Monday, October 27, 2014

+1

***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, 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! + 1 what?  Damage?  Healing?  What?!?








+1 – 3 out of 5

Whenever I see “plus one” on an invitation to a wedding or birthday party or funeral (I get a lot of those…and they’re usually for my own, which is weird), I always have a small panic attack because I start to wonder who should be my plus one.  I mean I know it should be my girlfriend but James down the street has a go-kart and Sara two blocks over once saw a blimp—and then there’s that guy I always see at Walmart who has one arm.  The point I’m making is that these people are clearly interesting and I would like to take them to a party.  The additional point I’m making is I'm killing time and coming up with a bullshit opening paragraph that kinda/sorta has something to do with the title/story.  I’ll be honest, of course my girlfriend will always be my plus one—she’ll hurt me if she’s not.

We've all been there, amirite?  Please tell me that I'm not the only one who has their
reflection move on its own...
 

David is clearly a shitty friend since he let Teddy
arrive at the party in those pants.
David (Rhys Wakefield) made a little bit of a boo-boo.  When visiting his girlfriend Jill (Ashley Hinshaw), he stupidly kissed another girl and now he’s desperate to get her back--his girlfriend Jill, not the girl he kissed.  He hears she (Jill, not the girl he kissed, get that girl out of your head) is going to be at the ultimate of ultimate house parties and he decides to take his friend Teddy (Logan Miller) to it in order to win her back.  However, after a mysterious comet crash lands nearby, things start to go a little crazy (it's not one of those good comets that are filled with candy and cash).  After a blackout, David, Teddy, their friend Allison (Colleen Dengel), and a girl Teddy hooked up with named Melanie (Natalie Hall) suddenly find that there is a duplicate of everyone at the party and they are reliving all the events they went through.  Now it’s a matter of survival as they must warn the other party-goers before the duplicates catch up in time with the originals.

"How dare we be the same person through supernatural circumstances!"
 

+1 is great in concept form but the execution had numerous flaws for me.  The biggest being the plot and acting.  While the story is interesting and is capable of being pretty twisted, mind-fuckable, and thought-provoking, the actual way the story ends up playing out is a little weak.  Especially when it concerns one of the film’s biggest conflicts:  David’s relationship with Jill.  The very beginning of the film sees David kissing another woman and this, naturally, pisses off Jill and their relationship status on Facebook is changed quicker than the underpants of someone who lives off entirely of Chipotle and decides to one day risk a fart that doesn’t feel entirely like a fart.  Jill’s character has every right to be pissed about this kiss—hell, I’d be pissed if go-kart James had someone else riding his go-kart…or if my girlfriend kissed another dude—however, the problem with this dynamic becomes two-fold.

I'm pretty sure that Rhys Wakefield is actually the Joker.
 

I'm pretty sure she can't even.
Number One) Jill’s continuing reaction over the kiss as the film’s story progresses gets sillier and sillier.  It gets to the point it feels like she is an uptight Christian girl who equals a kiss (with no tongue, mind you) to be the same thing as straight up humping.  Her attitude starts to become very grating and her character quickly becomes less and less sympathetic as the film progressed and I found myself just yelling at the TV, “Jesus Christ, it was one little fucking kiss.  Let it go, you drama queen.  Your eye-rolls and never ending crossing your arms and scoffing are making you look like a turd of a human being.”  While not a huge deal, it just started to become annoying, started to really harm her character, and started to take me out of the story.

Roses are, apparently, hilarious!
 

Number Two) the actual kiss made no gawd damn sense.  Basically what happens is David thinks he was flirting with Jill as she was at the water fountain but it was another girl who was wearing the same uniform Jill was.  This other girl then proceeds to kiss David and he makes no attempts to stop her or point out that no human being in all of existence reacts this way in a misunderstanding.  It’s a very unnatural way to start the film and a very lazy way to create conflict—especially when you consider that could have been saved by making this other girl an ex or someone who had feelings for David or just wanted to ruin Jill’s love life.  The last option could have easily been the best answer because the girl was Jill’s opponent in a fencing tournament in the film but, instead, it’s just this awkward plot device meant to give conflict to this relationship we were just introduced to.  It felt so out-of-place and that is bad considering it’s one of the main elements of the story and the very opening of the film.  It almost sets the standard for the rest of the film and the quality of the writing.

 
It's like she's kissing the Joker.
 

Of course, this isn’t the only part of the story that falls flat…

There is murder in Allison's eyes...
 
There is the real possibility that the story had too many characters to keep track of—shit, it did take place at a house party (and I won’t even get into the ridiculous nature of the party itself because it was pretty ridiculous—even by movie house party standards). 
Just like every house party I've ever been to.
While many of the party goers have some small part to play here and there and they are given enough characteristics to stand out—like one dude has half his head shaved, another is passed out the entire time, and a few are women and known just for being naked or near naked (the film can be a little misogynistic)—these characters aren’t the main players, so having a single characteristic define them and having them only show up for special scenes isn't that surprising.  The reality is the story is focusing only on five of the characters:  David, Teddy, Jill, Melanie, and Allison.  Even then, these five are separated into pairs—for example, David and Jill, Teddy and Melanie, and Allison will have her duplicate (but I won’t get into that because of the dreaded Spoilers and the fact this film decides to dive into a pool of questions that only the bravest of people will ask when they find themselves meeting themselves).

Come on, we all know we would try this if we met our duplicates.
Don't act like you wouldn't.
 

The problem that arises from this is the story lacks balance in telling the individuals troubles they are having with this duplicate phenomenon.  While there is no doubt that David trying to get back with Jill is the number one element the story wants to focus on, the story will create drama for Teddy, Melanie, and Allison but won’t focus on them for large amounts of time to the point it feels like they are just forgotten about—and this complaint becomes double when you remember that there’s not just Teddy, Melanie, and Allison to remember but their doubles as well.  So, this ultimately made the film feel very sloppy and like we were seeing the first draft of the script being adapted and not later, more developed drafts.

One thing the film did well?  That shirt!
 
I know it sounds like I hated the movie but that’s not the case.  The film has its problems and it’s nowhere near perfect but it’s an interesting film.  Sure, the acting is barely passable and a lot of the face replacement special effects that were used to create the doubles is pretty obvious and not the greatest but, even with this and all the other problems, the film is still an interesting experiment and a novel story idea.  Perhaps, with a little more development, a cast with a little more experience under their collective belts, and a slightly larger budget, +1 could have been much better.  However, as it stands, it’s not a bad movie.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive

***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, 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! And the lovers shall inherit the Earth.




Only Lovers Left Alive – 3 out of 5

I’ve never really been a fan of vampires.  Sure, the old school Universal Bela Lugosi film is a classic and I do love seeing Wesley Snipes as Blade make short work of those blood suckers but, for the most part, I’ve just never cared about vampires.  Maybe it’s because they remind me of the basket case emos I dealt with in high school or maybe it’s because there so much gawd damn staring from the undead monsters or maybe it’s because they now have an adaptation of their kin where they sparkle—I dunno, but they’ve always been my least favorite monster of the night.  Give me zombies, werewolves—hell, give me Tea Party conservatives (actually, those fuckers are scarier than all supernatural beasts combined)—but vampires have never really been all that interesting to me.  Maybe Only Lovers Left Alive can change that.
"Argh!  A vampire!  Oh wait...we're vampires."
 
Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swindon) are a vampire husband and wife couple that have been in unholy matrimony for many centuries.  Currently they are spending time worlds apart with Adam in Detroit working on his music and Eve in Tangier.  Realizing that Adam is starting to feel down about the world and tiring of the norms (which he calls “zombies”), Eve hops on a plane to spend time with him.  Sadly, their obscure but comfortable lives are thrown in a loop when Eve’s sister Ava (Mia Wasikowska) visits and ends up draining and killing one of the closest things Adam has to a friend with the humans.
Who would have thought she would have been any sort of trouble?
 

It looks like a large collection of books but they're all just
copies of Everybody Poops.
I heard a lot of good things about Only Lovers Left Alive and the trailer definitely made it look like a sorta haunting but somewhat emotional tale about two vampires that have been together for a very long time.  Going into it, I knew it wasn’t going to be an exciting tale or something filled with a lot of flash and sizzle.  I expected it to be slow moving.  Hell, the emo look of Adam and Eve automatically told me the film wasn’t going to have a very complex story and, since this is vampires we’re talking about, there was going to probably be a lot of standing around, a bunch of staring (vampires love that shit), and laying around in weird poses…and it did all that.

Man, being a vampire looks boring...
I write this as I lay in bed watching old reruns of Sliders.


Gawd damn, Hiddleston...do you even realize how
dreamy you are?  It's almost at impossible levels.
Even though I kinda expected this movie wasn’t going to have a very deep story that was ultra-engaging and knew that a lot of it would be mini-musical montages with little dialogue, I was still surprised by how little really happens in this film.  I’m not complaining because the story is simplistic, I’m complaining more over the fact the story just didn’t feel complete or even that fulfilling.  I understand the concept was suppose to have Ava come into Eve and Adam’s happy little lives and throw them into a loop because she has no impulse control but after Ava comes in and makes her mess, she is never seen again and never did I get the feeling that Adam and Eve couldn’t have recovered from what happened to them and then immediately go back to how their lives were.  There was no real threat imposed by Ava’s actions and it really ended up making the film feel incomplete.  And of course, the remnants of the story move very slowly and makes the movie feel like the entire film is just entries in the diaries of Adam and Eve with no real feeling of an overall connectivity.
 
Let's not fuck around here, John Hurt is the real reason I watched this one...
too bad his part wasn't bigger.
 

I like the look Anton Yelchin is sporting in this film...
he looks like he should be in an Allman Brothers
cover band.
In all honesty, that’s my only real complaint about the film—the fact it doesn’t really feel like a flowing story or like it has a real direction it is going in.  The film is shot beautifully and the acting is great.  Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton have great chemistry together that it becomes frighteningly easy to believe that they are not only a non-traditional married couple but vampires as well.  However, it doesn’t change the fact the film’s story did little to really get me invested in the lives of these two vamps and did practically nothing to convince me that they can never go back to their comfort levels again.
"Take it easy, my love...think about all the horrible variations of vampires that we
could have been written as..."
 
I’m not saying I thought that Only Lovers Left Alive was boring or a bad movie.  While it’s filmed beautifully, has haunting and hypnotic music, and the actors are all very impressive, the film just wasn’t that interesting for me and I just couldn’t get into the story.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sex Tape

***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, 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! The comedy that Apple fanboys won't admit isn't funny.





Sex Tape – 2 out of 5

Boy, sex tapes have become such a staple of society that we are now having hack comedies made about them!  Kids nowadays have no idea what it was like to steal your father’s porn collection in order to see videographic evidence of two people (or three or more) getting their fuck on.  Why would they?  Now they can just look them up online or just film their own, for crying out loud…and if you’re famous, you can have it leaked in order to be more famous (in the case of Paris Hilton, I use the word “famous” very liberally).
The face you make when you find out that Fred Durst and Screech both released sex tapes.
 

When going to college, Annie (Cameron Diaz) and Jay (Jason Segel) were all about carnal knowledge.  They had sex all the time.  However, as they got older and marriage and children arrived in the picture, sexy time became less and less frequent.  One day, when Annie got the good news that a company is looking to purchase her blog (that happens?!?), she decides to celebrate sexually with Jay.  The kids are with the grandparents and they have the house to themselves.  Sadly, the spark appears to be gone…until Annie suggests they make a sex tape.  With vigor and raging hormones, the two get down to the nasty.  When the love explosion is done and reached its climax, Annie makes a simple request to have the tape deleted…the only problem is that Jay accidentally synched it to the cloud and is now on the iPads of numerous friends, family, and the potential buyer of Annie’s blog (seriously, companies buy blogs?!?).  Now, it’s up to them and a shenanigans-filled adventure to collect the iPads back and erase all existence of their wild sexcapades.
Do people really have sex under the covers?
 

The trailer for this film didn’t do a very good job at hiding the fact this film was a by-the-numbers slapstick-esque wannabe vulgar comedy.  There’s really nothing original going on with Sex Tape.  Whether it be the truly awful jokes about modern technology or the recycled “man dealing with guard dog” bit that was seemingly lifted from another Cameron Diaz film or the fact that with all the bad tech gags, the film really is just a giant add for Apple products—all of this just adds up to an hour and a half act that felt like it was daring me to turn off the DVD.
A child's birthday party...an almost required locale in any adult comedy.
 
Remember when Rob Lowe had a sex tape in the 80s?
Comedy is subjective—I get that.  In fact, all forms of entertainment are.  I’m not trying to say that Sex Tape isn’t funny as a fact, I’m just saying I didn’t find it funny in the least.  Actually, that is somewhat inaccurate.  While I spent most of the film in utter silence as I watch gag after gag fall flat for me, I did find myself chuckling at the antics of a coke-fueled scene involving Rob Lowe.  It was a viciously short sequence but it was one that I found genuinely hilarious and was floating in a sea of mediocre and overly familiar jokes and gags.

Okay...Jack Black's cameo was funny, too.


One of the things that didn’t make this comedy work—even on an average level—was the fact that Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz had no chemistry as a couple and, when alone, looked out of place.  I like Jason Segel but he looked like he was only giving a small percentage of effort with his character—and he helped write the damn screenplay, so what does that say?  While some moments he appears to be giving his all to the film, there were way too many sequences that looked like he just didn’t give a shit and it ends up fouling up a lot of jokes and makes his character look very disinterested in most of the activities going on around him.  Kinda hard to invest in a comedy when one of your leads looks bored with the product.
This was the most interested I could find from Segel in this one.
 

On the flip side, I’ve never been a fan of Cameron Diaz.  That was already a hurdle I was going to have to jump over with this film.  Aside from the fact that her eyes scare me and make her look dead, soulless, and demon-like (seriously, those are some hollow eyes she has), I’ve never found her to be that convincing of an actress or someone with great comedic timing—which is strange since she is in so many comedies.  As usual, I didn’t see her really successfully executing any of the humor in the film and the failures are only compounded by the fact that the production is trying really hard to make her character look vulgar by having her curse like a sailor but Diaz just doesn’t look convincing doing it.  Every time she dropped a fuck-bomb, it looks uncomfortably unconvincing.  She looked like she wasn’t being the character I thought her character was suppose to be and written as but ended up looking more like Diaz was inserting something into the character that she thought would make the character look cooler—but, in turn, just made the character look fake.
She looks dead inside while posting on her blog...so, in that case, she really
nailed that defining element of her character.

Just like how the production really wants Cameron Diaz’s character to be a somewhat vulgar individual (they really overdo pushing this as they have her say the word “erection” at least a dozen times in the opening sequence), the entire story in general wants you to believe that the film is a vulgar affair…too bad it won’t actually have the guts to go through with it.  Sure, it throws in a few swears here and there and we have to some nudity but, in the end, it’s not masking that the film is a mock-vulgar comedy.  It's like Diet Vulgar.  It's pretending to be vulgar but lacks all the calories and taste of actual vulgarity.  In reality, the film is just a slapstick affair that looks like it took all its jokes and sequences from other, better films.
I love Rob Corddry but he attaches himself to some really generic comedies a lot.
 
Even the premise itself doesn’t feel like it belongs and is pretty unconvincing.  In fact, the premise feels very forced.  The entire idea of making a sex tape sorta comes out of nowhere—sure, Annie and Jay are talking about how they used to watch porn together and there’s a really half-assed bit about how porn’s stories aren't as good as they used to be but the idea for making the sex tape comes literally out of nowhere when Annie walks into the kitchen holding an iPad and just says, “Hey, let’s film ourselves.”  She should've just said, “Well, let’s get this obvious bit of conflict and whole point to this film underway.”
Nat Faxon shows up in the movie for a short and completely pointless scene...
I kid you not, the only reason his scene existed was for some dick pic jokes.

However, all of this is moot because the film ends up feeling more like a hour and a half long commercial for Apple products hidden within a shitty, wannabe vulgar comedy.  Seriously, drink every time they say the word “iPad” and fill yourself with anger and self-loathing as you pretend that Apple received dump truck loads of money every time it is said.
"Boy, honey, I tell you these iPads sure take great video.  Those guys at Apple
really know how to create a quality product with these iPads.  iPads, iPads, iPads..."
 

Sex Tape, in the end, is just a creative black hole of emptiness and cliché comedy bits.  It gets even worse when they try to tack on a sappy moral to the film and all this really does is point a flashing neon sign towards the fact I wasted my time with this one.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Transcendence

***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, 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! The title itself just oozes with a superiority complex.







Transcendence – 2 out of 5


It’s an unspoken rule that trailers for films can and will lie to us.  Trailers are marketing, simple as that.  They are no different than the beer commercials that promise us that bikini-clad and incredibly fun women will show up the moment we crack open the bottle/can or we’ll be totes sexy if we walk around in a sheer, completely open satin robe while wearing Victoria’s Secret underwear or that Papa John’s pizza is somehow “good” or “digestible.”  And just like the shock we learn that beer will only help us in making embarrassing decisions, that without the body of a model that underwear won’t make us look like we could stop traffic, or find out that Papa John’s taste like a pizza from another chain vomited up and they just cooked said vomit, sometimes movie trailers will make a film look like something it’s not.  It’s a risk that comes with being a consumer.  In the case of Transcendence, the film looked like an action packed thriller about a computer A.I. gone mad and ready to rain death on the world of squishy and easily killable humans but the end result was…well…it’s wasn’t that at all.

She's crying because the computer that is her husband keeps showing
her cute cat videos...and their sex tape....together.
 
Will Caster (Johnny Depp) has become a rockstar in the world of artificial intelligence research.  While his work is appreciated by his colleges (and obsessed fans asking for autographs, for some reason), there are forces out there that want to stop him.  A terrorist group called Revolutionary Independence From Technology (or R.I.F.T., for short) wants to stop him and his research in A.I., so they set out and coordinate attacks on all the labs working on the project and shoot Caster with an irradiated bullet.  This is a little strange considering most people who feel like technology is ruining our lives aren’t so violent or proactive in real life and settle for just expressing their hatred of technology by using technology to post their thoughts on social media (and the irony is always lost on them).

"Man, I'll be so glad when we stop technology and advancements in artifi--Oh, sweet
my torrent of the latest episode of Game of Thrones is done."


"Close your eyes, Will.  The scanner will melt them if they're
open."
With Will rapidly dying, his wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and his college Max Waters (Paul Bettany) help him upload his consciousness into a supercomputer.  Realizing the danger he is still in from R.I.F.T., Will and Evelyn flee to start their own research facility in a small town out in the middle of nowhere.  However, Will is becoming more powerful and starts using nanotechnology to create mindless slaves with heightened abilities that he can have complete control of.  When government scientist Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman) and FBI agent Buchanan (Cillian Murphy) visit the facility, they find terror waiting to happen and realize they must save Evelyn and upload a virus to stop Will.

"Save me in a minute, I'm watching my stories."
 

The trailer for this film looked like Will goes completely power mad and wants the world to bend to his might...but the end result was nothing like that.  In fact, the film really fails in creating any palpable threat from Will.  Yes, the movie shows that his little nanobots can heal injured people and the environment and, while doing it in humans, can make them stronger and even take control of them because he’s created a hive-mind; however, the film never really shows that he is a threat beyond the fact he has the potential to be one.  There is no problem with this—shit, the fear of a potential threat is how the film stars with the R.I.F.T. terrorist attacks but the climax of the film might have been better if the script had Will losing his shit and deciding that humans need to die and die horribly...or, at the very least, start to make him look more threatening and not look like the begin levels of becoming threatening.

"Yeah, so I have enhanced strength and speed now.  It's totally worth it being
enslaved to a self-aware computer and this ugly thing on my head.  No regrets."
 

Overall, the film felt like it didn’t want to vilify Johnny Depp in even the most remote way.  Hell, the film ends with him confessing that he’s doing all this—taking slaves and using nanobots to heal the environment—because he loves Evelyn just that much (way to set the bar to a standard that the rest of us slobs can’t achieve, dude).  While it’s not bad to have your antagonist redeem himself, Darth Vader turning against the dark side to save his son and return to the light is awesome, and this turn around can make for great drama, but in Transcendence, it felt more lazy than anything because he never really turns that dangerous or even mildly bad. 

"Am I on an iPad?  I feel smugger already!"


So...after the virus was uploaded, how many people died
due to life support systems shutting off and the lack of
technology to farm the food our massive population
needs?  But, you don't have to worry about smart-
phones ruining dinner time anymore, so I hope
you're happy.
And since the film barely has any resemblance of an antagonist to begin with, this makes the film feel like it has no real conflict to it besides pushing a heavy-handed hipster ideology that technology is just evil and we should go back to running around outside, stop eating processed foods, resume drinking from garden hoses, and all that other stupid shit that your Facebook friends share in order to call the younger, more tech-ingrained generation a bunch of shitheads (and FYI, the majority of my friends who share stupid stuff like that were not “free” from technology.  In fact, most of them saying how they played until dark and didn’t sit around watching TV were, actually, sitting around watching TV and playing Nintendo.  Get off your high horse—also, no one believes that you are actually obsessed with reading every time you share a picture claiming that you are really into reading).

"We're using keyboards as doorstops!  All those shares about how technology sucks
on Facebook were totes worth it!  I mean, my family is starving now because we don't
know how to grow our own food and my relatives in the North froze to death but it's
worth it because now I don't get Facebook game requests!"
 

And the nanobots war against the clouds begins...
Despite having a great cast giving very good performances, the film just feels like it is going through the motions at best and aimlessly wandering at worst.  The terrorist group R.I.F.T. makes very little sense as they are developed poorly.  I never got a sense of their dedication and really only learned about them and their motives from a quick little bit of dialogue from Cillian Murphy’s character.  They make less sense when you realize that they were very active in planning and orchestrating a massive attack on Will Caster’s A.I. research and were all over that shit like me on the donuts in the break room when they were trying to stop his upload into the supercomputer but when he starts creating his own compound the only thing they really do is question Max Waters (who they kidnapped) and then spread some flyers in the town the facility is located (they better have not used computers or printers for those flyers--ha ha, just kidding, this organization is seen using technology quite a bit in an effort to stop technology).  Overall, this terrorist group is already pretty silly but their place and part in the entire story feels even sillier.

"It's so great you kidnapped me.  The fact we haven't heard a single news report
about my disappearance is also fantastic."
 

The movie may have some good visuals and great special effects but the end feeling the film gives off is one of brilliance without the actual brilliance part.  The entire tone of the film wants you to believe it is being really deep and saying something important about our dependence on technology but the film’s only brilliance comes from the writer's own ego. 

Having people look in awe doesn't mean your script inspired it.


Freeman is looking ahead in the film and realizing that
nothing worthwhile happens.
The entire movie reminded me of a person who is quick to tell you how awesome they are but everything they produce are drowning in mediocrity.  In fact, the film reminded me of a girl I dated who self-published a book about vampires and she kept telling me that it was innovative and original and how “unlike” Twilight it was; however, after reading the book as a favor to her, I found a product that was EXACTLY like Twilight and contained every vampire cliché you can think of.  That is exactly what Transcendence is.  A film that thinks it is breaking new ground and sticks its nose in the air like it is the deepest and most amazing thing to witness but, in reality, is just a boring movie that does nothing special with its extremely weak conflict and has a story that ends before it ever feels like it gets up and gets going.

"Hello, I heard you say Twilight.  I am currently downloading the entire series
for us to enjoy."
 

The inclusion of solar panels made Fox News viewers
vomit in anger.
I was sold when I saw the trailer for Transcendence.  It looked like an exciting action thriller about computers revolting—kinda like Skynet in the Terminator franchise only it didn't need those damn pesky robots informing you about their imminent return and can handle all the human killing all by itself.  Plus, the film had a great cast of awesome actors, was produced by Christopher Nolan, and was the directorial debut of Nolan’s director of photography; Wally Pfister.  However, the end product wasn’t exciting, wasn’t action packed—fuck, it gave us this stupid sequence...

"Time to do something awesome..."
 
"And here we go..."
 
Wait, that was it?  Really?  I mean--come on!
Was it really worth the lame jump to save those few seconds of climbing?
 


Finally, the movie feels it’s smarter than it really was—and there’s more if you acknowledge all the plot holes the film has.  Yes, Pfister has some great visuals and his work behind the camera is great.  The film also has some great special effects and the cast is awesome but these elements can’t hide just how lethargic the story is and how bland and thrill-less the final product is.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nymphomaniac Vol. II

***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, 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 dare you to watch this with your parents.






Nymphomaniac Vol. II – 2 out of 5

You might have caught my review of Nymphomaniac Vol. I…or you might not have.  I dunno, I don’t have a lot of followers or a lot of traffic at my blog.  I basically do this for fun and the amusement of a couple other people.  Anyway, the first half of this film (originally intended to be a four plus-hour epic) was a pretty average outing.  There were things I liked, things I didn’t like, and some scenes of non-simulated sex that made me feel dirty and worry about somebody suddenly just entering my house and see me watching this and immediately thinking I’m a perv—or worse, my girlfriend comes home and thinks I’m a perv.  Anyway, against my better judgment of watching one after the other, I immediately took Vol. I out of the PS3 and popped in the second one…the experience wasn’t pleasant.

"'Wasn't pleasant?' Dafuq?"
 

Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) continues to tell her tale to the kind-hearted Seligman (Stellan Skarsgård).  She reveals to him how she reunited with the man who took her virginity (Shia LaBeouf) and ends up having a kid with him.  She discusses about how her body starts to become disinterested in sex and starts to look for other avenues of gratification (well, Joe does, not her body.  Her body splitting off and looking for pleasure would be weird...but possibly an interesting movie)—this, ultimately, leads her to a sadomasochist (Jamie Bell) who regularly beats her.  She spits out a yarn about how her sexual appetite leads her to addiction meetings and, somehow, ends up working with a debt collector (Willem Dafoe) and that, while working for this man, takes an apprentice who goes all Sith on her and betrays her and leaves her where the first film opened up.  Then the film ends…just kidding, there’s a little shocker at the end.

"Hi Joe!"
 

This time around, while the acting is still great (especially Charlotte Gainsbourg) and the sex  is still around, the story becomes even more boring and a little too ridiculous for me to take seriously—and I’m the guy who thinks films that involve comic book heroes are awesome.  There was a grounded nature to Joe’s story in the first film and it showed a lot of respect to her and her nymphomaniac style.  This one, however, get a little silly, in my opinion.

Sigh...he's giving me another "dafuq" face...
 

He looks too innocent to be a dude who beats the shit
out of women for sexual gratification.
While it starts interestingly enough as Joe starts to see that sex isn’t as gratifying as it once was and she goes down a dark path that has a dude who gets violent with her, it ends with a story that is a shadow of its beginning.  The story does develop extremely well as her nymphomania becomes common knowledge at work and she is forced to go to an addicts meeting and also must deal with the abuse her body has gone through after years of lots and lots of sex and the beatings from Jamie Bell’s character.  That's the good part and it’s an interesting twist to Joe’s story and feels like an interesting and disturbing development, and, most of all, feels like a natural evolution to the drama—however, then the film takes Joe into debt collecting where she uses her love of sex and knowledge of sexual abuse to beat and boner-ize dudes out of their money.

"Yes...a debt collector!  It all makes sense now!  All those orgasms were
leading me to this moment..."
 

Once the film hit this point, I just couldn’t take it seriously anymore.  If the film went to a third Volume was Joe going to use her sexual knowledge to bring peace in the Middle East?  Had the series continued was Joe going to use her love of love-making to get a space shuttle to Mars?  If a third one came along was she going to use her intimate knowledge of all things intimate to invent a faster-than-light drive so that humans can conquer the stars?  Yes, these examples are ridiculous but Joe realizing that she has no place in the world and feels alienated so she turns to a life of knee-breaking and ball busting for debts owed felt like a jump to the fantastic when compared to the earlier moments of Joe’s story—even her turning to a sadomasochist in order to feel something is far more naturally feeling than her jumping to collect debts for Willem Dafoe.

"One more question to see if you have what it takes to be a debt collector...
do you have intimate or extensive knowledge of genitalia?"
 

The story gets even sillier as Joe is asked to take on an apprentice who will one day strike her down with her metaphoric lightsaber and take over for her.  This apprentice eventually betrays her in the deepest way possible by getting together with the man who is basically a bad penny in Joe’s life; Jerôme.  This betrayal and heartache that is delivered to Joe is actually great for the character and helped kept the film from ending on a snoozing note for me but I can’t help but think there could have been a better way to go about getting to this destination.  It’s just a personal preference by the whole becoming a debt collector and taking an apprentice that will turn on her was just too silly for me to take seriously and it really ended up killing the film.

"When I left her I was but the learner--now, I am the master!"
 

In the end, Nymphomaniac Vol. II still has some great acting to it and there is some intrigue to the story and some great drama unfolding (and yes, there’s still the real sex thing going on) but the story is even slower than the first half and the end gets a little too forced and many of the elements feeling like they were pointlessly tacked on in order to achieve drama and tension that could have been grown naturally and in many different ways.  In the end,  the Nymphomaniac films are just not my cup of tea.  There are elements I enjoy about them but as a whole (and this is as a whole when they are volume-ed—I haven’t seen the uncensored five and a half fucking hour edit) they are just not films I can find myself enjoying or even see myself thinking about again in the future…unless someone asks me, “Have you seen the movie where you see that scientist guy from Thor’s penis?”