Friday, September 27, 2013

Movie Review - Beginners

This film is an amazingly human film.  It has odd uncomfortable scenes, but there is also happiness, love and compassion.  The film is Beginners staring Ewan McGregor and Mélanie Laurent.

When I picked it up I knew it was not your average Hollywood movie, but it truly surprised me with its depth.  The film follows the events surrounding the life and death of Hal Fields (Christopher Plummer) as see from the eyes of his adult son Oliver Fields (Ewan McGregor).

There are no fancy special effects, explosions, car chases, or expensive costumes.  This film really is all about the story, the actors, and their emotions.  The film time shifts quite a bit between the past and the present, but the flow between time shifts is really well mapped out, so it is easy to follow the story.  It really is quite interesting to follow the path of the story to get to the end of the film.  This film has heart, and it shows in every scene.

Because the characters drive the story the acting is really critical to the success of the film.  The actors certainly did not disappoint you with their performances.  One must really give credit to the casting department for finding such great actors to fit the parts.  The characters are so well thought out, they are complete with character flaws and quirks to boot.  It makes you think that you might very well know some of the people in the film in your everyday life.

I really enjoyed this film, occasional uncomfortable scene aside, it really is worth watching.  I like films that make me stop and think, feel, and appreciate the life we live.  Yes there is loss, and heartache, but there is also happiness and joy.  There is also a sense of wonder, and just being happy with what you have and who you have in your life right now.  I rarely feel that sense of wonder when watching a film, so I try to give credit to the ones that can do that for me.

If you like movies that make you feel something, and take you on a journey, then I highly recommend this film for you to watch.  Plus it would make a good date night movie.  Who doesn't want a sobbing date leaning on your shoulder by the end of the movie.

I rate this film four and a half out of five smiley Mike heads.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Movie Review - Star Trek Into Darkness

This is quite possibly the best Star Trek movie in recent history.  The film, Star Trek Into Darkness.

The plot of this film is amazingly well written.  There are parallels to previous Star Trek films that are extraordinarily well laid out.  When I saw the previews for this film I thought that it was simply a movie about a war (Star Trek DS9 anyone); however I was pleasantly surprised with the events of this film.  Sure there is fighting, and destruction, but what good Star Trek film does not have these elements.

The acting was spectacular.  We have the same actors from the first film reprising their roles as the most famous crew members.  The casting in these films is a stroke of genius.  With famous actors such as Karl Urban as Bones, Zachary Quinto as Spock, and one of my personal favorites Simon Pegg as Scotty.  Having strong actors playing well established characters makes for a very entertaining film experience.  Heck we even have Leonard Nimoy coming back for a cameo as old Spock in this film.  The fact that both of these new Star Trek films take place in an alternate universe from the original Star Trek Series certainly frees the actors to perform these roles in a more personal way.  It means they don't have to strive to perform the roles just like the actors that made the characters famous.

The special effects are just stellar in this film.  Oh how technology advances, you almost feel like you are getting dirty when they are in the volcano.  You can see every bit of dirt and grime and space debris in the special effects shots now.  These sorts of shots were just not possible even three to five years ago.  I do like how they took some creative liberties with the ships and the weapons to make them fit in with our modern style while still resembling the devices of the original series (TOS).  While we are talking about effects, I have to say the transporter is one of the cooler effects in this film.  Redesigned to be something totally unique when compared to the rest of the Star Trek universe.  The swirly yellowish lights are fantastic to watch as the people get beamed off to a distant location.

The costumes in this new Star Trek universe are excellent.  As many other things in these two new films the costumes resemble the uniforms of TOS while still being fresh and modern.  I cannot imagine the amount of costume people they must have to create and fit all of the people in this film.  The main crew aside there are perhaps upwards of twenty people in just about every scene.  This is an insane amount of costumes for one film.

If you liked the first film you will love this film.  If you have ever seen the original Star Trek films then you are in for a real treat with this film.  I don't want to give anything away, but it is pretty great.  Even as a action film set in space it is pretty darn cool.  I highly recommend this film to anyone who likes a great story and powerful acting.

I rate this film five out of five smiley Mike heads for amazing effects, spectacular acting, and a fantastic script.