Tag Archives: boring

Inherent Vice Review, A Pretentious Bore of a Comedy

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Inherent Vice

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Katherine Waterston, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Benicio Del Toro, and Eric Roberts

There was a time that I thought some directors could do no wrong. I’ve held directors up a pedestal, praising the genius of their work but they gotta fail at some point. Right? When walking into Inherent Vice I was slightly optimistic, I love Paul Thomas Anderson but didn’t like the book at all. It is sad to say that the book didn’t translate well to screen. Anderson returns to a time that he captured so well in Boogie Nights and to a genre that he loved with Punch-Drunk-Love. In a way he combines both of those movies, the strange comedy mixed with a period piece, and tried to adapt a book that was never meant to be adapted. I question the love for this movie, to me it is more a love for Anderson combined with the stubbornness to admit that he isn’t the perfect director everyone thinks he is.

The movie begins with Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) receiving some troubling news from his ex-flame Shasta (Katherine Waterston) about a conspiracy to send billionaire Micky Wolfmann (Eric Roberts) to an insane asylum. Not long after receiving the news both Micky and Shasta disappear without a trace. Doc is the prime suspect but he takes it upon himself to find out what has happened to his ex and her new boyfriend.

After I finished watching this movie, it immediately reminded me of The Counselor and that is in no way a good thing. The Counselor was a movie that used nonsensical dialogue to further the plot, only leading to a convoluted and disappointing ending. Inherent Vice is exactly the same way to me. The dialogue is overwritten to the plot that you completely forget what that began talking about. It is all about these interactions.

Labelled as a “comedy” is a bold statement. I found very little to laugh about. There were certainly funny and entertaining scenes scattered throughout the film but when you add in all the extended scenes of talking about nothing it’s really not effective. Josh Brolin’s character Christian “Bigfoot” Bjornsen provided most of the laughs. At one point he barges through Doc’s door and smashes it completely as he walks in. I found that amusing. I give a lot of credit to both Brolin and Phoenix for excelling in their roles and their presences elevate the movie slightly.

The supporting cast was mostly wasted. Outside of Josh Brolin and Martin Short, no one was utilized to their fullest potential. The 5 minutes that Short was in was exciting and fun and I credit to his zany performance. The female characters are worthless as well. The film is narrated by an unknown female character that isn’t even explained. She pops in and out of the movie as if she had an important role. For the longest time I believed she was just a voice in Doc’s headed. Shasta was an interesting character who is given two big scenes to shine. She mostly opened the story and closed the movie. The longest she was in the movies was an extended nude scene that leads to her telling the audience about the horrible nature behind her recent relationship. It makes sense in the grand scheme of things but fells a little exploitative.

There are certain things that I could praise about this movie. Paul Thomas Anderson is a director who understands the process of filmmaking. He takes on new and daring things and Inherent Vice still falls into the category. He knows what he wants and he gets it. The camerawork is absolutely great. He is always moving his camera in interesting ways and makes for a visual experience. The first scene where Doc talks to Coy Harlingen (Owen Wilson) is the essential visual of a noir film. The score is also effective but slightly too much in certain scenes.

I keep going back to this but everything in this movie felt pointless to me. The interactions between characters and the story itself. What could have been a good movie turned out to be a very disappointing entry into Paul Thomas Anderson’s career.

Grade: D+

Notes on a Scandal Review, A Relatively Boring Execution of an Age Old Tale

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Notes on a Scandal

Directed by: Richard Eyre

Starring: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchett, Andrew Simpson, and Bill Nighy

This movie is really about two things. The first thing is the interpretation of love vs. lust and the second thing is a obsession based off the first thing. This movie has everything going for it; an interesting tale, amazing actors, and a story that hasn’t been touched often. Having never seen it before my thoughts on it remained unscathed. The amount of award recognition that this movie received made me want to see it. Cate Blanchett is a force of nature and I’ve come to enjoy her work very much. After finishing the movie all I can say is that I didn’t like it. It didn’t try anything new and really feels like every other movie that involves a scandal in any way.

Barbara Covett (Judi Dench), a lowly spinster who teaches history at  comprehensive school. When Sheba (Cate Blanchett) arrives at the beginning of the term she immediately connects with her. The two becomes the closet of friends until their friendship is pushed to the limits when Barbara find out that Sheba has been having sexual relations with a 15 year old student. Sworn to secrecy Barbara mustn’t mention it to any one, especially her husband Richard (Bill Nighy). After a fit of rage she lets her tongue slip with a fellow teacher causing a chain of events that lead both Barbara and Sheba to confront their sexualities.

Lets get the good things out of the way first. I think that both Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett give one of their best performances of their career. It is astonishing just how much they add to the movie. Judi Dench has both sincerity and menace that creates a fascinating character that doesn’t get much of a story arch, by the end I feel that she didn’t learn anything and seems like she is going to repeat the errors that she already committed twice before. I feel that she is so far gone in her insanity that there is no coming back and she’ll be the victim of her own obsession no matter what. Blanchett is the one who grows and come to terms with her intimacy issues. She can’t love what she has and she need validation from a younger person to fill the hole that she so desperately needs to fill. By the end she realizes that her family is all that she needs and that’s what makes her happy.

The writing is also top notch. Each character is given a proper arch that really suits their mentality. Without the narration I don’t think we would have realized just how sick Barbara is. It provides depth to movie that was rather conventional. The directing average, Richard Eyre gets the best out of his actors but doesn’t do wonders with the pacing. The cinematography works perfectly for the movie while the score is absolutely top notch.

My biggest problem with this movie is that nothing really happened to move the story along. There are three big moments and they happen at the end of each act otherwise the movie in-between these scenes don’t do much to set up what was going to happen. It is more about the friendship between the two characters but I think the movie would have been much tighter and worked better if they did more with central scandal.

That’s what really is going on during the movie. We see the friendship grow between the two woman and we are revealed throughout the movie challenges that friendship. Obsession is the key theme here. All of Barbara’s action lead more into the obsession that she has for Sheba. We are told that she had a similar relationship beforehand and that’s what leads me to believe that she’ll never learn. She isn’t likable but your don’t need to be likable to be sympathetic towards them. It is revealed that she only did it out of love and desperation to be loved. She is lonely and wants affection and that is something everyone has experienced so I do feel sympathy towards Barbara but I hate everything that she does. Same goes with Sheba.

There is a lot of good things about this movie but the execution isn’t that good. Outside of brilliant performances with interesting themes wrapped around said characters there really isn’t much to this movie. It’s bad people doing bad thing without any redemption or an real arch to their story. I should ask what was the point of telling that story and why should I watch it.

Grade: D+

Who is Marvel’s angry, metal ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ madman — and why does he hate you?

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When Marvel’s The Avengers was first released I absolutely loved it for everything it brought to the experience of going to the movies. After contemplation and rewatching it I didn’t enjoy it that much. Since then I’ve seen 3 other Marvel movies and only being slightly impressed by one. With the next film, Guardians of the Galaxy, I’m hoping for the best but based on my experience I can’t say I’m excited. Now onto Avengers: Age of Ultron. Based on the picture and synopsis I’m hoping that the experience is similar to the first film but this time I’m going to keep my expectations to a minimum just so I don’t dislike it. I’ll give it a chance and hope it is good but only time will tell.

Transformers: Age of Extinction Review, A Glorifying Mess of Mediocrity

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Transformers: Age of Extinction

Directed by: Michael Bay

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, T.J. Miller, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Nicola Peltz, Jack Reynor, Peter Cullen, John Goodman, and Ken Watanabe

To say that Michael Bay makes bad movies is an understatement. He sure knows how to make movies that the general population will eat up and make billions of dollars at the box office but nothing really sets them apart from one another. They are essentially a theme park rides that you enjoy while you are on them but afterwards you either run right back into line or make your way to another ride, completely forgetting the ride from before. I am not a fan of the films that Michael Bay makes but I do respect him for sticking with these movies instead of moving on. He embraces the ridiculous  nature of the Transformers film and to date this is by far his most extreme foray into ridiculousness.

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After the events of Transformers Dark of the Moon the last remaining transformers, Autobots and Decepticons, are being hunted down and stripped to pieces in order for the United States government to harness the power that lies in the transformers. Enter Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), a struggling inventor who stumbles upon Optimus Prime, and his family who end up teaming up with the Autobots to stop Harold Attinger (Kelsey Grammer), Galvatron, and Lockdown from releasing “The Seed”. Outnumbered, the Autobots team up with the Dinobots to stop the imposing threat. 

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I use to love the Transformers movies when I was in high school, lets say that my tastes have changed vastly since then. Nowadays these movies are nearly unwatchable for me. The pointless characters, the terrible dialogue, the bad direction, and overlong running time can’t save this movie from being anything but a disappointment. I mean I wasn’t expecting much but this reached new levels of bad for me. It was almost 3 hours worth of a repetitive assault on the senses. The major problem with this series is that it fails to learn anything from its predecessors. Essentially it is the same movie as the other three. We’ve seen this before plenty of times and, to me, its finally overstayed its welcome. We start with these human characters that we try to connect to, but fail to, and then the plot moves along when the government tries to intervene and now they are on the run. Then the Autobots have to stop the villain from getting it’s hand on an ancient artifact that threats the end of Earth. It’s a template that they use every time for these movies and no matter what they do they dig themselves deeper into this pit that they never will be able to get themselves out of.

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Bay has a way of making movies that no one will ever be able to copy. There is always at least 20 scenes that feature the American flag waving in the back ground as our characters interact with one another. The color palette is so strange that it is hard to tell what world he thinks he lives in. Female objectification is always there, I’m surprised that Cade’s daughter wasn’t a supermodel turned actress. The woman in this are types that usually don’t exist in the real world. There is even a scene that was blocked so suggestively, a shot between her legs as Cade is telling her to put on some real pants, that it is so blatantly objectified the main female character Tessa. These are all tropes that Michael Bay uses in his films. He can even turn one of his most interesting film The Island and turn it into a typical Bay picture.

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That said it is a blockbuster epic in every sense of the words. The action is large and spans longer than any movie before it. The special effects are as incredible as ever and the action just keep going and going until you can’t handle it anymore and then it just keeps giving. It surprises me what Michael Bay comes up with when it comes to action and left me in awe when I witnessed it. I do have to say that both Stanley Tucci and Mark Wahlberg both did great jobs with what they were given and I give both of them credit for carrying a film that I think would have failed without those two actors.

It’s totally my displeasure with movies of this nature that made me dislike this movie, though I can appreciate it for it is. I think if you are looking for something where you can turn you mind off at the door and just enjoy what you see than this movie is for you. Don’t go in expecting the next great movie just go in and let the movie take hold of you.

4.5 out of 10