Tag Archives: Science Fiction

The Double Review, A Visually Stunning Mess

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The Double

Directed by: Richard Ayoade

Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor, Yasmin Paige, and James Fox

Richard Ayoade managed to surprise me with his directorial debut Submarine, so naturally I was excited to see what else he could do as a director. Submarine appealed to me based on my love of Wes Anderson, he is clearly had an influence on this film and it can tell. Although I couldn’t get it out of my mind while watching it, I still found a lot to like about the movie. Now The Double feels like another directors work, Terry Gilliam. Throughout the movie I noticed the parallels it had to movies like Brazil and 12 Monkeys. This really made me realize that Richard Ayoade is seriously lacking a style of his own. His movies feel anything but his own. He may be able to direct his actors well and control the camera well but he seriously needs to develop his own style of filmmaking instead of purely homaging other directors work.

Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) sits alone in a completely deserted subway car. He clenches his briefcase to his chest and waiting to arrive at work. An unknown man approaches him and tells him that he is sitting in his seat. Simon looks around and eventually he moves for the man. This shows us just how timid he is and really shows the audience the kind of person he truly is. Even if there is other empty seats on the train he lacks the courage to tell the man to sit somewhere else. He arrives at work only to get his briefcase stuck in the doors of the train causing him to lose it. He arrives at his work only to get declined access. He can’t help but messing up. He goes unnoticed by his peers and the girl he is infatuated with.  We get a good sense of who he is in a span of 10 minutes and that’s one of the film’s strengths.

We soon meet the girl of Simon’s affection, Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), a lonely girl who works in the copy room. He always goes to visit the copy room but never has the courage to ask her out. It is not till a night when a man kills himself in the courtyard in the apartment complex that Hannah and Simon share. Distraught the two end up having dinner together and start to realize that they have a lot in common. A few days later we are introduced to James Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) a lookalike of Simon James who begins working at his job. Not long later he begins to usurp Simon and becoming a formidable force at his job and soon the same thing begins to happen to his life. He begins to go down the dark path of not knowing the difference between reality and what is in his head.

I really enjoy what Richard Ayoade brought to the screen with The Double and even more so with Submarine. The biggest problem with The Double is the story. Based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s short “The Double” it tells the story of two doppelgängers battling it out in dystopian like future, which isn’t quite explained. Nothing is truly compelling about the story itself. It was a rather repetitive shallow story about a man losing his life to a “different” person. Simon would interact with James pleasantly in one scene and in the next he is at his throat, it is just a repeat of the same formula. This happens throughout the entire movie, up to the very expected ending that shows just how unimaginative the story actually is. There is not true depth to the story at hand and if you really want to look into it the entire movie is revealed within the first 20 minutes. With Enemy it left it a mystery while on the other hand The Double gives you too much information.

Some believe this to be a comedy, just like Calvary, but I don’t think I found a single humorous moment. I’m not sure why it is being claimed as one but if that is what people are taking away from this movie that it is fine.

Were the story lacks the technical side of the film is amazing. Even though Jesse Eisenberg is able to convincingly play two different characters. He is both timid and mesmerizing. Richard Ayoade is very competent when it comes to directing actors, I don’t think there was a single dull performance. Given that Ayoade is also a very good comedian and I think it helps his directing and the talent that he brings behind the camera.

Even if I feel that the style of the movie is not his own I do still like the style that was brought to the film. The sense of dread and melancholy is shown very well with the sets and cinematography. One of the highlights of the film is the style. Brazil was a heavy influence on the film stylistically and did add to the film. I only wish that Ayoade would pick a certain style and stick with it.

Though it appears that I don’t like the movie that much given the content of the review I did actually enjoy myself watching it. It has its fair share of problems and I feel the hype for this movie really doesn’t pay off in the end.

Grade: C

Guardians of the Galaxy tops another slow weekend

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It’s official Guardians of the Galaxy is now the highest grossing film of the year but considering just how slow the year has been it’s not surprising. Last year three movie made more the Guardians did at this point. So far the box office has been the worst in almost 20 years. Not a single film has grossed more than $300 hundred million and it looks as if Guardians is the only one going to do so until November comes around.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is continuing to impress and is currently well above expectations but even then $166.4 million isn’t anything to special when it comes to blockbusters. It is doing much better than the first G.I. Joe, which was released at the same time, but not as great as Transformers, another Bay production.

In third place is Let’s Be Cops, which is still over performing considering to horrid reception. With $10.6 million and nearly $60 million total, Let’s Be Cops managed to make back much more than the limited budget and can be considered a success even if it didn’t receive good reviews.

Even this weekends new releases didn’t make a dent. The November Man seemed to be riding off the goodwill of the Taken franchise but didn’t make nearly the money that both of those movies received. As Above, So Below failed to to gross anything of note and even for a horror movie in a summer deprived of horror movies this movie didn’t register well with it’s intended audience.

With Intersteller, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies coming out the box office should make a comeback in a way but this just might be one the worst years for movie, box office wise, that I have seen in a while.

 

Guardians of the Galaxy Returns to the Top of the Box Office

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This weekend was a down weekend for the box-office. Each weekend so far provide some much needed business but not this weekend. Guardians of the Galaxy managed to return to the number one spot at the box office with 17.1 million, after two weeks of losing to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The new releases this weekend didn’t do anything to lend to the already bad summer. If I Stay opened at number 3 with 16.3 million. The biggest failure this weekend was Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (read my review here). It opened at 6.3 million, nearly 13 million under tracking. I don’t see a third film anytime soon consider the budget was anywhere between 50 and 70 million.

The biggest surprise this weekend was the impressive hold of Let’s Be Cops (read my review here). It dropped only 38% to a good 11 million. Considering the horrible reviews I was expecting something much steeper but then again it shows that critical dismissal doesn’t always translate to terrible box office returns.

This officially ends the summer box office. This year has been the worst at the box office in a long time. No film surpassed the 300 million dollar mark domestically and the highest grossing domestic release sits at 251 million. Hopefully the rest of the year can improve but if not than it should be noted that big budget films are slowly becoming irrelevant.

Judy Greer, John Slattery, and more join cast of Marvel’s ‘Ant-Man’

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Ant-Man keeps adding and removing actors every other day it seems. After losing Edgar Wright my interest in this movie has complete shifted. I was hoping that they would go in a different direction but it appears that they are just doing the typical Marvel formula.

Con-man Scott Lang must aid his mentor Dr. Hank Pym in safeguarding the mystery of the Ant-Man technology, which allows its user to decrease in size but increase in strength, from various menaces and plot a caper to defend the Earth.

Directed by Peyton Reed. Starring Paul RuddMichael DouglasEvangeline LillyCorey StollBobby CannavaleMichael Peña, Abby Ryder Fortson, Judy GreerDavid DastmalchianWood HarrisJohn SlatteryGregg Turkington, and Tip “T.I.” Harris.

Rebranding Edge of Tomorrow to Live. Die. Repeat.

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Edge of Tomorrow was received with unanimous praise yet not so encouraging box office numbers. Some believed it to be the title and others believed it to be the marketing in general. It looks like Warner Brothers is fully embracing the name change, which they also started during it’s theatrical run but not soon enough, by completely changing it on the Blu Ray release.

On the cover the words “Live. Die. Repeat” are shown taking up the entirety of the cover while at the bottom it reads “Cruise/Blunt/EdgeofTomorrow”. iTunes seems to be embracing it just as much by releasing it as Live. Die. Repeat./Edge of Tomorrow.

To me it seems completely weird to all of the sudden change the name to something completely different. It didn’t have the best of titles originally but instead of naming it that they should have called Live. Die. Repeat. the entire time because it works well with the movie and describing whats going on without giving anything away. I liked this movie better than other movies this summer, simply for it originality and not some boring sequel that doesn’t impress. The new title is interesting but the time and place that it changed is much more interesting than the announcement of the Blu Ray.