaze with new things. It's basically the same, old Pirates of the Caribbean movies, with a silly and tremendously predictable plot that bores so much chances are you'll end up like Salazar, a dead man. It is plenty of pointless subplots. Not to mention the plot twists with the old Barbossa. The guy does the same thing in all the movies, he joins one side and then he leaves the sinking ship.

In addition, there's the lack of emotions and that's probably because of the characters. The new characters, specifically Harry Turner, Will Turner's son, and Carina Smith, an astronomer accused of being a witch. They are beyond annoying and they lack that characterization that should get you to know them, and, I'm not saying like them, but at least having a reason to root for them.

The villain doesn't get any better than that. Although Javier Barmer is fantastic as Salazar - he's clearly having a good time - and makes you almost root for him, the character is pretty weak. Also, his backstory feels rushed. Still, his performance (easily) stands out and his scenes are never boring.

That said, Dead Men Tell No Tales still manages to be quite entertaining. In spite of the lame jokes that fall flat most of the time - I have to admit though that some people were laughing a lot -, and the action, good action but not spectacular as I was used to with the franchise, this fifth instalment - and I'm afraid not the final one - manages to entertain.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Genres

Fantasy, Musical, Romance

Director

Bill Condon

Countries

USA, UK

Cast

Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Ian McKellen, Emma Thompson, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Nathan Mack, Hattie Morahan, Adrian Schiller, Gerard Horan, Haydn Gwynne, Michael Jibson, Ray Fearon, Sophie Reid, Rafaelle Cohen, Carla Nella, Jimmy Johnston, Dean Street, Alexis Loizon

Storyline

As punishment for his actions, a young prince (Dan Stevens) is transformed into a monstrous beast by a mysterious enchantress (Hattie Morahan), and the curse will be lifted only if he learns to love someone and earn their love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle (Emma Watson). 

Opinion

I've never been that big of a fan of Beauty and the Beast. I think I've seen the original Disney movie only once. That said, I was quite excited for this live-action version because the trailer looked amazing. I'm not quite sure Condon's film was able to live up to my expectations though.

Sure, visually it's very beautiful - CGI is great, so are the sets and costumes, although the Beast isn't very scary - but it lacks something, magic. That magic that should be able to make you feel like you're living the fairytale. A magic I was able to sense in the trailer only. This live-action is indeed dull and emotionless.

The storytelling is all over the place. Like I said above I was not very familiar with the story, and after watching this film, I'm still not. Some parts are dragged, some parts are incredibly rushed and they make the story unengaging and quite unappealing. It's even hard to understand how Belle falls in love with the Beast. It almost looks like the only reason is that he has a big library.

The characters are one-dimensional and underdeveloped but worst of all, they lack emotion and it's almost impossible to feel something for them. Except for Gaston. I think they got the character pretty right because, despite Luke Evan's face, I ended up hating him towards the end of the film. And I'm not even sure how to feel about Lefou. His homosexually is offensively used for comic relief only.

All of that being said, Beauty and the Beast still manages to be a decent musical. A bit entertaining and fun, the numbers and songs are probably the only enchanting thing about the film and they are properly delivered by the cast.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Thursday Movie Picks: Television Edition: Time Travel


Hello and welcome back to Thursday Movie Picks, the weekly series hosted by Wandering Through the Shelves where you share three movies to fit the theme of the week each Thursday.

It's time for another television week. A quite tough one, if I may add. I probably watch too many TV shows but time travel isn't really my thing. I still was able to pick three though. 

11.22.63 (2016)

Based on Stephen King's novel, it follows a high school teacher as he travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President Kennedy. If I have to be honest I didn't care much for the storyline, I only watched it because there's James Franco but I've found myself incredibly hooked on it. Too bad there were only 8 episodes.


Heroes (2006-2010)

People around the US starts to realise they have special abilities. That wouldn't be anything wrong with that if it wasn't for a pshyco that goes around killing these people to gain all the super powers. This isn't really about time travelling, but one of the characters, Hero, can play with time, like he can go back in time. He can also stop time. And cool stuff like that. I've seen only the first two seasons though, I quit after a few episodes of the third. It just wasn't good anymore. 

Legends of Tomorrow (2016- )

A time master goes back in time and assembles a team of heroes and villains to stop a threat that not only is threatening the Earth but the timeline as well. Hands down on the best DC Comics series around these days. Everything is terrible just like the other series, but this one is so fun I can't help but love it. 

A Man and a Woman (1966)

Original Title

Un homme et une femme

Genre

Drama, Romance

Director

Claude Lelouch

Country

France

Cast

Anouk Aimée, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Pierre Barouh, Valérie Lagrange, Antoine Sire, Souad Amidou, Henri Chemin, Yane Barry, Paul Le Person, Simone Paris, Gerard Sire, Gérard Larrousse, Clive Roberts

Storyline

The paths of widower Jean-Louis (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and widow Anne (Anouk Aimée) cross when they meet by accident at their children's boarding school. They soon form a friendship that is destined to become a romance haunted by their past tragedies. 

Opinion

I don't like romances and yet there is something about French cinema that just makes me love them. A Man and a Woman is another of those movies. 

A tender, beautiful and charming romantic movie that reminded me a lot of Richard Linklater's movies, specifically the Before trilogy, because it is entirely driven by the dialogue of two characters that are getting to know each other. A dialogue that is both meaningless and meaningful, shallow and deep. This is the reason why A Man and a Woman is so interesting.

Then there is the plot. Or there isn't the plot since it's very simple, very ordinary, it doesn't have any surprise, any suspense. It isn't the typical romance filled with drama or conflict. It is just two people falling in love. There aren't even any real obstacles to their love, but their past dramas. And yet, it manages to be engaging.

And that's on the characters. Beautifully written and developed, the leading characters feel real and very relatable, and yet there's something about them, maybe it's their beauty, that makes them not entirely belivable or real. The great perfomances from Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignat also helped making the characters more intersting as they both portay their characters with tenderness and simplicity and often they don't even need to speak, their glances, facial espressions and body movements are more than enough to express their feelings.

A Man and a Woman also features an outstanding photography that alternates from black-and-white to colour, and a great sentimental score that fits the film to perfection and brings all together.