Film Review : The Lego Movie (2014)

IMDB Score – 8.5
Rotten Tomator Score – 96%
Currently number #164 on IMDB Top 250 <—–Woah.

Directed By – Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Starring – Chris Pratt, Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Nick Offerman, and Liam Neeson

An ordinary LEGO minifigure, mistakenly thought to be the extraordinary MasterBuilder, is recruited to join a quest to stop an evil LEGO tyrant from gluing the universe together.

I need to get this out of the way. THIS MOVIE WAS AWESOME!!! SO FUNNY. SO AWESOME. SPACESHIP!!!

Okay, that was the twelve year old me getting some much needed screen time on this website. You can only review depressing relationship films, gritty foreign dramas, and anything that falls out of Lars Von Trier’s ass for so long. The inner child had to come out and I picked a wonderful film for that. The perks of working at a movie theater came to fruition as I picked the latest showtime last night for my friend and I to see this film. We were the only ones in the theater. This had good an bad points. The good points were that we were able to talk a bit without the fear of pissing people off and I was also able to laugh like a lunatic during a movie aimed at kids without seeming like a freak. The bad points were that I would have loved to enjoyed this film with other people because it was a riot and a lot of fun. In the end though I was glad I didn’t have children telling their parents what just occurred on screen for five minutes as they drowned out the audio. This film is a joke a minute type of deal. Hell, I didn’t even catch 100% of the jokes and I was paying full attention. Let’s get into why this film was so awesome.

First off let me describe my childhood as quickly and as entertaining as possible. I was an outdoors kid and when I wasn’t doing things outdoors I was inside playing Sega or playing with my matchbox cars. The second part there is important. I huge theme of “The Lego Movie” is that you should honestly build whatever the fuck you want to build and let you mind be imaginative. I had that. I just didn’t have it with Legos. I had it with matchbox cars. I would create scenarios and situations with over fifty cars as I would crash them, create sound effects, make scenery and roads for them to drive, and of course, mangle the shit out of them with vice grips. What? You never did that? The point is that I had an imaginative mind but focused the energy on little cars. I had Legos, but I would honestly play with them for about twenty minutes before I got bored and got my multiple boxes of cars out. I tried a couple times to build a Millenium Falcon but just couldn’t keep my attention on it to get close to finishing it. That being said, my enjoyment of this film was not out of some nostalgic euphoria, but rather an old fashioned coming out party for my inner child.

This film didn’t need you to be a Lego freak when you were younger. The whole concept of playing with toys as a child was in full focus throughout the whole film, even to the point of attaching mouth sound effects to moving legos ships and machines, JUST LIKE KIDS DO. Multiple situations were fixed with thinking outside the box and attaching unorthodox Lego blocks to parts of the body and other whacked out things kids would do with these things. Look at this great strip from one of my favorite things ever, Calvin and Hobbes…

That was what this movie was. It was a bunch of adult kids getting to let their inner children come to life in a way that never has been seen before. We’ve had Lego movies before. These movies were made with cheap special effects and looked like they were rendered on Windows 95. This is a film shot entirely in CGI but with the delicacy to make sure that every single Lego block looked real. The animation was so real looking that I had a hard time believing I wasn’t looking at a stop motion film using real Legos. It was great. Everything was Lego. The water was Lego. The smoke was Lego. The fire and bullets were Lego. It was a great sight. I remember first seeing posters and trailers for this and thought it was going to be too silly but in reality it was a perfect blend of kid humor and adult humor. This is what makes Pixar fantastic and what is now making Phil Lord and Christopher Miller household names in animated films. They aren’t just for kids. I’m glad they exist.

The cast is also fantastic. Chris Pratt was the perfect person to play the lead Lego man Emmet. Pratt basically plays Emmet as he plays his one of a kind character of “Andy” on Parks and Rec. He is a lovable but ultimately small brained Lego man that is just trying to fit in. Morgan Freeman plays the Gandolph like “Vitruvius” who is a blind prophet trying to stop the evil Mr. Business, played hilariously by Will Ferrell, from taking over the world. Other fantastic roles include Charlie Day as the 1980’s spaceman…SPACESHIP!!!…Alison Brie as Unikitty, and of course, Will Arnett as FUCKING BATMAN. That felt good to say. Batman and Benny the 1980’s Spaceman were the best parts of the film in my eyes. I haven’t laughed that hard in a theater since “This is the End”. The whole cast was a riot.

Lastly there is a good message at the end. I won’t go into spoilers but parents who bring their children hopefully will be leaving with a nice war fuzzy feeling inside and hopefully will spend time building things with their kid. I expected somewhat of a mushy ending and that’s what I got, but it certainly didn’t detract from the film at all. It didn’t add a whole lot but was a nice way to end a film that’s sole purpose was to entertain and make us laugh.

Overall I loved the movie. I want to see it again. I love being twelve years old. The movie was charming, hilarious, and featured one of a kind animation. I’m looking forward to anything those two make i the future and the film lived up to the hype.



Film Review : Man of Steel (2013)

IMDB Score – 7.4
Rotten Tomato Score – 55%

Directed By – Zach Snyder
Starring – Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Christopher Meloni, Antje Traue, and Laurence Fishburne

A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extrastellar origin when Earth is invaded by members of his own race.

Earlier on in the year I reviewed “The Avengers”. I explained how I’m not a huge fan of superhero movies that don’t involve Batman. Most of this is because Batman is just a lunatic billionaire ninja in a cape and the rest of them have super powers that I just find stupid. Don’t get me wrong, if you’re into that kind of stuff, all the power to you. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Now, I did really enjoy “The Avengers”. The same can not be said of Man of Steel.

This is the first Superman film I’ve ever seen. I didn’t grow up on Superman. I grew up on Batman and occasionally Spiderman as long as it is represented by bad 90s animation. I had no interest in the Christopher Reeve films and when Bryan Singer made his version I skipped it as well. I guess the only reason I watched Man of Steel is because it made so much damn money and I felt that my 2013 end of the year review would be incomplete without it. I also think that Zach Snyder is perfectly capable of making a good film if he wants to evident by the vastly underrated “Watchmen” and one of the better modern zombie films “Dawn of the Dead”. When the initial trailer came out I had hope. It had a great narration from Crowe and just felt like it was going to be done right.

It wasn’t. It ended up being a big let down. However…

What I liked…

The visuals were fantastic. This is to be expected from a director like Zach Snyder. Pretty much every one of his films has that visual flare that makes in more than an ordinary film. It’s usually a spectacle and Man of Steel follows that mold. It’s a gorgeous film that really shines when the action kicks up. The second half of the film featured plenty of great fight scenes and it was fun to watch those. The acting was also good in parts as I enjoyed the always fantastic Amy Adams. I don’t think she’s ever had a bad role. Russell Crowe was also casted perfectly as the wise father of Superman. Oh and Elliot Stabler was in this. He was not saving rape victims with Benson but rather trying to kill aliens with bullets even though he knows they don’t work. Silly Stabler. Oh, and Michael Shannon is a badass. His face is made for villain-ry.

What I didn’t like…

Pretty much everything else. The story was full of holes. They tried to pack in ALL the Superman lore into a nice two hour plus package and it came off very shaky. Multiple times they had to create a situation where a talking head would come in and narrate a story so we could try to figure out what the hell was going on. It didn’t work well as I was constantly trying to figure out what certain words were or what the hell the Krytonians…Kryptons? Kryptonites? SEE? I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THEY ARE CALLED. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I don’t know much about Superman but geez did they shove that fact in my face. They also, and I don’t see this as a spoiler, killed like a million people. Seriously, Superman with his brash fighting skills ended the lives of women and children and dudes who were getting coffee in an office building that is now toppling over. This happened in “Star Trek Into Darkness” and at least they had the decency to have a scene in which they acknowledge the fact that a lot of people died. Metropolis kinda just went “Well that sucked. Anybody wan to get a pancake or something?” Maybe we’ll get an Academy Award style memorial during the sequel and it’ll last sixteen hours.

It just wasn’t very good. I didn’t like the cheesy dialogue. I didn’t like Henry Cavill’s face. I didn’t like the same blockbuster garbage that seals the fate of promising films with great visuals. It’s like they spend the entire time making sure every detail on every ship is great but forget to write a story until it’s Monday morning and your homework is due first period. It didn’t work for me in High School and it won’t work on a 250 million dollar film.


Film Review : The Amazing Spiderman (2012)

IMDB Score – 7.1
RT Score – 73%

Superhero movies. Honestly, I can’t grasp my head around them. Part of my brain says they’re horrible and will continue to be horrible if directors continue to please the executives instead of the fans. Part of me says that in the right hands these films can produce great results. One Batman film and one Marvel film comprises the top tier. The Dark Knight and The Avengers were really fantastic films that just happened to have superheroes as their subjects. The second tier comprises the first and two Nolan Batman films, the two Tim Burton Batman films, and that’s all. The rest vary from absolute crap to enjoyable but ultimately forgettable movies. It sucks that I can’t get into these films like others do and while I don’t particularly HATE superhero films I just can’t fathom how so much money and time is spent each year on producing sequels and beginning films for countless upon countless superhero films when the end results are usually poor. They’ll keep trying though. Maybe it’s not a bad thing. Maybe I’m one of the very few people that actually want them to give the superhero film a rest for a while but I’m not going to blindly hate a film just because it features a mask hero or somebody with mutant powers.

I didn’t hate this film.

I grew up watching the 90s animated Spiderman on television. To me, this is the definitive Spiderman on a screen. I’ve never been a big comic book fan but Batman movies and the Spiderman TV show are nostalgic pleasures on mine. I found the Sam Raimi films to be pretty enjoyable except the third one which was a pile of shit when Venom wasn’t on teh screen which was criminally too infrequent. I’m not a big Toby McGuire fan though so maybe I was a bit biased. Andrew Garfield takes the reigns here and did an okay job. I actually thought he acted decently, well, maybe for this one scene where…well, I have no idea what he was doing in this. Like, seriously, what is this?

That got a great laugh out of me. Just look at his face. It’s just so funny.

The film focused more on the relationship between Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy which I believe holds to the comic way more than the Raimi films did as Gwen Stacy wasn’t really even in those films. Emma Stone was a miscast though. I think she’s a great actress but she is not a seventeen year old. She doesn’t look like she’s seventeen. The fact that was was seventeen in the movie is a farce because no seventeen year old talks, acts, dresses like that or works as an intern at a scientific research facility. It just doesn’t happen that way. The rest of the cast was filled with great actors in forgettable roles which best describes the film as a whole, forgettable but it was fun while it lasted. There were some pretty good set pieces, particularly any scene featuring Spidey and The Lizard. I’d say it’s pretty much on par with the first two Raimi films as it’s kind of the same movie for the first two thirds. Peter gets bullied, gets bit, beats up bullies, avenges Uncle Ben sort of, figures out “hey this is fun”, shit goes down, saves the day, sort of gets the girl sort of.

All for the price of millions and millions of dollars. I hope Marc Webb directs his sequel a little bit more differently for all the money that has been poured in it. That’s the only way I’ll say that I was generally impressed with a super hero film. You have to do something different.


Film Review : The Avengers (2012)

Netflix Instant Watch
IMDB Score : 8.3
RT Score : 92%

So I waited a long time to finally sit down and watch the money making phenomenon that is this film. I shouldn’t have waited so long because that was an epic action film. I’m film geek. I appreciate the art of independent films and the culture of foreign films. I find most big budget movies to lack in mostly everything except the amount of money poured int it hoping it’ll return that sum with greater numbers regardless of whether or not it’s a good film. I do however have a small window where the big budget films made with heart and care can squeeze in and nestle themselves with the rest of the films I enjoy. The Avengers is right there. I thought it was great. Joss Whedon prides himself on great dialogue without going into Tarantino territory. The film was funny, had heart and morals, and did something that rarely happens with me…CARE ABOUT SUPERHEROES. I haven’t seen Thor. I had no interest in Captain America or The Green Lantern. I thought the first two Spiderman films were okay and the third an abomination. The non Raimi Spiderman looked okay but again, no interest. I saw the first two Iron Man movies and only liked the first one. Basically what I’m trying to say is that I don’t care much for anything super hero related that isn’t Batman. I love Batman. The Avengers will never reach the spot where Burton and Nolan’s Batman films have rested but it has found a spot to call it own. That being said I think that Whedon made a film that is meant to be seen by everybody hence how it made so much money. Tom Hiddleston was great as Loki and the whole Avenger cast was perfect even though Scarlett Johannson can’t act for shit anymore. I loved the middle hour full of dialogue and plot development. I was giddy during the final act where all hell broke loose. I enjoyed the film guys. I enjoyed the shit out of a Marvel super hero movie. That’s a marvel in itself.