What I’ve Been Watching

It’s bee a while since my last review. I honestly haven’t seen anything in a theater since It Follows, reasons being that I haven’t found a single thing worth paying money near me. I’m patiently waiting for Ex Machina to come out. In the mean time, I’ll try to keep this thing fresh by writing a bit on what I’ve been watching over the last three weeks. Full reviews will start coming soon.

Tracks
Directed By John Curran

Tells the story of Robyn Davidson, a woman who walks across the Australian desert with her four camels and dog. Really atmospheric. For a movie about walking, the film was able to keep my attention for the entire run length. This can attributed to both the wonderful cinematography and the powerful performance by Mia Wasikowska. I’ve enjoyed her in pretty much everything she’s ever done and films like this only go to prove she’s one of the best young actresses working today. The film was heartbreaking as well as inspiring. It’s on Netflix and well worth it.

Noah
Directed By Darren Aronofsky

I’m not really sure why I didn’t watch this in theaters. I’ve never really been attracted to biblical films, but I’ve enjoyed Aronofsky’s last two films in Black Swan and The Wrestler. I guess the world’s oldest disaster story gave off a lot of “2012” vibes, so I decided to skip it until it released on some sort of streaming service. Netflix has answered that call. The film ended up being pretty entertaining. Sure the plot and themes were heavy handed and clumsily communicated. Sure it managed to piss everybody off. It also utilized some pretty awesome special effects and was able to draw out some great performances from Crowe, Connolly, and Watson. Most of the film was shot with CGI, which is something that I can only fully enjoy every once in a while, I enjoyed it. It’s worth the watch.

Rosewater
Directed By Jon Stewart

I’ve always been a Daily Show/Jon Stewart fan. His first film behind the camera ended up being pretty forgettable. I didn’t understand why they used Gael Garcia Bernal to play an Iranian reporter. I felt they could have been a lot more realistic with the portrayal of what was going on in Iran during the time of the elections. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t wow me at all. If you have the chance, check out the documentary Burma VJ for a real look at what documenting a tyrannical regime is really like. I did however enjoy the Fort Lee joke. Although, since I’ve lived here, I have not once seen these pleasure palaces.

Game of Thrones Season 5

Two episodes in, nobody has died yet. I don’t know if that is awesome or bad. Is that weird? I don’t want anybody to die, but I also love the fact that the show does what it pleases. We’re seeing a lot of different things with Tyrion in hiding, Jon Snow becoming more of a leader, and Dany losing hold of her power. Everything seems to be setting up for a serious season of shock and awe. I love this show.

House of Cards Season 1

What can I say? I’m late to the party. I just finished season one and I’m kicking myself for not jumping on this show earlier. Yes, I know Kevin Spacey is great in this. That’s not why I love the show. The secondary characters are all fantastic. The way these characters along with the entire show is written, gives me hope for Netflix Original content. Orange is the New Black and Bloodlines are also quality television, but this show may be the patriarch. Can’t wait to start the next season.

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.

2/5