Maleficent (2014, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
It was sad to see that another slow summer of movies were coming in this year. I've been so accustomed to having to visit the theater at least every, if not every other, weekend, but nothing too exciting is flooding the summer line-up. The reason I'm bringing this is up is because this is one of the few movies I've been looking forward to. Unlike most movie goers who were excited to see this live action adaptation of one of Disney's beloved, and perhaps one of the most feared, villains on the big screen, I don't recall ever seeing the retelling of Sleeping Beauty, so I had nothing to compare to. I know the basic storyline of it, but I felt like I was at an advantage not having that to draw back on as a couple reviews I've seen mentioned to not compare the two as they are completely different and this is more of a reimagining of sorts. Hopefully, if you haven't seen it yet, please keep that in mind. In short, I really enjoyed this movie. It had a simplistic fairy tale storyline that was easy to follow along and Angelina Jolie nailed the essence of Maleficent. The atmosphere of the movie didn't feel too much like Alice in Wonderland, which was a little fear I had. I could nitpick the story, but I don't feel like it deserves to be picked apart in such a way. Instead, I will mention that the graphics for the three fairies were a little out of place and the personalities were borderline too silly for me. Also, I thought Prince Philip was useless and devoid of personality. Aside from that, I think it deserves the praise it has received and recommend anyone who hasn't seen it to check it out!
Carrie (2013, USA) | Rating: 2.5/5
When I heard the news about this remake, I groaned and rolled my eyes at this contribution to the hundreds of Carrie remakes over the years. Although I haven't seen any of the other remakes, I was content with settling with the original reigning supreme. I picked a copy up from work, wanting to give this retelling a chance, and found nothing groundbreaking. It isn't a bad movie in the least, but compared to the original, it was very unnecessary. Most of the same elements are shown, but there is a shift in focus as well as slight tweaks to making it more modern day with cellphones and YouTube as well as personality traits to the characters. The movie is more brutal and a bit darker in color. The mother is still crazy religious but it isn't as in your face as the original, it is replaced with this awkward need to self harm throughout the film. Carrie ranges from being ignorant to the modern day world to knowing how things work. Either way, for an average film, it's clearly forgettable and a waste of time for everyone who worked on it.
The Bling Ring (2013, USA) | Rating: 1.5/5
From what I can see, a few commenters on IMDB compare this movie to Spring Breakers and I can understand why...a little. There is a common theme of teenagers participating in theft, but that's about it. This movie is based on a true event and it was an interesting film to watch. I came in with no expectations, so I wasn't susceptible to disappointment or overwhelming feelings. The way the movie started was interesting and I didn't know where it was going to go. I was excited to learn more about the main characters, but unfortunately Sofia Coppola only scratched the surface with the topic at hand. I barely know anything about these characters, therefore I feel nothing for them when they break into celebrities' homes or get torn away from their families while being arrested. It's all very superficial and surface based. The editing skims over situations as well and appears a bit too formuliac: characters look at celebrity events online, look up their address, break into their home, escape, insert achieve footage of celebrity, rinse and repeat. It's not that exciting and it's a shame as the characters seem very capable of being these real life people. So, if you want to compare Spring Breakers and this movie, I think Spring Breakers had more to offer.
One Hour Photo (2002, USA) | Rating: 4.5/5
Along with Insomnia, I've been meaning to see this movie with a more serious, perhaps villainous Robin Williams. I enjoy him and his humor, but it's interesting seeing comedic actors you enjoy being quite the opposite like Jim Carrey in The Number 23. Aside from excitement, I had no idea what to expect, which was a very good thing. After I watched it, I was very grateful I didn't watch this at 3 am the previous night because it was pretty disturbing toward the end. This movie is a good example of how to creep out your audience without using gore, blood, or anything like that that's plaguing horror movies now. The psychological elements are more than enough to make you unsettled, yet you feel conflicted with feelings of sympathy and fear as you follow the main character and antagonist (perhaps) Sy Parrish. The story isn't drawn out too long, timing in at a little over the hour and a half mark, and it delves into all the characters properly that you understand their motives, feelings, and so forth. This is a definite watch for you psychological thriller lovers and those who want a break from the blood filled horror films.
Now You See Me (2013, USA) | Rating: 3.5/5
When this first came out, I didn't have much interest in this movie. I didn't think it would be bad or anything, just no interest. The first time I saw this movie was on TV when there was nothing on and to my surprise, I really enjoyed it. So, I decided to watch it one more time and pay more attention to the movie than anything else. To sum it up, it reminded me of Ocean's Eleven with magic. The characters were interesting, but the main focus was the cat and mouse game between the Four Horsemen and the authorities. Learning how they pulled off their magic tricks and how carefree they went about executing their Robin Hood-like crimes was an enjoyable ride, especially when you get to the surprising conclusion. Sure, you might not get to learn too much about the magicians, but I can ignore that and recommend this as simply a good popcorn flick.
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