Monday, April 29, 2013

Iron Man 3

Iron Man 3 is a fucking awesome summer blockbuster and god damn this is the best movie I've seen this year and that was hard for me to say. This is the most well rounded comic book film I've seen in a long while and I think it is as good as History of Violence and Sin City. Every single thing in it is fucking perfect. Everybody has a job to do, and they do it well. Tony is great, duh, Pepper is great, Happy is great and Rhodey is great. The first act is so riveting, and is the best first act of any Marvel film, ANY Marvel film. It has one of the coolest scenes in recent history and is chopped full of so many small little intricate details. It certainly has more tension and better drama than the Avengers, and may be the best in the series. Downey is as good as ever, and it's always a pleasure seeing him in the role that reinvigorated his career. You'd think that after seeing him in the same role 4 (5 if you count The Incredible Hulk?) that the novelty would wear off, but he is better than ever. It's nice seeing an actor that really cares about the role that he is in for a long haul. He is the core of this series, and frankly, its why I keep heartily coming back to it. Iron Man 3 asks, "does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man?", and boys and girls, the man makes the mother fucking suit. Tony kicks a lot of ass in this and does some pretty sweet James Bond work. The villains have never been better, with the exception of Loki, and are a highlight of the film, which is a good change of pace considering the other Iron Man films. Jeez, give Ben Kingsly another oscar. His performance is so amazing in this, and its so much more than you think it would be. I really think Guy Pearce steals the show, though. I really felt bad for him. He became a villain because Tony is/was an asshole and he needs to pay for the person he used to be. Granted he learned his lesson in the first film, but that wasn't enough for Killian (Pearce). He is a personal favorite of mine, anyway, and he is such a fucking bastard in this. While the action scenes are bigger than ever, they never feel extensive. I feel Marvel finally got the formula right for everything in this film, which may be in part to Shane Black's perfect direction and brilliant writing. Joss Whedon is the fanboy's writer/director, but Shane Black is the filmmaker's writer/director. So much is crammed into the film, but it never feels overstuffed. I really never wanted it to end. It is definitely the best of the Iron Man movies, and it feels a bit more mature, not that The Avengers was immature, but this story is a bit more adult. It has a lot of pretty good twists and is the least formulaic of main stream super hero films. Each act is steadily better than the previous and it flows at an exciting and gripping pace. And the third act, ohhhhhhhh boy. I'm really getting tired of saying how great this movie is, so I will just say the third act is brilliant and badass, full of fun quips, some clever surprises and a giant, dazzling action spectacle. It more or less comes full circle, from where the trilogy began, and even includes a cameo from a great character that is no longer with us. It actually plays out like a standard trilogy. All the staples are there: higher stakes, bigger baddies, bigger action, and as always, the past bites the hero in the ass. The whole thing is wrapped up in a nice way that can truly be the end of Tony Stark's adventures as Iron Man, but who wants to believe that? I adore this film and will gladly endorse this as the best film of the year so far, and one of the better movies of this decade. It opens Friday and everybody go see it. One really awesome thing about it, is that it begins with a narration, and it is really cool who he is telling the story to.
    -L.K
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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mud

Mud is a coming of age drama about two boys that come across a man who turns out to be a fugitive. It is told through the eyes of the boy named Ellis who's life is just beginning to come into focus. The film is actually perfect American story telling and I would call it an "instant classic". The story is relatively straight forward and it's a tale we have all heard countless times, but it is told in a way that is fresh and clever. It is classic southern melodrama told from Jeff Nichols, who is one of the best directors in the game, and absolutely understands cinematic story telling. Cinematic story telling isn't about using a camera to get a person from point A to point B, figuratively, its about using all that a camera can capture to bring everything to life to submerge the audience in a fictional and magical world. This is what makes Jeff Nichols such a great director, and in fact, it separates a good director from a great one. A good director can tell an original story in a good way, but a great director can take something that is tried and true, and make it feel fresh. I'm not even going to bother going into details, because there are so many things about this film that help it reach its perfect mark, so I'm just going to sum it all up as brief as I can. The whole film seems to have a running theme of perspective, because how it paints all of its characters, and nobody appears to be right or wrong, just coming from a different point of view. Ellis meets Mud and almost looks up to him, so as he starts heading down the path to manhood, its up to him to choose the correct way to go, either end up like Mud, or end up someway else. Because Mud isn't exactly a bad guy, he just got caught up in the heat of passion, and like I have said before, passion kills. The film is very serious, but Ellis' best friend, Neck bones, brings everything down to Earth with impeccable timing and fantastic comic relief, but not in a wacky way that will take you out of the film. It's almost like The Goonies, but realistic (meaning no pirates). Just kids on a real adventure to help them decide who they will be as men, and along the way learning lessons about life from who ever they can. This is also the inverse of that "movie" beautiful creatures, in that the picture that it paints of the south is very humble, yet it packs a sharp bite, without blatantly making everyone a one dimensional stereotype. The transitions show the surroundings with a majestic grace and really make you appreciate the American heartland in a way Duck Dynasty really wished that it could. This rivals Side Effects for most rounded and tightest film of the year, and may even be better than that, with perfect writing, amazing cinematography, beautiful transitions, and great acting (featuring a brief, but unforgettable, Michael Shannon) that doesn't surpass Take Shelter, but nobody ever wanted it to. It was completely satisfying, and just because its simple, that doesn't mean it isn't complex. My number two film of the year, until I can watch this and Side Effects next to each other. And the message that the film really sends to the audience is that nobody is going to draw you a map, and you have to walk your own path.
     -L.K

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same

What a title, huh? Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same is the story of an alien race that's emotions are literally destroying the ozone of their planet, so they go to earth to get their hearts broken. It is an interesting look at love from the perspective of foreign creatures. Despite all quirks, love is still handled in virtually the same capacity. It has a constant theme of relationships, and not just in a romantic way. The whole film seems to present dating overall as alien, especially how people don't know how to deal with their emotions, but by coming from a lesbian woman's point of view, it dares to try something new and branch out against the norm. Rom Com doesn't have to be isolated to just beautiful 20 something white people with white collar jobs. There are other people in the world. The main draw of the film is the way it is made. It utilizes its low budget like a champ, and is filled with all sorts of charming props, costumes and sets. The directorial style is very much in the vein of Clerks. It has some noticable technical flaws, but it is easily forgivable considering the low budget. It also has a certain surrealistic feel like Living in Oblivion, but comes across like a love letter to Ed Wood like The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, but it has a little more heart. There are two kinds of independent films; There are the standard arthouse films that can be deep and emotionally captivating with powerful imagery and strong metaphors that can be very off putting to the casual viewer, ala David Lynch, or there are films that are just more bold and extravagant with the risks they take that can easily be accessed by the mainstream audience, usually they just fly under the radar, for instance, Take Shelter. This film meets somewhere in the middle. It really feels like a perfect blend of Living in Oblivion, and Ed Wood. It is very much an arthouse film, but it has humor, heart, its a lot of fun, and its a very original story. It may not appeal to everyone, but I say give it a shot, its pretty good, and even though we are all different in how we live and emote, we all love the same way.
       -L.K

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Moon

Oh my god, it's even fucking worse


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Friday, April 5, 2013

Evil Dead

Evil Dead is a remake of the 1981 masterpiece from director Sam Raimi. This is the perfect example of why you do not remake a good movie. Not because the remake itself is a bad film, it just doesn't measure up to the original. Leaving this film, I couldn't help but feel that I wanted to watch the original and I have no desire to revisit this film ever. It had a lot of positive elements to it, but overall was just overindulgent. It was like eating a plate of frosting. Wouldn't you rather have a nice balance with cake? It was just too much frosting. It felt too long and had a sever case of "too-many-endings-syndrome". The characters (overall) were weak and nobody measured up to the charismatic performance of Bruce Campbell. Two characters were good, but the film as a whole felt like it was less about the characters, and more about paying tribute to The Evil Dead. There were nods galore, and it definitely stood out from the original, but the experience isn't as satisfying as the original. There was so much blood and gore, but it was really light on the scares. The story did kind of seem like a metaphor for detox, which I thought was very clever, but then it turns to carnage, pretty quickly. The violence was a bit uncomfortable at times, and that was the high points of the film. In all honesty, the film delivered what was promised, but why did it feel so hollow? Because you are constantly reminded of the original Evil Dead. The perfect example of a good remake is the remake of Fright Night. It pays tribute to the original, but it stands on its own 2 legs, and it does a good job with it. Fright Night isn't constantly reminding you of its source material, and has a decent enough story and fun characters to keep you constantly interested. There were a lot of positive things about this film, including the make up/overall effects, the camera work, the set up and obviously the gore. A LOT OF GORE. But it really needed a Bruce Campbell type to keep us interested throughout the end. The first 2 acts are good, and the third act is tedious. My consensus, if you are looking for a fun horror film this season, you aren't going to do better than this one. It has some pretty disturbing imagery, good gore, and some chilling atmosphere, but the filmmakers should have learned from Gus Van Zant on why you shouldn't remake classics. When you spend too much time paying homage, you lose out on essentials like character development, original story and scenes that stick with you. The film isn't too memorable, but as a horror film, it is above and beyond the average mainstream fare that is released every year.
    -L.K

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