Saturday, August 30, 2014

Boyhood - Movie review

Welcome to another fun filled adventure with Baatezuu Reviews stuff, typically movies. Tonight is yet another movie review. The movie is Boyhood.

Believe it or not, I actually saw the movie at an honest to goodness movie theater, namely the Alamo Drafthouse. I know that this is a shameless plug, but they are quickly becoming my favorite movie theater. I love the Alamo because they obviously love movies, and they make going to the movies fun again. With good movie prices, and amazing food and drink choices, they are a great location for movie enjoyment. Sorry, I got sidetracked there, on with the movie review.

Boyhood is a movie about exactly what the title says, boyhood. This movie is actually quite unique as it follows the same actors through 12 years of life. When I say follows them, I truly mean follows the same actors as they age. It is truly a marvel to watch the children grow into adults on screen. Mason, the main character of the film, is only 5 at the beginning and 18 at the end.

Life is up on the big screen in all its glory, and horror. There are scenes in the film that are very uncomfortable, just like in real life. As an example, late in the film Mason's biological father is talking to his older sister Samantha about birth control. It is so honest, and difficult to watch, because it brings to mind experiences that I had in my own life. This is the true beauty of this film, that everyone can relate to aspects of it in one way or another.

The acting is actually quite natural and seemingly honest.  Given that the main character of Mason is played by a relative newcomer Ellar Coltrane. Ellar portrays some very intense emotions for someone so young. His facial expressions are perfect for each emotional state the character finds himself in.  There are a couple of seasoned actors in this film as well. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, give amazing performances as Mason's biological parents. Patricia is as powerful as ever in this role of a mother just trying to provide what is best for her two children.  Patricia is no stranger to the role of the strong, powerful heroin having played Allison Dubois in the TV show Medium.  Ethan Hawke does a great job playing the father to Mason and Samantha.  He actually makes you fall in love with his seemingly deadbeat dad character. Kudos to you sir for pulling that off as well as you did.

Costumes play a pretty big part in this film as in other film since it is filmed over such a large span of time.  The actors are always growing and new costumes would have to be found for each section of time being portrayed. I could only imagine the effort that went into choosing the right wardrobe for every time change. Having assisted a wardrobe supervisor on a film, I know how much work can go into picking out costumes for such things. So, I always make sure to give credit to the people who work so hard to get other people dressed.

The music in this film is really spot on. There are many great indie tracks in the film such as "Do you realize" by the Flaming Lips, and "Deep Blue" by Arcade Fire. Music can really set the tone for the emotions that we are feeling in life; such is the soundtrack of this film. Each song seems to add the perfect emotion to the moment. This is not an easy feat as I am sure you can imagine.

If you have read any of my other reviews you know that I am a sucker for personal growth and indie films in general, so it is no wonder that I loved this movie. This would be a great date movie if you do not mind the long run time. This film is three hours and fifteen minutes long, so perhaps it is best that you see it at the Alamo, since you can get food while watching the film. On the plus side you do not have to worry about your date seeing you stuff your face since you would be eating in the dark.

I rate this film five out of five smiley Mike heads. The deep characters, with all their flaws are compelling, and amazing to watch on screen. Definitely not a film for the easily bored, but you should find the characters entertaining enough to hold your interest throughout the entirety of the film.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Adult World - Movie Review

Those of you who have read my past reviews are aware that I do not always review the most popular movies, and this film certainly is no exception to that rule.  The film is Adult World.

It feels like someone should shine some light on the smaller budget indie films.  Come with me if you will as I cast my light upon this film of life, personal growth, and an adult video store.

This film really captures what it feels like to graduate high school and head out into the world.  You are so full of hope, promises, and ambition, but have no real idea where to apply it.  Such is the case with Amy () who is desperately trying to become the next Sylvia Plath.  Amy is confident that she is the greatest new poet that the world has seen in the years.  Her path leads her to two unexpected turns in her life.  The first is a job at an adult video store, which is rather amusing since she is a very naive young woman.    The second turn comes in the form of Rat Billings ().

With her parents pressuring her to get a job, Amy, rejected by several other places sees a help wanted sign on a building and walks in to enquirer about the position.  When she walks in she finds out rather quickly that it is an adult video/toy store.  Amy's initial reaction to the store is quite entertaining to say the least.  Rat is a published poet which Amy becomes enamored with.  She ends up meeting him at a book signing and eventually follows him home.  Amy becomes a bit of a stalker until Rat agrees to let her become his assistant.  Rat is quite tactless when it comes to delivering advice.

The film has some spectacular acting.  John Cusack is perfect in the roll of Rat Billings.  His intensity as an actor lends itself to the roll.  Any lesser actor would not be able to accurately portray the depth of this particular character.  Emma Roberts is a surprise to me, as I have never seen her in other movies before this one.  At twenty two she was able to portray emotions that elude older actors.  Armando Riesco as Rubia, was very kind and funny, and Chris Riggi as Josh was both gentle and stern.

The sets were well planned out, and always felt natural to the environment they were portraying.  The costumes were well thought out for each character.  The script was well written, and it has character progression, which is one of my favorites in a film.

Overall it was a solid indie film with lots of heart and heartache.  This would be a great film to see with a date.  It should generate lots of great conversation after the film is over.  While I have seen better indie films this one certainly has a lot to offer the viewers. 

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

I hope you enjoyed this review, feel free to leave comments below. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Warm Bodies - Movie Review

Who knew that a zombie movie could be profound, but this one was.  The movie is Warm Bodies.

It starts out rather awkwardly, following R.  Why is his name is R, because that is all he can remember of his name.  This is the perfect back story for lead character.  Video games have been using the amnesia thing for years.  If you are an role-playing game fan you will know exactly what I am talking about.  At any rate during an average food run in the city R comes across Julie.  There is something about Julie that changes R's life forever.

I find it extremely interesting that the film makers choose to tell the story from the viewpoint of the zombie.  It is something I have never seen done in a movie like this before.  The scary thing however, is how much I can identify with R's way of thinking at the beginning of the film.  There is a moment in the first 15 minutes of the film where they do something brilliant.  R thinks back to how it must have been when people were all alive, and could easily communicate with each other.  Then a flash back shows us the airport R lives in full of living people walking around staring into their smart devices not interacting with each other at all.  Almost like they were themselves zombies, huh, imagine that.

Social commentary aside, this film is truly exceptional.  The sets, are well done, and typical post apocalyptic fashion.  You have burned-out, smashed, and destroyed cars, dilapidated houses and building, pretty much everything you would expect from this type of movie.  Although in other scenes you find abandoned houses that look like the people just left one day.  The scenery really does a great job setting the mood for this film.

The costumes in this movie were also well thought out.  The zombies were all dressed in filthy tattered clothing, while the humans were dressed casually with function in mind.  After all the humans are busy fighting the zombie apocalypse.  You will look chic in these fancy designer jeans while you are smashing in zombie brains.  In all seriousness the costumes were correctly designed for each character.  Although, I can imagine the room full of people rubbing rocks and dirt over clothing to create the look for the zombies.  It is an amazing effect and makes for the perfect looking zombies.

The special effects in this film do not disappoint.  Perhaps the best piece of special effects wizardry is the Bonies.  The Boneies are things of nightmares brought to life by CGI magic.  These are the zombies who have completely given up hope on life and shed their skin to become nothing more than twisted black walking skeletons that eats the living.  Every piece of CGI is used to help tell the story.  It never feels like they are just trying to use up their graphics budget.

Speaking of the story, I will say that the writers did a good job conveying their message.  For me personally, this story was a touching tale of being kind to each other and accepting of our differences.  While this is not a unique message, it is certainly told in a pretty unique way.

For the first time ever, I have consulted with someone else to determine my rating for this film.  While my initial reaction had me rating the film much higher, speaking with my consultant made me see some of the cracks in the shiny exterior of the film.  The biggest issue is the amount of weight put on the love story.  Although some may not find issue with this you will understand what I'm talking about after you watch the film.

As my consultant stated, it is a date night zombie film.  There is something for everyone to love.  If you love hardcore gritty zombie films there is something there to keep you entertained, but it is not action from beginning to end like some others I've seen.  If you hate zombie movies this one might just change your mind.  OK, that may be a bit overstated.  I can say you will at least enjoy this film.  How about this, it has a love story, but it is not so sweet you want to vomit it back out and then burn the vomitous mass into a charred lump, and then bury that lump in your neighbors back yard.  Perhaps that was a bit much too.  I think you will like it.

I rate this film four out of five smiley Mike heads.  I was initially teetering between four and a half or five smiley Mike heads, but as stated I reassessed this rating when talking with my consultant.