Thursday, September 3, 2015

Lost River

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! How does one lose a river?



Lost River – 2 out of 5

Ryan Gosling seems almost unstoppable in so many aspects of his existence. The dude is a talented actor and his smoldering good looks make it impossible for anyone with a pulse to not fall in love with him. The man is such the definition of perfection that any mildly cynical or jaded individual would find themselves saying, "There has to be some cracks in his armor." Well, if you’re that type and you’re looking for something wrong with the guy you can look no further than his first attempt at writing and directing with Lost River.

"I'm going to go find my own lost river...with blackjack and hookers!"


In a rundown area of Detroit, Billy (Christina Hendricks) is trying to keep her home so there’s a place for her and her sons; Franky and Bones (Iain De Caestecker), but the bank is doing everything it can to take her home away with the rest of the homes in the neighborhood. Billy pleads with a banker (Ben Mendelsohn) to let her keep the home but he offers her another option: A job at a dark and disturbing gentlemen’s club he owns. Meanwhile, Bones is spending his time running from a local thug calling himself Bully (Matt Smith) and getting to know a neighbor girl named Rat (Saoirse Ronan). She lets him know about a nearby town that was flooded after a reservoir was built and, according to her, a beast resides under the waves and if its head was removed, the curse that rests on the underwater city would be removed. After learning about what his mother is doing to keep the house, Bones realizes that this course of action might not only lift the town’s curse but his family’s own.

Streetlights on for safety in the Lost River.


Being a fan of Gosling and a huge Doctor Who fan, I was a little curious about this film when I first heard of it. I was curious to see how Gosling would handle his first film and I was even more curious to see Matt Smith in a role beyond the Doctor. I was a little disappointed on both fronts. Lost River, from the synopsis, sounds like it has enough drama to be intriguing but enough mystery with a dash of fantasy to make it something that will challenge the viewer with its story. However, the entire film feels like it is going nowhere very slowly as it takes its time developing stuff but, at the same time, feels like it never truly develops anything. For example, the underwater city doesn’t come into play for quite awhile and then it barely feels like a benchmark in the activities of the story. Then you have the lackadaisical ways that characters and their development are introduced.  None are really introduced or developed in any solid or compelling way. Short sequences are added and almost act like quick routes to character development and it results in characters that were nearly impossible for me to really care about or even get invested in. For example, Rat and Bones develop a bit of a love angle but the courting segment feels like a quick throwaway scene that is not much longer than a slightly-longer-than-usual .gif. After that point, they are suddenly inseparable and it was at that point I realized I knew more about them as a couple than I did as them as individuals (and all I knew about them was they might or might not be boyfriend/girlfriend). However, it’s not like the characters were very deep to begin with as every character is nearly universally summed up by a single character attribute.
I was a little weirded out hearing the Eleventh Doctor swear.
Acting wise, the performers aren’t doing a terrible job with what the script gives me. Sure, Matt Smith’s American accent isn’t very consistent and you hear his normal accent slip in a lot and Hendricks doesn’t really do much beyond going to different degrees of being upset and De Caestecker spends a lot of time just looking neutral but no one is outright terrible. Ben Mendelsohn definitely stands out as the banker and is probably giving the most memorable performance but that also has to do with the fact that he is a little deeper than the rest of the characters.

His dance sequence is the best part of the film...and no, that's not a joke.
There is literally a dance sequence.


Visually, the film looks great. With the exception of some really poor quality shots that are so muddy that it’s impossible to see what’s going on—

I can't really tell you if what we are looking at is important to the plot and story.

Aside from that, the film looks great and it’s very obvious that Gosling was heavily inspired by the man who directed him in Only God Forgives and Drive; Nicolas Winding Refn (and there’s clearly some David Lynch inspiration going on with the more out-there sequences in the gentlemen's club). However, this inspiration starts to work against the film because I found myself wondering how much is inspiration and how much was just flat-out stealing/borrowing? While the film looks good and there’s a great soundtrack making everything feel unsettling and disturbing, there’s a severe lack of originality and I saw something that appears to be more of a Refn film and found nothing that I can see becoming a trademark of Gosling’s potential future in filmmaking.

Christina Hendricks, how come we don't see you in more things? 
You're talented, dammit.


Lost River is definitely a unique movie when it concerns story but that’s really where the positives stopped for me. The film looks too much like a Refn film, the story takes way, WAY too long to get going (and even then, never felt like it went anywhere), the development of the plot and characters are spotty at best and the characters are flat and results in performances that really aren’t terrible but are not very spectacular either (which is a shame because the cast is filled with talented people). For Gosling’s first attempt at writing and directing a film, Lost River could have been infinitely worse due to inexperience. However, it’s clear that Gosling does have a decent grasp on the technical aspects of filmmaking and, hopefully with time, his writing will improve and we’ll get to see more originality with his visuals and see a truly terrific film from the sickeningly-handsome-to-the-point-I-hate-myself-because-I-can’t-compete man.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Inherent Vice

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! In a sense this film is a stoner comedy but not the type of stoner comedy that stoners find comical...or maybe they do.  I won't pretend to understand stoners. 



Inherent Vice – 4 out of 5


I’ve never actually read anything by Thomas Pynchon but I’ve been friends and acquaintances with individuals who have. They’ve raved about how deep and complex his books get but, despite the fantastic and glowing reviews these people in my life have given me about Pynchon, I’ve never really been interested in his work. Usually, the books I read have the words "star" and "wars" in the title or about a world that is disc-shaped and rests on the backs of four elephants on top of a giant cosmic turtle or they tell the stories of a runaway Time Lord in his TARDIS. So, needless to say, his work might not have been up my geeky alley but when one of his most popular novels called Inherent Vice is adapted by Paul Thomas Anderson and stars the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro and even throws in Eric Roberts, then absolutely I’m going to check it out.

The longer you stare at this the funnier it gets.


Brolin, seen here looking like he's waiting for Story Time.
The film revolves around stoner and private investigator Larry "Doc" Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) suddenly finding himself surrounded by the criminal underworld of 1970s L.A. Originally, he takes on a case to find his missing ex-girlfriend and her current money bags boyfriend but one case ends up leading to a total of three cases that all seem to be connected in some way. And, trust me, it’s a lot more complicated than it sounds and that is me putting this film as simply as I can.


We've all been there, amirite?


Inherent Vice is a terrifically put together film. The editing is tight, the visuals are great, the comedic timing on the gags are superb and the cast is filled with tremendous players and are all doing their jobs beyond excellently but the film does have one HUGE issue that hurts the film badly. That issue is the fact this film is very complicated and extremely hard to follow.

I'm assuming Del Toro is explaining the story to Phoenix.


While on the Nerdist podcast, Owen Wilson admitted he
didn't understand this film...so, I don't feel bad when I
got lost in the story.
As I mentioned, Pynchon’s novels are known for their complexity and director Paul Thomas Anderson did a great job of capturing that (or, at least, I have to assume since I’ve never actually read the source material--to put it another way, he did a great job of just capturing complexity in general). There are a lot of characters with a lot of depth to them and the story is constantly pushing into new territory after many twists, turns and exposition-encrusted dialogue. This doesn’t necessarily make the film bad but it did make it hard to follow during many points because there is so much information thrown at your face and almost relentlessly so. A couple of times I would have to repeat chapters on the DVD because I would miss something but this reality never obliterated my entertainment value I found in it. It just made for a movie that required complete and undivided attention. Heck, blink and you might miss some info that will cause you to get lost.


Only a man with the name Blatnoyd can wear a purple suit...and that's not a bad
thing at all because after looking at that suit, I really want to change my name.


Aside from this, Inherent Vice is a great movie. From a technical standpoint, it’s incredibly put together and is very darkly funny along the way. Joaquin Phoenix does a tremendous job of carrying the movie as the main character Doc but he is surrounded by actors and actresses that can match him beat for beat. It’s a really well constructed film that looks good and is interesting…the only issue was it does get confusing and convoluted at times but it’s not impossible to follow.

The Boy

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Surprisingly, this film isn't a documentary about Homer's hatred of his son Bart.



The Boy – 3 out of 5


Psycho remains one of the greatest horror films I’ve ever seen. The reason it is so amazing is the conflicted and severally isolated character of Norman Bates. The television series prequel/re-imagination Bates Motel does a great job of showing Norman trying to grow up with these unhealthy urges that are within him that later manifest in horrifying and very murderous ways. The Boy definitely has that feel and kinda/sorta comes off as a great homage to the Hitchcock classic…but it will never reach the same level as Psycho.

Points for trying though.


Ted (Jared Breeze) is a young boy living with his father (David Morse) at their motel in the middle of nowhere. Business is bad and Ted has a lot of time on his hands—sadly, that time is spent being infatuated with death as he keeps an eye out from roadkill on the highway in front of the motel. Meanwhile, Ted’s father is a shell of a man as he copes with being alone and running a floundering family business. One night, Ted arranges for a deer to be hit by a car and the occupant of that car (Rainn Wilson) is injured and stays at the motel. Ted befriends the guest and soon learns that the man carries a secret and it’s a secret that will only fuel Ted’s fascination with death.

I wanna see their Yelp! reviews.

From a technical standpoint, The Boy is decently put together. Director Craig William Macneill does a great job of showing the isolation that both Ted and his father are feeling and there’s definitely a sense of dread in the air and that Ted is up to no good and will, at some point, go full serial killer. Additionally, the performances in the film are absolutely dynamite! Both David Morse and Rainn Wilson are amazing but Jared Breeze is definitely unsettling as Ted. 

Kids are already creepy but Breeze knocked his creepiness out of the park.


There are times when he genuinely comes off like a normal kid who had the unfortunate card pulled from the deck that required him to live alone in a dying motel but then there are times when you see the killer in him and it is frighteningly realistic. The performances quickly become the strongest aspect of the film. Combining that with the excellent use of music and overall atmosphere of the film, it allowed this movie to have a higher rating than it probably should have because this movie has one thing that really hurts it: The Boy gets boring.

David Morse is one of those great "Hey, I've seen that guy before" actors.


Despite its overall feeling of dread, the film also comes with an amazing feeling of tedium. For what the story is going for, the running length proves to be too long. This reality is reinforced when you realize that you learn little about the characters during this length of time. Ted may prove to be a little more unhinged at the end but, aside from that, there is little-to-no character growth during an almost two hour running length. This long running length ends up with a plethora of scenes and shots that are, on paper, meant to establish mood, but often end up feeling like filler or that the director was unwilling to make edits that would have made the film flow a little more fluidly. Things aren’t helped at all when it feels like that a lot of plot threads feel like they are dangling in the wind during this. Sometimes these plot threads are re-connected and resolved but sometimes they feel unnecessary. For example, there’s a sequence in the film where we see Ted show off some of his crazy when a family stays at the motel. This portion of the film works because you see how unsettling Ted can be but, at the same time, this part went so long that it gave the feel that it would come back into play—but it never did.

Rainn Wilson, seen here transforming into Nick Offerman.


There was potential and promise to The Boy. The acting is flippin’ fantastic and the story, while very familiar in feel, is prime breeding ground for thrills and chills. Additionally, the film has great use of music and definitely has a working atmosphere that is synonymous with horror and suspense but the film’s plot drags too often and the character development just isn’t there. It has enough working for it to be average and somewhat decent but not enough to make it amazing.

Eulogy

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! This film is classified as a comedy but that's being generous.



Eulogy – 2 out of 5

Thanks to Zoolander, every time I see the word "eulogy" I automatically pronounce it in Derek’s own unique way. That statement really has nothing to do with this film besides the fact that this movie is called Eulogy. Additionally, I couldn’t think of any other way to start this review so I went with that…*cough*

Okay, let’s just get to the synopsis.

I'm a little surprised this film's tagline wasn't "This Family Puts the 'Fun'
in Funeral."  Seems like a waste of a terrible joke.

After the death of Edmund Collins (Rip Torn), his children gather with their now widowed mother (Piper Laurie) in order to come together, grieve, arrange the funeral and get into the usual pettiness that comes with being part of a family. For example, the one sister Lucy (Kelly Preston) brings her girlfriend (Famke Janssen) with and this seems to entice their one brother Skip (Ray Romano) but annoy their sister Alice (Debra Winger). Meanwhile, Kate (Zooey Deschanel) is asked to give the eulogy for her grandfather’s funeral but, along the way on all this mischief, she comes in contact with an old flame (Jesse Bradford). Will this family put aside their squabbling for the sake of the funeral or will it all end in disaster?

You can probably guess why Alice is against Lucy's sexual orientation...it's the
most obvious reason ever.  It's the same reason why so many anti-gay legislators
have found themselves subjects of controversy.


This was one of those obscure comedies I never heard of but found by chance on Netflix because it was recommended to me (Name drop, Netflix.  Pay me, please!). I took a chance on it because there are actors in the film I enjoy; for example, Hank Azaria plays Zooey Deschanel’s father and I love that guy. Additionally, I’m a big fan of movies that center on family troubles. There’s something easily relatable to them because, no matter how well we get along with our siblings and parents, we can all relate to those times where we argue and fight over the smallest, most meaningless shit. In the back of my mind I had hoped this film would result in an experience similar to the one I had with This Is Where I Leave You but the final product was significantly less entertaining.

Kate reunites with an old flame?  Surely this can't mean they'll find their
old spark and get back together.


There was some underlying potential for family-based fun in this film but considering that the writer/director of this film never created a feature before this and never went on to make anything else is very evident in the—I hesitate to call the production "amateurish"…but the lack of experience is very evident in the direction of the actors and their lackluster reactions to nearly everything and the haphazard style the gags that come at you.

Skip and his children are hormone driven characters and it leads to some serious
strange moments when they are very curious about Lucy's lesbian relationship.
That's your sister, Skip and it's your Aunt, boys!


There are some decent performers in the film like Ray Romano, Famke Janssen, Zooey Deschanel, Debra Winger, Rip Torn and Hank Azaria.  With the right script and right director guiding them, these actors can really make some amazing scenes to watch but this just isn’t seen in the film. Most of the actors look like they just don’t care and did this film either because they were violently coerced, were contractually obligated or because they were bored. 

The presence of a flip phone lets you know this film is a decade old.


Their very evident lack of enthusiasm could be due to having characters that are poorly written to the point that being bland would have been more interesting and the fact that nearly every gag and joke in the film is just flat and unfunny. Yes, comedy is subjective but there was just no punch to the gags and, often, they just got weird. For example, there’s a moment when the mother played by Piper Laurie decides to jump out of a moving vehicle and it ends with a special effects sequence that was too creepy to be funny. Just look at it.

That thing hovering over the bridge is suppose to be Piper Laurie's character after
she jumped out of the moving car but the final product looks way more terrifying.
Like some sort of demon-beast ready to bounce on Zooey Deschanel and Jesse Bradford.


Most of the appeal that comes from films about family troubles comes from the fact that any member of the audience can see things that remind them of their family but I found nothing relatable in this film. While the actual arguments and disagreements may be slightly reminiscent of my family, matters aren’t helped by the fact that none of the characters in the film actually felt like real people with any depth to them. Eulogy might have actually worked if the script didn’t feel like an outline of something that will be worked on later but the final product felt very incomplete. The only real saving grace the film had was the fact it had actors I enjoyed but, beyond that, the film was a flat, boring, bland and an utterly laugh-less ride.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Dead Rising: Watchtower

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! This shouldn't be confused with the zombie washing tutorial video Dead Rinsing.



Dead Rising: Watchtower – 3 out of 5


I absolutely love the second game in the Dead Rising franchise. The first one works as a concept for me but clunky controls and piss-poor hit detection made me loath the game.  I pretty much invented new swear words after I would get hit by things that were nowhere near me.  However, the second game really hit all the right notes for me and I ended up playing through the story about 4 or 5 times. I just couldn’t get enough of it. So, when I saw Crackle was going to have an adaptation that takes place after the second game but before the third that came out for the latest next gen systems, I was cautiously optimistic. It looked like it had the spirit of the games but I also had to remember that video game adaptations are, almost by definition right now thanks to guys like Uwe Boll, just absolutely horrendous and barely resemble the source material. That being said, Dead Rising: Watchtower isn’t as bad as it probably had the real danger of ending up as.

Dude, don't be so dramatic, you're just being chased by the undead.


Of course there is a clown zombie...or is it zombie
clown?
In Oregon, the Federal Emergency Zombie Authority (FEZA) is attempting to quarantine an outbreak of zombies. Online reporter Chase (Jesse Metcalfe) and his camerawoman Jordan (Keegan Connor Tracy) are reporting on the events—that appear to be going normally—but when Chase enters a medical tent and sees that the anti-viral drug Zombrex isn’t keeping the virus at bay in those who are infected but haven’t turned suddenly fail and the once controlled outbreak goes completely off the rails, he now must fight and use everything at his disposal as a weapon to survive. Behind the walls of the outbreak, Chase meets up with a mysterious woman with a nasty secret named Crystal (Meghan Ory), a grieving mother named Maggie (Virginia Madsen) and some dastardly bikers who will stop at nothing to kill anyone—living or dead—that get in their way. Meanwhile, outside the wall, Jordan starts to learn that there is much more to this outbreak than what is being let on and the Army might have some involvement…

The Army's motive?  To see everyone get Allstate.

For the most part, Dead Rising: Watchtower isn’t too bad of a film. It starts promising enough and has a little bit of fun with itself. Heck, the strongest thing this film has going for it is the fact that the film really feels like a lot of it was lifted from the games directly as it is constantly throwing in nods and winks and references. One of my favorite aspects was how the film would cut to a news report that was following the events and they had a guest in the form of Frank West, star of the first game and played by the always funny Rob Riggle (even though I always thought West looked more he would be played by Michael Madsen because the character looked so much like him—but since they already got one Madsen it would have been silly to go for another. The Madsens aren’t Pok√©mon!). Riggle really was having some fun with the character and these sequences were a nice break from any potential zombie overload and it kept the film from getting too serious…for the most part, I should say.

I'd watch a whole movie that's all about Rob Riggle as Frank West.

One of the aspects that hurts the overall film, beyond its very low budget and a run time that felt a little too low (maybe Crackle's constant commercial breaks too, but they gots to pay the bills somehow, so I won't complain), was the fact that the longer the film went and the deeper it went into its story the more serious the film took itself. Now, granted, Dead Rising: Watchtower couldn’t be a straight dark comedy and it couldn’t be a straight action-horror feature either because it just wouldn't work as one or the other, it had to be a mix. The film needed a little bit of drama and the story needed some conflict and a bit of insidious behavior from some of the antagonists for the film to work. The games, in my opinion, did a great job of having both the silliness and the serious but movies don’t always work the same. A game can suddenly stop the fun and throw in drama and can make it work because you are invested at a deeper level due to the amount of time spent on playing—movies don’t have that luxury and have to go other routes. 

Hey Meghan Ory, why did you suddenly disappear from Once Upon a Time?
And speaking about Once Upon a Time, the Blue Fairy is also in this movie.
Yes, I watch OUaT.
In case you are wondering, yes, the characters are
vividly and dynamically written...and yes, I'm
being sarcastic.
This feature couldn’t quite get the balance right and the film started to get away from its self-referencing and more lighthearted feel for something a little too dramatic. There was a chance it could have worked but when you’re still cutting back to Frank West cracking wise, a production value that is hard to take seriously at any point (the CG blood was particularly bad and the make-up effects weren’t that memorable) and some of the performances being a little too hammy, the film just couldn’t find that balance and the tone shift comes in very harsh and very noticeably. This also has a secondary adverse effect as it made the film start to feel like it was dragging.

You combined a sword with a shovel?!?  You ruined two perfectly good zombie
killing weapons and made one worthless and unwieldy weapon.

Dead Rising: Watchtower is serviceable and decently entertaining but it does come off like a generic low-budget zombie film in a gigantic sea overflowing with generic low-budget zombie films. It gets to stand out slightly due to the fact it is based on a popular video game (and is actually one of the better adaptations of a game in the last 15 years) and for Rob Riggle’s performance but the rest of it kinda flounders in its cheesy passibleness (which it totes a word). The film is never outright awful and I admittedly found it pretty fun at times but the film spent too much of its time making its nods and winks to the game and taking itself too seriously at the end and not enough time to make itself stand out. Weak acting and low production value can be overlooked if there’s something to look at. I know that sounds harsh and it makes it sound like I hated the film but, in the end, I found it average and decently entertaining.

There's always one zombie dressed like this.  Her mother warned her about possibly
being bit while going out dressed like that.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Theory of Everything

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I don't know the theory to it but I know the answer to everything...42.




The Theory of Everything – 4 out of 5


Is it fair to call Stephen Hawking a badass?  The dude is a genius and has posed theories about the creation of our universe that is beyond my ability to fully comprehend.  Not to mention that Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or motor neuron disease (also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease), a degenerative disease that leaves the body paralyzed.  He was diagnosed back when he was 21 in 1963 and was told he would only have two years to live.  50 plus years later he’s still here and he’s still proving to be smarter than all of us.  I respect the guy and try as best as I can to understand the science and theoretical work he’s throwing down.  I guess that’s why I was very interested in The Theory of Everything.

To answer my original question:  Yes, he is a badass!


The film focuses on the relationship between Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones).  While attending Cambridge University in 1963, Hawking began to theorize that the creation of the universe stemmed from black holes.  During this time, he courted Jane and suddenly found his body rebelling against him and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Even though he closed himself off to the world to work on his theory, Jane persisted and eventually the two married and started a family.  Predictably, the disease took its toll on him and he began to lose more and more of his body’s function and the struggle of being both his wife and his caretaker begins to take as much of a toll on Jane’s strength as it does on Stephen’s morale.

And there's some laughs along the way.


Just watching the trailer and I knew this was going to be a giant tear-jerker…and boy was it!  However, my weak and teary eyes aside, the film is really an incredible bio-pic.  A lot of bio-pics will focus on the relationships that define the subject’s life but they also focus heavily on what made them memorable to begin with.  The Theory of Everything flips the script slightly and makes the film less about Hawking’s intelligence and his work as a theoretical physicist and it focuses more on the relationship between him and Jane and the toll his disease takes on them.  It made for a much deeper bio-pic that was filled with heartache and drama but beauty and smiles, as well.  Seeing what those two went through and the bond they shared even after they agreed to divorce (that’s not a spoiler because it’s just a part of their history) was incredibly inspirational.  Hell, just seeing how the disease never destroyed Stephen’s outlook on life and how it never ended his work makes me want to never give up on anything no matter how hard things get.

And there we go...the tears are starting to well up.


The visuals this film delivers are also quite breathtaking and really made for a gorgeous film.  Director James Marsh created some amazing sequences in this film that really provided some enormous emotional impact.  Frequently during the film, casual events in the Hawking family are shown through montages and the shots collected in them are practically works of art that can be framed and hung in museums.  

Pretty much every shot in this film is incredible.


With its amazing story and wonderful work from the director, the film is made even more memorable thanks to the performances of its entire cast.  Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne are absolutely fantastic as Jane and Stephen Hawking.  The inner turmoil that Jane is going through and the evolution of her relationship with her husband can be seen in not just how Jones delivers her lines but through every single motion her body does.   

The toll it took was so excellently performed that it made the movie feel very real.
Hawking has completed more in his life with a single theory
than most of us have done our entire lives.  That reality
is more motivational than a "Hang In There" cat poster.
Redmayne was so unbelievable as Stephen that you could almost believe that he was a younger Stephen Hawking and the progression the disease takes on him is played our frighteningly realistic by him.  These two are backed up by an absolutely terrific cast where there isn’t a single player not giving their all.  Everyone from Harry Lloyd as a friend of Stephen to David Thewlis as his professor to Charlie Cox as the man who Jane would eventually marry after her divorce to Stephen to Maxine Peake as the woman that would later marry Stephen.  The entire cast is all exceptional and they all really brought the entire story to life extraordinarily.

Jane would go on to marry Daredevil it seems.



The only downside that exists in The Theory of Everything is that there isn’t much of a replay value going for it.  There’s no doubt I will watch the film again because it is so emotional, dramatic and beautiful but it’s probably not going to be in the near future.  However, this isn’t really a downfall of the film because it really is an amazing feature that made me smile and cry quite a bit—it’s really hard not to, honestly.

Dammit, here come the waterworks again.