entertainment revisited

Photo Credit: hollywoodreporter.com

Her (2013)

Quirky, funny, emotional. The acting is on point and the story is unpredictable, but the most moving part of this film is its level of realism and its social commentary, set in a beautifully created not-so-distant future. Recommended? As far as romantic movies go, Her is set apart in its originality and technological themes.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

Spike Jonze’s Oscar-winning screenplay is truly an experience in itself. At times funny, at others emotional, he maintains a light atmosphere throughout the film like that in most romantic comedies. Even scenes that contained foul language or graphic sexual dialogue were maintained in a humorous light. The story evolves in an original way as well. In terms of the basic story, most people could predict how it goes and ends. What makes this story interesting is how the characters get there. We see them grow in ways we don’t expect and when the ending comes along, it is an emotional one that we don’t know is necessarily happy or sad. It just concludes and everyone can take from it what they do.

Joaquin Phoenix’s performance was central to the film and he held his ground well. His performance is quiet, introverted and alone. Looking at him today, he seems out of place, only really interacting with his electronic devices and video games. Upon further contemplation, it is obvious that everyone acts like this in the future because direct human interaction has become practically obsolete. The challenge with playing a character that interacts with someone that can be heard, but not seen, is in figuring out where to direct your attention on set. Phoenix worked this into his character, first staring at the devices on which Samantha exists, then just staring and speaking in space.

The world of the story is beautifully brought to life. It blends modern architecture with more advanced futuristic styles, but does not go overboard in a sci-fi/fantasy way. For some, the film can feel like it takes place in the present, for others it can feel like the future. Either way, it feels real. It adds to the sense of a story like this becoming reality in the near future. Even in details like the main character’s job, where he makes love letters that look handwritten for other people. In this world, people have become so detached that they can’t even reach out to their loved ones themselves.

At first, Her seems like a romantic comedy with a twist inspired by an episode of The Big Bang Theory. In actuality, it runs far deeper and touches people in a way as real as the characters feel. It makes us question what it means to live and to exist and reasserts the importance of interpersonal relationships in our lives.

Photo Credit: movies.disney.com

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Funny, informative, emotional. This movie may look like a fluffy comedy about a cranky, middle-aged woman and her war of artistic differences with Walt Disney, but in actuality, the emotional life story that inspired the fictional phenomenon is entertaining, deep, and beautifully brought to life by the incredible actors who take on these icons. Recommended? This is a surprisingly impressive movie and it is very fun to watch.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

 

The story of this film is far more interesting than most might expect it to be. The movie takes place at the time Mary Poppins was in pre-production, but features flashbacks to P.L. Travers’ childhood, where many of the influences for the adventures in her books are revealed. (more…)

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Nebraska (2013)

Light, slow, humorous. The artistic appeal of this movie is fascinating and the acting is well above par, but with the exception of a select few funny moments and character nuances, this movie received its classification as a comedy for its drawn out and nonsensical conversations as opposed to its actual comedic value. Recommended? With the exception of its heartfelt base and meaning, this feel-good family comedy is not for everyone.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

The storyline seems a little like Rain Man at times; a man takes an estranged family member on a cross-country journey in search of a large sum of money. The difference here: replace an autistic brother with an alcoholic father; a fortuitous inheritance with a million dollar marketing sweepstakes; and a journey of two men repairing their estranged relationship with each other with one man enabled by his son and his wife to face his life’s former demons. The dialogue comes off dry at times, but story is very touching and relatable. (more…)

Photo Credit: vividlife.me

Philomena (2013)

Emotional, dramatic, humorous. The journey taken by the characters is a fascinating one and Judi Dench perfectly executes Philomena’s more quirky moments where the film would be otherwise very dry. Recommended? This may not seem like the most exciting drama out there, but the story is eye opening and definitely one that should be seen.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

The movie is based on the real life work by Martin Sixsmith about the journey of Philomena Lee in searching for her son from whom she was separated by the nuns at the abbey where she lived when he was only three years old. A few liberties were taken with some characters, but the story is a fascinating one regardless. Bouncing from one of hope to tragedy to determination, Philomena’s journey is unpredictable and entertaining all the way through. (more…)

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Pacific Rim (2013)

Fun, simple, forgettable. While the story is not very original or interesting, the focal point of this movie is the visual effects which were completely on point here Recommended? This movie is fun and should only be seen in a fashion that will best portray the stunning imagery.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

The only real reason to see this movie is for its special effects. From the aliens to the robotic sequences, from the ocean floor to outer space and down to the centre of the Earth, the effort put into the visuals for this movie left for a true success. The fight sequences alone make this movie worthwhile. If not for the visuals, this movie would be no better than the average 80s second rate science fiction movie, for here, the flawed storyline is supported by effects that actually look realistic. (more…)

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Maleficent (2014)

Dark, magical, beautiful. Angelina Jolie was perfectly cast as the title character in this new interpretation of the classic Disney fairy-tale, and while some of the effects were a little dodgy (but not most of them), the story did bring about some noteworthy character traits and interpretations. Recommended? This movie is better than it looks, but don’t expect too much here.

Photo Credit: IMDb

Photo Credit: IMDb

The movie follows in line with two recent trends: strong and independent female leads and humanizing villains that are otherwise considered despicable. The story puts an alternative spin on the classic story of Sleeping Beauty that holds up in consistency with the original Disney film until the ending. The character of Maleficent had a strong build up and journey throughout the whole film that a darker ending may have added to her character more than the Frozen-esque one that was chosen. (more…)

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Air Force One (1997)

Predictable, fun, entertaining. This movie offers no more than the average action movie in terms of plot or development, but it still has some exciting moments and is fun to watch. Recommended? This is a movie which viewers should know exactly what they are going to get out of it. (more…)