5 Quick Reviews of 5 Movies on DVD (Past Due Edition)

This month’s DVD reviews, like last month, is also a mishmash of DVD’s and screeners that I should have sent back already. But I’m almost caught up so bear with me.

And yes the new book is coming along nicely, thank you.

Halle Berry

“I’m beautiful and with the press. Can I read the first draft of your novel?”

No you can’t.

But I finally finished Cloud Atlas and Life of Pi; Two films that I fell asleep while watching more than once. So here are the reviews. Better late than never.

First up..:

Life of Pi (20th Century Fox)

life-of-pi

Directed by Ang Lee

Written by David Magee from the book by Yann Martel

Starring Suraj SharmaIrrfan Khan, Tabu, Adil HussainRafe Spall & Gérard Depardieu

Life of Pi is a fairytale for most of the film. A great story for most of the film. And even though the main character is infuriating for most of the film, I found myself really entertained for most of the film. A great story with great special effects and some great non-human cgi characters.

Life of Pi

Life of Pi is the story of young man stranded on a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean with a dangerous animal. It is life affirming and beautiful. Well directed and gorgeous. With only a few major flaws.

Pi

I didn’t like the fact that an older version of the main character was telling the story years later because that always takes away from the sense of danger and jeopardy. We know he survives because he’s telling the damn story.

Tiger

But my main problem with the film came at the wishy-washy end. MILD SPOILERY RANT ALERT– I didn’t like the way they take back the story at the end, in this strange and eerie straight into the camera confession that I could have done without. I liked the Jungle Book feel of the movie but then they take that away from you and then after taking it away from the audience, they try to give it back. PICK A SIDE. Fantasy or tragic reality. Screw you guys. END SPOILERS

Sleeping Tiger

The ending left me annoyed because instead of riding the line between fantasy and reality they try to play both sides. It ruined the movie for me.

Rent it (Because maybe the ending won’t annoy you as much as it annoyed me)

What do you want, Halle?

"I'm not Halle Berry. I'm a white woman. I just want to read your first draft."

“I’m not Halle Berry. I’m a white woman now and I just want to read your first draft.”

Still a no. But nice try.

Next up…

Cloud Atlas (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Cloud Atlas Poster

Directed by The Wachowskis & Tom Tykwer

Written by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer & Andy Wachowski Based on the book by David Mitchell

Starring Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Ben Whishaw, James D’Arcy, Zhou Xun, Keith David, David Gyasi, Susan Sarandon & Hugh Grant

Cloud Atlas is a fantastic story and an extremely ambitious movie. I really liked it even though it was hard to follow the first time I watched it (without falling asleep) and so much better on the second viewing.

cloud-atlas-somniIt tells several stories at once. I suppose they are all the same story in a way. A love through multiple lives; Distant past, past, recent past, future and distant future. It is very cool and visually stunning and made me wish I had read the book first because there is so much here and probably so much missing.

Cloud Atlas

My recommendation to you guys is; Don’t make the same mistake I made. Read the book first. Read the book Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I hear it’s really good.

cloud-atlas-wbp03

“I’m going to read Mel’s book. You know.”
“I know.”

Cloud Atlas is an epic and beautiful story.

Rent it (I will be buying it because I will be watching it over and over again)

Next movie…

Dead Man Down (FilmDistrict)

Dead Man Down Poster

Directed by Niels Arden Oplev

Written by J.H. Wyman

Starring Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Dominic Cooper, Terrence Howard & Isabelle Huppert

Dead Man Down is gritty and intense. A good revenge story directed by the man who brought us The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and Written by the writer and showrunner of the amazing FOX sci-fi drama Fringe.

Noomi Rapace and Colin Farrell

Actually Dead Man Down is two very different revenge stories: A man trying to avenge the murder of his wife & child and a woman trying to get payback for the accident that scarred her face.

ColinAlthough I could have done without the “monster” bit of her story; With the neighborhood kids calling her “monster” and stuff. It was a bit over the top to me. Had she instead been a child herself and there been no potential love story between the two, It would have made more sense to me. I think the story would have worked better had she been a juvenile and he were taking care of her like his daughter.

Terrence-HowardHowever, that is not the story. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a good story as is. I just think an adult with scars on her face is not tragic enough to merit a revenge fantasy… unless it’s a young girl. Then all of a sudden the OTHER kids calling her names makes sense. They would not be insulting an adult and there would have been a better dynamic between the two leads.

Dead-Man-Down-15Dead Man Down is still a lot better than I thought it would be. And has some exciting action and gunplay and real tension. It’s a good movie.

Rent it (It’s pretty good)

Ok what’s this now?

"Can I read it now that I am an elderly diminutive doctor?"

“Can I read your novel now that I am an elderly and tiny Asian doctor?”

Uh… hell no. And Halle, you’re scaring me.

To the next movie!

G.I. Joe: Retaliation (Paramount Pictures, MGM)

g.i._joe_poster

Directed by Jon M. Chu

Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick based on G.I. Joe by Hasbro

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, D.J. Cotrona, Byung-hun Lee, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce, Ray Stevenson & Channing Tatum

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a stupid movie from the first frame to the last. So unbelievably stupid. It boggles the mind how stuff this bad gets made. Doesn’t anyone read the script? I swear it’s as if, because it’s a toy franchise, like with comic books or young adult fiction, it’s hard to find creatives who take the title seriously.

gijoe2_image2

The campy stuff is already in there. It’s in the source material. The creative team needs to supply the realism. They need to take it seriously. This script seemed like it was penned by people who didn’t want the job and hated themselves for taking it.

Channing and The Rock

G.I. Joe: Retaliation is pure garbage.

Skip it

Lastly something surprisingly good…

Oblivion (Universal Pictures)

oblivion-main_1

Directed by Joseph Kosinski

Written by Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek & Michael Arndt Based on Oblivion by Joseph Kosinski & Arvid Nelson

Starring Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo & Morgan Freeman

Oblivion is the quintessential Tom Cruise  Science Fiction Movie. Tom does good sci-fi. And this is a good sci-fi film. Great story. Great plot twist, that I did not see coming. I won’t even hint at it because it’s just too good.

Tom-Cruise-in-Oblivion

Oblivion has good performances from the entire cast, although I thought Morgan Freeman was a bit underused. The steam punk costumes were pretty cool. The action sequences are mostly aerial battles but they are “Star Wars” cool as well.

Tom-Cruise-in-Oblivion-2013-Movie-Image2Great visuals. Great music. This is a good film. Definitely worth the two hours. Not extraordinary, but enjoyable, entertaining, thought-provoking… all that good stuff. Nice special effects. Nice future tech. Not the best direction. Not even the best screenplay. But the story more than makes up for those failings.

oblivion_4

I recommend it highly. It’s a great Science Fiction story.

Rent it (I might just buy it)

So to the recap…

Oblivion is based on a Graphic Novel and it is very good but now I need to read the book.

Cloud Atlas is based on an Epic Sci Fi Novel and it is extremely good but I wish I had known to read the book .

Life of Pi is based on a Fantasy Novel and it is pretty good until the end but I think I should just read the book.

Dead Man Down is based on revenge and it is a very good revenge tale and that’s all she wrote. It’s an open book.

And G.I Joe: Retaliation is based on a toy, it’s not good at all and I could have spent the two hours reading a book.

"Wait! How about now as the hottie from the future. You're going to let me read it now aren't you?"

“So Mel, now that I’m a hottie from the future, you’re going to let me read that first draft aren’t you? Aren’t you?”

Yes… yes I am. You know I can’t refuse such a futuristic cutie like you.

As for the rest of you… until next time.

I remain your humble blogger,

– Mel

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