My movie watching habits are sporadic. I might review recent movies, older ones that I just caught up with, straight to DVD releases, or pretty much anything else.
This selection is of movies that I watched recently. As one of them are currently at the cinemas, there may well be some basic spoilers, but no more than you would get from reading a basic Wikipedia synopsis.
This sci-fi piece was okay. Johnny Depp plays a character working on Artificial Intelligence with his sciency wife, played by Rebecca Hall. Depp’s body gets in to strife and he ends up uploading his…. lets say mind…. in to his AI software creating a kind of modern Max Headroom.
Anyone seeing a cast including Depp and Cilian Murphy and hoping for a good eye-candy session will likely be disappointed other than a few serious pouts.
The sci-fi aspects of the movie work, barely. I think where it really lets itself down is that it really tries to portray the Depp AI as something dangerous, possibly monsterous. But Depp never really comes across like that. It is left to visual effects (of decent quality) to create a sense of the ominous.
Rebecca Hall, whose character really carries the film, does quality work. Unfortunately, her deep and intense relationship with Depp’s character is key to much of the plot. Yet, without spending any time placing that relationship in to context, it becomes difficult to sympathise with her.
Morgan Freeman appears but his talents are largely wasted.
Conclusion: Not a waste of time to watch. Visual effects worth checking out, but had the potential to be genuinely suspenseful or even scary and failed to do so.
Religious stories made in to movies always end up with contraversy. I get the sense that Noah tried to avoid that by going significantly off script from its source material.
This can work. Introducing the Japanese to western religion has spawned any number of anime that range from incredibly clever to incredibly disturbing.
With Noah, all it did was make it hard for me to take the movie seriously. I mean, it had giant rock monsters for crying out loud! They are supposed to be fallen angels, who despite falling from heaven, are the good guys here to help Noah because everyone else basically sucks.
It did make a decent attempt to overlay creationism with evolutionary theory. But it is difficult to focus on that when the giant rock monsters are exploding all over the place.
Add to the fact that Noah is portrayed as a bit of a douche. Russell Crowe does a good job playing an unlikeable character. Jennifer Connelly reminds us how underrated she is. And Emma Watson pops up in a role where you aren’t just wondering why she doesn’t just pull out her wand and shout ‘Expelliarmus!’ I’m not sure Watson was a good cast. While the rest of the cast manage to look like people that lived hard simple rustic lifestyles, she still manages to look like a pin up model wearing burlap.
Where visual effects could have carried the film, they are focused around the giant rock monsters. And mini spoiler alert at the finale when they survive, you are left with the slightly creepy realisation that the earth will be repopulated from a single gene pool. Emma Watson’s babies either growing up and reproducing with their uncle, or siblings assuming Emma pops out a boy or two in the future.
Conclusion: Disapp0inting. Missable.
Liam Neeson is really flogging the 60 plus year old action hero thing. And fair enough as he is doing a decent job of it.
In Non Stop, he plays a federal marshall on a flight who starts getting text messages on his secure official issue phone/blackberry thingy warning him that people on the flight are going to die. He figures out that it must be somebody on the flight hacking in and a fair mix of well paced action and suspense, with occasional flirtations with Julianne Moore keep this one interesting.
Movies based in airplanes often struggle because of the limited range of settings to play out the drama.
Conclusion: Pretty good for an action/suspense film if not particularly challenging to the viewer.
The Lego Movie
Off the bat, if you have ever been in to Lego, you will enjoy this movie. Otherwise, it will probably be wasted on you.
I grew up with Lego. I actually had Space Lego that could very well have been the set that 80s Spaceman Benny and his spaceship designs were based on. So I was always going to enjoy it. Even tiny little things such as the fact that Benny’s chinstrap on his helmet was cracked, just like so many lego Spacemen helmets in the collectin I had growing up.
The Lego movie is, in many ways, a feature length commercial for Lego. DUH!
It is also well written, cleverly voice acted to the point that I actually waited for the credits to check out who did what (some are pretty obvious). And when it is all over, it will make you want to go and play Lego no matter your age.
Voices include Chris Pratt (who is just taking over at the moment. Guardians of the Galaxy is my most anticipated film this year). Elizabeth Banks, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Allison Brie, Liam Neeson, Will Arnett and Channing Tatum all bring their voices to the party.
Conclusion: If you were ever in to Lego, you probably saw it already. Worth re-watching.