Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Yah, you betcha!
Man, why do we have to have weaknesses when it comes to film? I like elements in almost every movie, because the foundation is usually something I can really appreciate. However, my personal kryptonite when reviewing films falls under the category of Dark Comedy. There are a precious few in which I have liked, but for the most part, these films never click with me. I mostly don’t get it because it feels so unnatural. I almost never find them funny and then I feel awkward for not laughing because the scene seems to be trying to make me laugh. Fargo is a movie that has quite a bit of recognition, in the 90 percentile on Rotten Tomatoes, I thought I’d found the perfect dark comedy. Heck, it even takes place in Minnesota, a place I’ve lived in the past. It was perfect…or not.
The movie itself is about car dealership owner Jerry Lundegaard (William H. Macy) as he attempts to steal money from his father-in-law by kidnapping his own wife. Basically, he gets these two idiot crooks to kidnap her while he persuades his wife’s father to pay the ransom. Easy-going plan until the idiot crooks kill a few witnesses that see the crime. Suddenly, their all caught up in a downward-spiraling snowball that never seems to end. Basically the moral of the story is not to kidnap your own wife.
As I’ve already made clear, dark comedies don’t impress me. Heck, I wouldn’t even call this thing a comedy as much as I would a tragedy…but I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? For the most part, what I got out of this film was the apparent need to throw in as much Minnesota stereotypes as humanly possible. “Yah, sure, you betcha!” is something you hear a lot in this film. The only stereotype I didn’t run into hearing was “tapioca”. That being said, I think that was their main tool in making light of a serious situation. I get it, funny accent is hard to take seriously, but I lived there, remember? I’m half used to it and can say not everyone speaks like that. But for the sake of the review, let’s just say they do. After living there for a while, the funniness of the accent wears down. You get used to it. Therefore – they weren’t able to get me on accent alone.
Next stereotype – all Minnesotans are nice. Basically, they take light of any given situation. “Oh boy, we got a triple homicide-type deal here, huh? People aren’t robots, we all react to the shock of death differently. None of the deaths in the film rattled anyone’s bones and I found that almost obscene. I know, I am missing the entire point of the film. No argument from me. I know what the point was, but the point doesn’t mean anything if you don’t connect with the film the way you’re supposed to. So in the end, it felt really, really pointless.
What I will say is that it is done well. The story is pretty original, its writing is constructed well-enough, and some of the acting pops out above the rest, but I wasn’t impressed with the movie. Not by a long shot.
As I mentioned, Fargo is constructed well on a production-level. The acting is pretty good, the writing is pieced together pretty seamlessly, the story is original – and it’s just different enough for someone to want to watch it.
If you’re like me, and you have a lot of trouble connecting with dark comedies, the movie isn’t for you. You just won’t get the point of it.
Everyone: Yah, you betcha!
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Memento for Dummies.
I should make a point in telling you all that it’s been several years since I’ve actually seen Memento, so while most people would compare Shuffle to Memento in a heartbeat, I wouldn’t feel right doing that because it’s been too long to make an accurate comparison. However, from what I do remember, the similarities are kind of shocking. However, Shuffle wasn’t meant to ever be super confusing, it was just meant to be an interesting ride filled with some pretty valuable messages strewn throughout. Of course I had to watch it because I’m a fan of T.J. Thyne. Heck, he even brought a few co-workers from Bones along for support. Overall, it’s an interesting flick.
To give you an idea of what this movie is all about, it follows around a feller named Lovell who unfortunately has a wicked case of narcolepsy but every time he falls asleep, he wakes up at a different point in his life, his life experiences are shuffled if you will. Basically, anywhere around age 8 and age 92, Lovell finds himself waking up and trying to piece together why he is introduced to this specific memory, and what it means in the big picture, and how to change drastic events before they occur, or how to change events that have already occurred as well. It’s basically Memento meets The Butterfly Effect.
I should start right off by saying that the budget in this movie is rather poor, and you can tell ($500,000). If it wasn’t for T.J. Thyne, I probably wouldn’t really care for the film, or even know of its existence. I can say that I’m pretty glad I saw it, though, because it really was pretty interesting. Yeah, it’s not the most original idea in the movie business, but the way that it handled itself and went about the plot was enough to keep me pretty interesting. Half of the time, I was on the edge of my seat. But again, the budget is enough to keep people away. It looks and feels cheap. The plot writing is decent as far as doing their own thing, but dialogue could be better, acting could be better…everything could be better, really.
I mean, I love T.J. Thyne and I think he did a great job with what he had here, just like he does with everything, but everyone else was more or less terrible. It was cool that he brought some co-stars from his show, Bones along for the fun, but seriously, the rest of the cast has a lot to learn in terms of acting, because as much as they tried, it always felt off. I never believed the characters. As for the other post-production things – a low budget film like this usually has to stoop to easy filters to change the film’s mood. We’re talking drag and drop effects from like, Premiere not specifically made for the film. It’s an effort, yeah, but something anyone can do. Just look at Instagram. Photo filters, yay! Most of that budget was probably used on the old guy makeup T.J. wore as the 92 year old. Honestly, you don’t see makeup that good in low budget projects like this.
I think in the end, it’s really hard to tell a story out-of-order, but they succeeded here, and that gets major props by me. The timeframes are all out of order, but his mind is in chronological order, so it gets that nice weird feeling that keeps the audience involved, and for the most part, that’s the film’s greatest strength.
T.J. Thyne is awesome in anything he does, I strongly advise you to check out his work in Bones and anything else he’s done. I know it’s not much, but he’s got some chops. Also, as unoriginal as this plot goes, they took it and molded into something very easy to understand and potentially very exciting.
Poor budget translates into poor quality film. The acting is mediocre, the dialogue is meh, the photo filters were drag & drop…there’s just not a lot of pull for anyone to watch it, but it is at least a little interesting if you ever have a lazy Saturday sometime.
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
There’s barely anything to ever watch in the first few months of the year. Sometimes you’re lucky, but most of the time…there’s just nothing to see. That’s when you start to think…oh wait…there’s a whole line of Netflix Instant Queue waiting for me on the television. Most of the time, Netflix movies aren’t all that great, I believe that’s why, in part, they are on Netflix. I will say, though, that however good or bad the movie ends up being, there’s usually a lot more originality than what you’d expect from the mainstream box office hits. I have respect for a film if it can at least pull off originality. So The Experiment was the next movie on my list, and the main thing that lured me to this film, I will admit, is the participation of Adrien Brody and Forest Whitaker, tow very well-versed actors in the film industry. Seeing them together just feels right. But how does the film fair? Weird, man, weird.
The ‘experiment’ in question is a psychological research program in which volunteers agree to take part in for two weeks in order to win $14,000 each. The idea is simple – it’s a simulation in which one group of volunteers play the prisoners while the other take part as the prison guards, and all they have to do for the entire 14 days is play it through and follow the rules. The rules were pretty straight forward – no violence, no poor behavior, eat three times a day – yatta yatta. Though, when it becomes clear that the method of choosing roles was reversed, the reasonable volunteers (prisoners) have to find a way to deal with their violent, ruthless, and cold captors. Sometimes rules were meant to be broken.
What in the world did I just watch? I can’t even decide if I think the movie is good, bad, or somewhere in-between. What it certainly isn’t, is logical. I get what they were trying to do: psychologically expose our inner animalistic instincts in an impossible situation of the disharmony of ethics and honor …or something like that. Basically – the lengths you would go in order to do the right thing – I get that, what I don’t understand was how in the world these guards lost their minds so fast. I mean, this was like great friendly guys turning into Carrie after blood was dumped on her prom dress loco. The transformation was simply put, unrealistic. I liked the confrontations, I liked the acting, but the situation felt way too fake and controlled – which ultimately lessens the overall experience.
Like I said though, the acting isn’t bad, thanks to tremendous performances by Brody and Whitaker. Not only them, but almost the entire cast did a great job at presenting an individually important character with loads of background development and diversity. You like all of the characters, including our evil guards. The writing, however, was super tacky. It feels like a Netflix Instant film just because. There’s nothing substantial enough here for anyone to really want to actually buy the thing. It’s an interesting film with an interesting concept that’s kinda cool to watch when you’re bored, but beyond that, you’ll forget it in the following week.
What you have here is an interesting film with an interesting concept with a ton of great characters and acting.
Unfortunately, The Experiment fails on almost every other level – the writing, the idea is a bit over-the-top when considering the timeframe, I mean even the editing, lighting, sound editing, and direction wasn’t super special. They did their job and moved on…unfortunately – this is one of those “watch when you’re bored” films.
Nix: Still think we’re higher on the evolutionary chain than monkeys?
Travis: Yeah, ’cause we can still do something about it.
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I’m pleasantly surprised.
Is there some kind of unspoken or spoken rule that people have to hate Vince Vaughn? I’ve heard the argument so many times before. Something about Vaughn playing the same role over and over again, and it’s getting old. First of all, I can see that sometimes, but not always, and I have nothing wrong with his style of comedy. He’s a funny guy who has the proven ability to be serious when he needs to be. That being said, Delivery Man hasn’t gotten the best reviews: partially because of people’s anti-bias against the actor, partially because people are so dense with their love for the original film that they immediately start comparing. I’m actually glad this is the only variation of the story I’ve seen, because I thought it was wonderful. I’m pleasantly surprised, but I really, really enjoyed this flick.
Delivery Man stars Vince Vaughn as David, a man with a pretty lame job – meat delivery. However, when his girlfriend tells him that she is pregnant, he is forced to put his life into perspective, and he really wants to have the child with her. The problem is, thanks to his childish ways, she’s thinking seriously about raising the child alone, so David sets forth to prove himself to her. That’s when he learns that years ago, he gave almost 700 donations at the sperm bank and sired 533 kids, about 200 of which have formed a counseling group to find him. One by one he gets to know these kids, and he falls in love with each of them all for different reasons. Meanwhile, a trial goes on about the importance of anonymity at donation centers like that, and David must choose what’s more important to him.
Why must people hate Vince Vaughn so much? Okay, yeah, there were elements here and there that were similar to his other works. Sure, the flick is pretty predictable in the end, but it’s also inspirational, heartwarming, with an original story and amazing premise. I’ve never seen anything like it before, and I don’t care that it’s a remake, I’m never going to see the original anyway. The story presented here was really important, and I was able to find a connection with everyone, including David (and not just because he and I share the same name). Because I know a thing or two about estranged parenthood and wanting to be the perfect father, but not knowing how to go about that. That’s something I feel very close to, and this film got to me a little. I didn’t break down in tears, but the movie is definitely emotional, and I could see it making others cry – easily.
This is what my website is all about. I see a lot of movies, but my tagline is mostly my goal, because there are plenty of under-appreciated films out there completely due to unfair bias. Oh it’s Vince Vaughn? Yuck, no thank you, very much! Get over yourself and ignore the fact that this is a remake, and you’ll find the movie is done very well. No, Vince Vaughn isn’t the best actor, nor is anyone in the flick, but the chemistry that glues them together so well is enough for none of that to matter. There is so much diversity, and so many places where the movie could have gone wrong, but instead…it worked really well.
So, if I had one bad thing about it, I would probably stick with story progression. I’m not a huge fan of coming-of-age, which is kind of what this film is going for. Big baby learning to mature, etc. etc. Here’s the thing about the rest of it, it would make an incredible TV show, meet a new kid every episode? See this father learn the best and worst attributes of his kids, and still love them no matter what…I would watch that. What they set out for this film is truly commendable, and for the most part, I truly believe that they accomplished it.
Delivery Man has so much heart and originality that it’s hard to ignore. It’s sweet, it’s emotional, it’s honest, and it’s funny when appropriate. It’s a journey of self-discovery, which is not something I normally care about – but in this case…well done.
Peoples biased opinions against Vince Vaughn and insistence to compare a film to the original will immediately turn people away from an otherwise great film. There are two interpretations, get over it, the movie is good.
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
I’m special, boys and girls, and I’ll tell you why. Where everyone else does their research and talks about the history of August: Osage County, and about its roots in stage theatre, I’m going to talk about the story as a man who has only seen the movie and not the play, nor even knew what the story was about beforehand. Gasp! I know, I know, I’m uneducated about the story, I have no right to talk about it! In my honest defense, I am a movie critic, I don’t review plays, and I certainly try my best to stay away from comparing two different versions of the same story. That includes a movie based on a book, based on a famous true story, on a play, on a TV show, or even if it’s a remake or reimagining, I don’t care. I might touch on a few details here and there, but they don’t ever reflect my score of the new movie, since creative freedom is practically a right I would politically vote on. August: Osage County is definitely a movie I was looking forward to seeing, for whatever reason, and did it disappoint….yeeess and no.
Gather round as I take you down the journey of August: Osage County – a film with practically no direction but phenomenal acting around the map. The story is about Violet Weston (Meryl Streep), a cranky old drug-addicted coot that led her husband to leave the house without saying a word. After this, she calls together a family reunion of sorts to help sort out what exactly happened. For the most part, it’s just one big dysfunctional family drama with one weird problem after the next.
So my little mini review was that it was “a film with practically no direction but phenomenal acting around the map” which I think in a sentence sums it up, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. I say “no direction” because the movie starts out on a good note and talks about an old man leaving his home with no real reason. Okay, a taste of mystery sprinkled onto the beginning. I won’t spoil you too much, but I will say that question is answered fairly early on in the film, and the rest of the movie is just a bunch of weird issues, family rivalries, drug problems, and so on and so forth. It wasn’t exactly going anywhere. It could end at any given moment, it was just….a dysfunctional family drama.
Now, the second part of my mini review was on the great performances. Oh my God, the performances were off the map good. I cannot even begin to explain how amazing everyone was. The casting was brilliant, the chemistry was unquestionably perfect, and the actual performances themselves were well-developed and diverse. This movie had some of the best all-around acting I’ve actually seen in 2013, and that feels so random given how I feel about the rest of the movie…which I’m not really fond of.
Let’s review…heh…a review inside of a review: reviewception. Basically – the movie had an amazing cast and all did exceptionally well at their performance. The writing was perfect in terms of showing us real people with real problems that practically anyone could relate to any one person, making it a diverse viewing experience. It went over a bunch of important topics like mother/daughter and sibling relationships, age insecurities, drugs, addictions, crises, and plenty others that I won’t mention on here. Meanwhile, there’s no real story progression. It’s not going anywhere. I have no real reason to keep watching past the performances, and performances alone cannot save a film…but if they are good enough, they can keep the film’s head just above the water.
What I will say: August: Osage County is a good movie. It has unbelievable performances by a really talented cast.
Performances were phenomenal, yes, casting was great, yeah, but that’s it. The story itself felt completely aimless and blind, and I lost my reason to keep watching because performances aren’t everything.
Charlie Aiken: Oh… oh… I got a big bite of fear! And it never tasted so good!
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
It’s good, obviously.
As 2013 rolled in, I was so happy about the Academy Awards that year I even made a prediction post, because I saw most of the films and actually agreed with the choices (for the most part). This year, I was so angry at the selection that I skipped the award show last night. Well, 12 Years a Slave won for best picture, as I’m sure that you’re aware, but what did I think of it? In short, I would have preferred Captain Phillips to have won because I’m hard to sell a true story to. There’s more to it than that, but let’s get into the review.
This follows the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man as he is kidnapped and thrown into slavery for, as the title suggests, twelve years. Of course, the viewer doesn’t know what happens by the end of that twelve years…will he die? Will he be set free? Will he go Django Unchained on everyone…we just don’t know. Throughout his time, we learn just how bad slavery was…again…and just how unfortunate this guy’s life really is, and what that means as a whole.
I’ll start off on a good note and say I love the premise. I had no idea what the story was before I watched it, and the premise is very interesting. I may be uneducated by saying this, but I’ve never heard of freed black men being kidnapped and forced into slavery. Apparently, it was a thing, and was very hard to prove, let alone get word out without risking death upon yourself. So that’s really cool. I also love the choice of actors in this film, and how they avoided the overdone ensemble cast other films have done. Instead of trying to focus on everyone all at once, this film focused only on Solomon’s travels and each chapter of his journey, we meet new people who are either good, bad, or somewhere in between. Most of them are a-class actors.
I also want to mention that this film was masterfully shot and executed. The actors put on brilliant and believable performances with an uncontainable amount of true emotional presentations. The music was also perfectly selected, and the cinematography is to die for. There are a few long shots of nothing really happening, yet they are the most powerful scenes in not only this film, but so many others. Like I said, it was wonderfully shot. Everything was put together so incredibly seamlessly, and I do believe it deserved to be in the running for best picture of 2013. However, I rated this 87% and Captain Phillips 98% why? Because I’m a really hard sell for true stories.
Humor me, if you will, a cook book. Imagine a page that gave you so many delicious and amazing ingredients, but no real recipe. In theory, these ingredients could make something really wonderful, and a lot of people just like to eat the ingredients as is. I, for one, like the main course. The big picture. 12 Years a Slave, and other true stories like it, have a lot of delicious ingredients… but ultimately, that’s all it had. There was no real direction other than the “12 years”, and even then, there are no dates around to follow with the main character how far in that timeline he has gone. By the time the film ended, I was convinced he had only been a slave for maybe 5-6 months, not 12 years. Yeah, there are different people he meets, but we have no way of telling how long he’s there and I would have liked at least that much.
Now remember, just because I’m a hard sell for true stories doesn’t mean I’m incapable of being swayed. 12 Years a Slave does a fine job at proving to me how good it is on almost every single technical level, but for the most part, it’s not really my type of movie. I would consider it the Lincoln of 2013, which I also gave a lower score than most people but still thought it was technically proficient.
There’s a lot to love about our 2013 Best Picture Oscar winner. The acting, writing, editing, direction, pacing, cinematography, casting, well…everything that takes place behind and in front of the camera, pretty much. It deserved its nomination.
Notice I said it deserved its nomination…not win. I still think Captain Phillips deserved the win for this one, but then again, as I’ve mentioned in the post: I’m a hard sell with true stories.
Solomon Northup: I don’t want to survive. I want to live.
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Lengthy, but interesting.
As well as a movie lover, I am also a fan of television and books. On Goodreads, there are a couple of book clubs that I loosely take part in every month, and this month was The Book Thief. The thing is, I couldn’t do it. I tried so hard to read it, but I honestly hated the writing style, specifically because of the narrator (death) who used nonstop color metaphors and personifications. It got dumb. All I wanted to do was read the story and this dreadful depictions of all of these little details go so tedius that I just said, “screw it, I’m watching the movie.” So I did, and I got into it a bit more. By getting into it more, I mean I finished it.
This story follows young Liesel Meminger, a sweet little German gal that just loves her books. Well, not her books, mind you, books she stole. She’s fascinated because as the film begins, she can’t even read. So her “papa” teaches her how to read while World War II goes on in the background. Through her love of books, family, and friendship, she questions Hitler’s insistence that Jew’s are terrible people. So you can understand when a Jew is hidden in her basement, she befriends him pretty quickly.
Sorry for the messy plot description, guys, I feel as if there isn’t really much plot at all. The film is told through the character of Death’s eyes. We never see him, we just hear him as he narrates the tale. The plot is barely even coming-of-age. It’s kind of a mixture of a lot of different stories we’ve heard before. The most prominent is probably The Diary of Anne Frank. It’s like the German perspective of the story. Young girl, has a love of books and writing, all during World War II, and the audience is shows from a child’s perspective why again that war was so bad. When you think of it like that, it almost feels like the film cheated in a way.
What bugged me the most in the book, as I mentioned above, was the Death character coming up with so many ridiculous metaphorical descriptions. It is explained in the movie as what your eyes would say if they could talk, describing what they see. I get it, it’s for visualizing purposes, but the book annoyed me. Heck, the descriptions weren’t even that good. But they only pulled that twice in the film versus the…probably hundreds of times the book did it, which I was okay with. Instead, I was given the story as I would have preferred: as a story.
The story is okay, I don’t think it really reels you in, I think it has very little emotional connection with the audience, but the story itself isn’t horrible…It’s just the fact that those kids couldn’t really act. I’ve always said it’s tricky for kids in movies because they have so little experience. Nerves are often kid’s worst enemies, but recently kids have been doing terrific in films. This movie….I think the presentation dulled down the fact that the kids weren’t amazing. Either they were German-born and were trying to speak English, or they were American-born and trying to speak German…whatever the case was, they didn’t seem comfortable with whatever it was that they were doing, and thus, their acting was a bit damaged. However, the adults in the film actually did a pretty darn good job. Good ol’ Geoffrey Rush surprising me once again with his acting chops. As far as the casting went, they chose the right people that gave off tremendous chemistry.
The story is a decent one, and even if you don’t like it, you can at least agree that the style is interesting. The visuals and music are pretty well done, and overall I do believe the score in this film deserves its nomination (not that I believe it deserves to win). If you’re like me, this will be easier to invest in than the book.
I still don’t understand the direction the film was headed, nor what the point was to any of it. It’s kind of interesting to watch and everything, but what’s….the point?
Max Vandenburg: Words are life, Liesel. All those pages, they’re for you to fill.
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
The Santa Paws
Tim Allen is a funny guy, and I appreciate his style of comedy, regardless of how good the film turns out, which is a huge reason why I subject myself to his lesser-known, sometimes hated family comedies. Yes, the movies are often wretched things that don’t even deserve to be seen, but hey, at least Tim Allen took one for the team, so you gotta give him some respect. The Shaggy Dog was a remake of an old 1959 movie of the same name, and I’m sure at some point I’ve seen that one as well, because for some reason or another, I know the story pretty well. However, this may possibly be one of the few times I actually say watching the original may be a better plan.
Tim Allen plays prosecuting attorney Dave Douglas in this family flick. Even though it doesn’t specifically say it, it’s pretty clear that this guy is not a big fan of dogs, and doesn’t really care about the massive implications a local company is receiving in terms of animal abuse. So when a magical 300 year-old dog escapes that compound, it finds its way to Dave’s family, ending up biting Dave and ultimately transforming him into a sheep dog. Through the eyes of the dog, he is able to see the truth behind the animal abuse as well as his own neglect towards his family, all of whom need him in their lives.
If I could interrupt your “aww’s” for just a moment, because that’s totally what you were doing, I want to tell you the first thing that came into my mind. Instead of this being an original remake, this film decided to clearly borrow from other films, more specifically, Tim Allen films. The entire premise is the same exact plot as The Santa Clause, only instead of Santa, it’s a dog. Think about it. Estranged relationship with kids, magical transformation that’s funny to watch, eye-opening life lessons learned, Tim Allen fighting the transformation before he finally gets a handle on it, oh, and Spencer Breslin. Let’s not forget a certain Buzz Lightyear catch phrase is randomly thrown in there too. Was it that hard to make a completely separate film? “Okay, well hold on” you’ll say, you liked The Santa Clause, no?
I did indeed, yes, it’s a wonderful film, but that’s because the premise fit better and it was completely unique and cool, it was hilarious, and magical in all the right ways. The only parts I liked about this film, and this is being really nice, is when Tim Allen just began to notice dog-like symptoms. As he is a lawyer, his random animalistic actions may remind you of a few years prior when Jim Carrey did something remarkably similar in Liar, Liar. However, these scenes didn’t last long, and before we knew it, he went full dog. I know that was the point, but it was really annoying. First of all, you never see a full transformation because they probably had a really low budget, and the whole time you have Tim Allen narrating his character’s thoughts. People buy tickets to watch a Tim Allen movie and hope to see him there. Not that the dog isn’t cute, it is, but Allen’s strongest bits were when he was actually himself, so to speak.
Random note, though, Robert Downey Jr. showed up in this film just two years before Iron Man took his career to new heights. It’s amazing how you could see any of his films until 2008 and not remember he was in any of them, and then see Iron Man, and recognize him in everything he’s ever done. It was cool to see him here. Same goes for Danny Glover. The cast is remarkably pretty good, but none of them actually pull off any decent performances. They were all just so…. so-so.
Tim Allen…some of the transformation bits with Allen making a fool out of himself was pretty decent, and will have the ability to make a lot of kids laugh, but…meh.
Well, how do I put this lightly…everything else?
Judge Claire Whittaker: Did you just growl at opposing counsel?
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A successful biopic.
You can always find me on the fence when it comes to biopics. Always that cheesy, inspirational and melodramatic bull that gets old after a while. However…I have to admit that when I do like biopics, I tend to really like them. I’ve always had major appreciation for Disney, especially some of the classics when Walt Disney was around, so Saving Mr. Banks definitely looked like a film I could be interested in, and I was sold when I heard Tom Hanks starred as Disney himself. All I can say is that it’s an adventure watching this film, it goes through an emotional roller coaster, yes, but in the best possible way imaginable.
This film stars Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, the author and creator of Mary Poppins. Now, you can argue that this film is about Walt Disney trying to get film rights to make a film adaptation for her book, or you can argue that the film is completely about the author’s childhood and how she got to this point, and you’d be right on both accounts. When we meet her, P.L. Travers is a cranky old hoot that hates the world. She has rejected Disney for twenty years on this issue, and only now is she humoring him as he tries to get her to accept the film. We don’t know exactly why she’s cranky either. That’s something we have to learn through her complicated past.
There are practically two completely different movies going on at the same time, and it’s weird because they complement each other so well as the film progresses. I’ll be honest though, it took me a while to even appreciate the flashbacks. I was enjoying the Disney story so much that I didn’t care about her childhood, but once I figured out how monumentally integral it was to the story, the movie got really good. I mean really good really fast because the film gets into really deep issues without it being overbearing like other biopics. No, this was more subtle and slightly mysterious as we piece together this girl’s life with her father, who she had a very strong bond with – regardless of what other people thought of him.
It tugs on your emotions through and through, because one minute you’re laughing at some really funny stuff from a cranky old hoot who’s absolutely serious all of the time, and the next minute you might be dabbing your eyes at some strong emotional performances by…well…everyone, really, but especially Emma Thompson. That gal might surprise you in this flick. Now, I’ve heard arguments that this is Tom Hanks’s best performance of 2013, but it doesn’t even touch Captain Phillips. It was good, sure, the man showed his range in the other film, I’m sorry. As far as phenomenal acting goes in Saving Mr. Banks, I’ll have to stick to Emma, Colin Farrell (he blew my mind), Ruth Wilson, and Paul Giamatti. Hanks did good, very good, but let’s be honest – this was a film about the author’s life.
As far as surprising things go in general, I found it really cool that this is the first time Walt Disney has ever been portrayed in a movie, and I do think Tom Hanks deserved the right to play such an iconic man in film history. I don’t think I was convinced with the role as much I should have been, but he did a fine, fine job.
Saving Mr. Banks is honestly a remarkable feature film worthy of a Disney title. The emotions it goes through, with the comedy and drama, are approached with honesty and good intention. By bringing the viewer into the author’s childhood, we get to see a side of Mary Poppins that we never have before, and it’s truly a good side. The performances by Thompson and Hanks are powerful as well, making this an overall excellent flick.
Some people aren’t a big fan of films pulling a bi-polar and jumping from good emotion to bad over and over again, which in all honesty, this film is a little guilty of – but it’s for good reason. Also, giving Tom Hanks a mustache doesn’t help the fact that he doesn’t really look like Disney in the end…but seriously, I lean more towards the good on this one, no worries.
Winds in the east
Mist coming in
Like something is brewing
About to begin
Can’t put me finger
On what lies in store
But I feel what’s to happen
All happened before.
Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Leaves an impression.
What I’m about may stun you. I have never once seen any of the Godfather films until now nor knew what any of them were about apart from jokes now and then of how Marlon Brando sounds and the phrase, “going to the mattresses”. When it came down to really famous film series, I am always shocked to hear about those who haven’t seen Star Wars or Indiana Jones or the like, you know, really famous franchises. I realized that the same would apply to others to know I haven’t seen any films in this franchise, which got me thinking. The Godfather and its two sequels are often regarded as some of the best movies ever made. Period. Many have this film in their Top 10, or even Top 5 Films of All Time lists. Obviously I had to check it out. Overall, the film really does leave an impression, but I’ve got my issues with it as well.
Now, this film centers around the godfather, otherwise known as the Don, otherwise known as Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando) – a crime boss centered in New York. In Spider-Man, he would be the Kingpin. Now, Vito’s aging, and there are five competing crime bosses around the country that are going to war with each other (mattresses) due to something to do with narcotics. After Corleone is gunned down, he miraculously survives and his condition forces the man to hand the business down to his son, Michael (Al Pachino) who learns the trick of the trade. Suddenly, because of their actions, the other bad guys took out their sick competition and kick started something fierce and vengeful, and the Corleone family business begins to come back to full power.
I want to first point out the main flaw I had issues with in this film, because there are a few. The first is pacing/timing. I’ll be honest, when it came down to distinguish what exactly is happening and why, I got lost because so much happened so fast without any warning or even time to think about it after, it just shoots to the next scene, which could be many months to a year in the future – and you just kind of have to…figure that out for yourself for the most part. So yeah, my main complaint with this film actually had a lot to do with confusion, because my next complaint is the accents.
Yes, they are Italian, which I have no problem with normally, but their accents are super thick and hard to understand sometimes, especially you, Marlon. They make fun of the accent in a lot of media, yes, and it’s not as bad in the film, but there are moments where I really don’t know what he just said. They also bounce back and forth from English to Italian from time to time, which I’ve never understood – for any movie, why a single conversation can’t take place completely in one language. It’s not that difficult, really.
I’ll try to bundle up the last of my complaints really quickly, since they aren’t as bad – just things I made note of: It’s too long; it feels old in the sense that it doesn’t match much modern expectations; it can be boring for the wrong audience (which is a lot more than you would normally think); oh and this is a biggie – it’s not as good as everyone puts it out to be. Seriously, a lot of people put this film at 100% and it doesn’t deserve 100. It’s got good moments, which I’ll lay out next, but it’s got flaws. The real reason people love this film is because when it came out in 1972, there was never anything like it, and it must have been so insane that it made a huge impression, and that impression lasted a lifetime. Now, in 2014, as far as expectations go in the new world, some things just weren’t impressive. The violence was great in 1972, but you get more violence in an episode of Bones or Hannibal now than you did with The Godfather, and more realistic and amazing-looking violence. Heck, even Saw had better violence. I’m not dogging on the past, I’m sure it was great, but I’m part of a modern audience with modern expectations, and I wasn’t blown away by most of what I saw.
Now I’ll tell you what I did like. In a lot of ways, this film is a god among mafia movies. I will absolutely bow to The Godfather for its revolutionary look into mafia members’ lives. However, I hate mafia movies in general. All of ‘em. Can’t stand ‘em. They leave a bad taste in my mouth. They did a wonderful job all around, though. Great acting, casting, characters, choreography, music, man the music is iconic, but they main reason I’ve always avoided this film was the fear that I wouldn’t care for it due to my distaste towards mafia films. I thought maybe the fact that everyone seems to love it may sway me, and in a way it did. This is one of the highest ratings I’ve ever given a mafia film, but it’s still much lower than the typical rating.
Sorry to let my fellow critics down.
The Godfather is definitely an original film that practically serves as a base for every future mafia gangster movie ever made. The acting, casting, characters, direction, writing, and cinematography were all very well done, and it’s not hard to see on a production-level how everyone loves this film.
It’s not as good as everyone puts it out to be. It doesn’t match modern expectations hardly at all, the pacing is confusing, the accents are sometimes too thick to understand, and ultimately when all is said and done…the story is a bit difficult to follow everything.
I’m on the fence…do you think you can pitch The Godfather: Part II to me in a way that will get me to watch it? If you think you can – go for it.
Godfather: I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.