Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Maze Runner movie review

 Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Ami Ameen, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee, Will Poulter, Blake Cooper, Kaya Scodelano
Director: Wes Ball
Running time: 1 hour and 53 minutes

  It used to be witches and wizards. Then it was vampires and werewolves. Now it's all about dystopian futures. That is where Thomas' story comes to life. In a dystopian future; and more specifically in a maze. Thomas is one of many children who were put in the middle of a maze with no recollection of how they got there or any memory of their past. How did Thomas and the others get there? How could they get out?
  "The Maze Runner" is based on the first book of a trilogy written by James Dashner. Having read the book in question and having enjoyed it quite a lot I decided to go to the movies to see how the words would translate on the screen. This is my opinion on that "translation".
  Since it is in the title let's start with what I thought about the actual maze. So here it is: The maze itself is stunning. The beautiful and tranquil, full of greenery, middle part of the maze called Glade is right out of a nature magazine, while the mazy (not really a word) part of the maze is super industrial and cool looking. There are walls after walls, layer after layer, dead ends and wrong turns and everything looks amazing. Better than I imagined it.
  Now that we got that out of the way it's time to move on to the story line. Like in the book there were some worthwhile moments in a dramatic sense. !!SPOILER ALERT!! If you want to see the moment when Thomas decides to go into the maze to save Alby, it's there. If you want to see the scene when Thomas decides to sting himself so that he can remember, that's there too. Being fan of the dramatic (sometimes even the cheesy dramatic) I enjoyed those moments and scenes, but that's about as good as it goes. Especially for someone who has read the book and knows how everything pans out. I was never nervous or excited; I was just emotionlessly watching a series of events while always knowing the next step of the sequence.

  As you may have guesses already I wasn't a big fan of the movie and one of the reasons why is the lack emotional connection with all of the characters. Even though I had read the book and did like Thomas (and loved Gally) I felt no emotion towards them in the movie. Is Thomas going to get killed by the Grievers? Who cares; certainly not me. A team of good actors playing a banch of characters with no personalities to speak of (the inventors took only their memories, not their character traits supposingly).

  What I would, also, like to add is that not only was I indifferent to Thomas but i, actually, disliked him. His obvious favoritism towards some of the characters was very annoying and at times cruel. They decided that Thomas was going to play God (and by they i mean the screenwriters and even Dashner a bit) because everyone would only try to save certain people from the human killing machines and those people were, always, picked by Thomas. It wasn't as obvious as i describe it but no less frustrating.

  The book is about 376 pages long and the movie is 113 minutes long. That time to page difference really took away from the film for me. Everything that happens in the first 3/4 of the book is cramped into a 45 minute period. I felt that everything happened too fast, not giving the audience the chance to take it all in the way someone reading the book would.

  Another very important flaw that of the movie that i thought was, also, a flaw in the book (maybe even more than the movie) is the ending !!SPOILER!!. I don't understand how could no one figure out for the three years they were in the maze that it was just a test? Or that if you study a maze the same way for three years and you haven't found anything that means you won't find anything for the next 100 years if you don't change something in your ways? (Isn't "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" what they say?)

  And, finally, let's talk about the Grievers and every scene that they are in (which are a lot of them). Everything was too loud, the Grievers themselves were faky gross looking and i was not really scared by them. When i was reading the book i was picturing more of a mechanical invention and if the story was different i wouldn't mind if something wasn't exactly as i thought it would be but seeing as the Grievers were created by people i really wanted something more similar to what i was imagining. Because of their appearance and the way they sounded every scene featuring them felt more like a Sci Fi scary horror film, which isn't what the rest of the movie was.

  In conclusion, i was really disappointed with how The Maze Runner turned out. I don't recommend it to those who have read the book but, maybe, if you are going in cold you might like it.I will, probably, read the second book, not so sure i will watch the second movie.

Score: 42%
Tomatometer: 63%

Courtesy of
20th Century Fox

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Garden State movie review

Cast: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Ian Holm
Director: Zach Braff
Running time: 1 hour and 52 minutes

  It's been nine years since Andrew Largeman has been back home to New Jersey. But when his mother dies, Andrew is forced to go back to his childhood home, his psychiatrist father and his high school friends, for the funeral. You may think you know what kind of movie this is, but it's something completely different.

  Garden State is like nothing I've ever seen before. It's a drama, it's a comedy, it's a love story and it's all those things in the perfect way. I've never seen a movie do so much at once in a perfect blend. I might just started dipping my toes in this infinite pool that is movies, but I can't help being impressed with what "Garden State" achieved. Every type of incident depicted in this film, from the funny to the sad and from the lovely to the tragically horrible, everything is in harmony. There to compliment one another.

  One of the most wonderful things about this movie is how simple it actually is. There is not what someone would describe as a straight line plot. There is just a series of situations during a four day period that serve no higher purpose but they, slowly and surely, start reveling the personalities of everyone involved. In most of the movies "everything happens for a reason"; and people may want to believe that this is the case in real life but it's not. Garden State conveys that reality perfectly.

  At the beginning of the film we see how Andrew Largeman's life is  blank and emotionless. He, clearly, feels numb when we first meet him. So numb, in fact, that he can't even cry at his mother's funeral. But as the movie goes along and as more time passes from the last time he took his prescriptioned medicine, we start to witness subtle glimpses of emotion coming to the surface. We see him evolve from a medicated blank canvas into a colorful painting full of emotion. It was amazing to watch that process.

  Something else worth mentioning is how sensational all of the actors are. When you first meet the characters you may think that they are a type but Braff's writing combined with the excellent performances of the cast bring all the parts to life and give them a refreshing originality and a lifelike depth.

  Now regarding our two leads, Sam and Andrew. I was shocked at the effortlessness and comfort between them. At some point in the movie one of the two mentions how they've known each other only for four days, and I was surprised to realize that it was true. There are movies that you want the protagonists, who know each other for a short period of time, to be in love with each other but you don't necessarily believe that they would and then there is Garden State that you know that the protagonists, who know each other or a short period of time, would be in love.

  And at last, I have to say how fast the time flew by while watching his movie. Garden State was so interesting that I would look at how much time I had spent watching it and it would be 10 minutes and the next moment it would be an hour and the next the movie would be ending and it hadn't even registered in my mind that it was 1 hour and 50 minutes after the first time I sat down and pushed the play button. It has been a long time since I last experienced something like that and I'm glad Garden State came around to remind me of the feeling.

  Garden State is almost perfect, almost. Despite the fact that the movie was so interesting, fast paced and exciting, the first 10 minutes were a bit on the slow side. After that 10 minute mark everything is exhilarating and captivating, but for those minutes I didn't know what I was in for. I was scared that I wouldn't like it and be disappointed after wanting to watch it for so long (that didn't happen if you haven't figured it out already).

  Lastly, because the film was so strong throughout I was a little let down by the ending. I found that it caved into a cliché and it frustrated me since everything else was so innovating. I wish there was a different conclusion (even though I have no idea what I would have liked to have seen).

  In conclusion, Garden State is pretty amazing and if you find the start too slow paced, keep at it; you will be rewarded in the end.

Final thought: I was, definitely, in it.

Tomatometer: 86%

Courtesy of
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Miramax Films

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Two Night Stand movie review

Cast: Analeigh Tipton, Miles Teller, Jessica Szohr, Leven Rambin, Scott Mescudi
Director: Max Nichols
Running time: 1 hour and 26 minutes 

 Analeigh Tipton is just a girl wanting to have fun after her break-up grieving period. So she meets Miles Teller online and they end up hitting off and hooking up. Every thing is going according to plan until Megan wakes up the next morning to find that she is stranded in Alec's apartment with no hopes of going anywhere because of a terrible snow blizzard. And so the one night stand they were hoping for turned into a "Two Night Stand" no one wanted.

  This is the third romantic comedy style movie with 20something protagonists that I've reviewed in the last months, the others being "That Awkward Moment" ( review: ) (which Teller was in) and "Cavemen" ( review: ). And like Cavemen I have to praise Two Night Stand for the chemistry between its leads. They are very cute together. He is funny and dorky-good looking. She is beautiful, charming and has awesome hair. It's a match made in heaven. And fortunately, they are the focus of the movie, unlike That Awkward Moment.

  Another strong, and often missing from this type of movies, element that Two Night Stand posses is that it is R rated and it embraces that. Unlike both of the other movies, sex plays a big part in the film (it is called "Two Night Stand" after all). They do it, they talk about it and they make it important, like it is for someone in his/her twenties.

  And finally, I did enjoy the movie's light, fun and flirty moments. When it's not about something deep and/or serious, Two Night Stand is a good time. It has its funny moments. It has its hot and simultaneously adorable co-stars. And it has a light, refreshing touch to it. All in all pleasurable, until you forget all about it five minutes after you saw it.

  Which brings me to this. Two Night Stand might have its light, unimportant fun but it, also, has its serious, "draggy" moments. The screenwriters try to give the movie substance by making the characters talk about thing like how difficult it is to have your parents still together,in love and how to live up to that and it feels kind of ridiculous. These types of conversations don't go well with the tone of the rest of the movie and they drag it into clichés and stereotypes. I feel like if the film had accepted its more light-hearted nature it would be a better time for the audience and the critics.

  Moreover, something that bothered me with Two Night Stand is the uncharacteristic behavior of Megan and Alec. Would a reasonable and averagely intelligent person break a window and illegally enter someone else's house just to use the toilette? Or call the police on someone they like and get them thrown into jail just so that they can track them down? I doubt it, but I guess everyone threw away their thinking caps in this movie because they do all those stuff without even thinking of the consequences.

  And, at last, yes I have to talk about it. Two Night Stand, like both the other movies (and many more i'm sure), seems to follow the same roc-com formula. From the drug scenes to the serious talks to the last make-up. We've seen it all before. There are so many stereotypical pieces to the movie that anything original Two Night Stand has to offer disappears.

  In conclusion, I can't whole-heartedly recommend Two Night Stand but I can, also, vouch for the fact that it is not terrible.

Final thought: The opening sequence is cute (there is that word again).

Score: 41%
Tomatometer: 33%

Courtesy of

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Some Velvet Morning movie review

Cast: Alice Eve, Stanley Tucci
Director: Neil LaBute
Running time: 1 hour and 24 minutes

  This movie is what we call a 2-hander, so be prepared. What that means is that there are only 2 actors on screen during the whole movie. And when i say only 2, i literally mean 2. There is noone else. In "Some Velvet Morning" 's case our two leads are Stanley Tucci and Alice Eve. He is a middle-aged lawyer who just left his wife. She is the seductive blond that taunts him. It's just the two of them and  the tension is building...

  This is the second Neil Labute film i've seen. The first being Some Girl(s), which i've reviewed for this blog (review: ) and which i loved. His films are very character-driven (my favourite kind of movies) and have a certain simplicity about them that i like. Some Girl(s) was a character study type of movie and so was Some Velvet Morning. So i had high expectations getting into it. And those expectation were met to a degree. But let's get more in depth into my review of "Some Velvet Morning".

  One of my favourite things about the movie was Alice Eve. both her character and her acting. Velvet is an ethereal, effortlessly beautiful (in a way that doesn't exist in real life) blond. She is the woman men fight over and the woman women wish they could be. It was wonderful watching her putting on a red lip pencil and fixing her hair in two seconds while still talking and charming Stanley Tucci with seemingly no effort. To make this character convinving and so appealing for no apparent reasons it was detrimantal to have a great actress portray her and Alice Eve is as good as it gets. I can't imagine anyone else in that role and i am glad Neil Labute couldn't either.

  In a simiral way that Some Velvet Morning is simple because of its limited cast, it is, also, simple because of its limited location (the movie doesn't move past Velvet's house). I have long loved movies that are confident and assured enough to limit themselves to a certain geografic spot and turn that "limit" into a possitive attribute that enhanses the plot of the film rather than hurts it. Examples of this kind of movies that come to mind are "Phone Booth" (which i love), "Exam" (which has its bad and its good moments) and many many more i'm sure.This kind of limitation makes the characters and their interactions stand out more and it gives the audience the chance to focus and pay attention to them and, even, think more about the intricate human mind and soul.To add a minor point regarding the location of the movie i have to mention that i loved Velvet's house. It's beautiful and SPOILER!! even though it doesn't suit Velvet's personality and character it looks like a house used for something like what the whole thing turns out to be, but i won't spoil it more.

  I am, now, going to go more into what eventually happens, which is a major !!SPOILER ALERT!!, so consider yourselves warned. Throughout the film I would start noticing some inconsistencies in Velvet and Fred's characters. Fred would declare his love for Velvet at one moment and seem like he dismissed her as someone deserving of him the next. And Velvet would be fun and flirtatious in the begging as if she didn't know how dangerous Fred could be (which she would if it was real) and be surprised when he did turn violent towards the end. So after a point I was ready to classify Some Velvet Morning as fake and unrealistic, but then the came the end and it all started making sense. Their behavior was neither real nor created by an expert psychologist. They are just two people improvising the best they could, so the imperfections were, ironically, perfect in this situation.

  And speaking of the end, I didn't see it coming for a second and upon thinking about it I realized that I went with it completely. Not only did it take me entirely by surprise but after the initial astonishment I, totally, bought into it. It wasn't just a shock for shock's shake, it actually made sense, in my opinion.

  However, even though the end was intense and "edge of my seat" kind of stuff, the rest of the film comes very close to boring territory. The fact that the plot is somewhat limited leads to a number of moments being monotonous and repetitive. The task of grabbing the audience's attention for 84 minutes with, only, two leads and many conversations is a difficult one and Neil LaBute, almost, fails to complete it.

  Another observation that came to mind after watching "Some Velvet Morning" was that both Neil LaBute movies I have seen seem to have a similar "character plot that eventually grows into a twist" quality to them. I do love Neil LaBute (and not many do) but I would like to see something different from him next time.

  In conclusion, if you are a Neil LaBute fan, like me, you will probably like Some Velvet Morning and if you are not I, personally, think it is worth a watch. decide accordingly.

Final thought:

Score: 74%
Tomatometer: 50%


Courtesy of
Tribeca Film

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Rover movie review

Cast: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson, Scoot McNairy, David Field, Anthony Hayes 
Director: David Michôd
Running time: 1 hour and 42 minutes
  It's 10 years after the collapse. The world has change dramatically. The film starts with Guy Pearce sitting alone, drinking, when his car gets stolen. So he decides to kidnap the only person who knows where the thieves are going, Robert Pattinson, and their wild journey begins. You may think what is so special about this car or what will Guy Pearce do to the people who took it or, even, what has happen to the world? But non of these questions matter. The question you need to ask is what will happen to Pearce and Pattinson's characters during this trip? And trust me you want to know the answer.
  I really liked "The Rover" and one, and maybe the most important, reason is both Robert Pattinson as an actor and Rey as his character. Rey is so pathetic, lovable and sympathetic that I couldn't help but feel sorry for him and wish, with my whole heart, for him to "succeed" in the end. He is not portrayed as a saint but not as the devil, either. He may make wrong choices but he regrets them and carries with him the guilt of his decisions. All of that combined with the fact that he has some kind of mental disability made me root for him all the way to the end.

  Not only did I love the character but I loved the acting. Robert Pattinson made Rey come to life with his constant subtle body movements and, also, the different emotions depicted on his face and way of talking. When his character was hyperactive due to his anxieties, I was hyperactive. When his character was sad because of the abandonment from his brother or the rejection from Guy Pearce, I was sad. He was amazing and I can't wait to see him in Cosmopolis.

  It's time to talk about Eric and Rey's relationship, which is in my opinion, what the movie is all about. What you will learn early on is that Eric is tough and doesn't have any connections with anyone as far as we know. So when he meets Rey his sole purpose is to use him so that he can find his car and then, maybe, kill him, maybe not, it doesn't matter. However, during the period of their very long ride Rey, desperately, tries to connect with him. And at first Eric shot down every attempt Rey made but as time went on and as he saw more of his, borderline stupid, good nature Guy Pearce's character started to feel some kind of sympathy for Rey. I found the slow and very toned down way their relationship  grew, wonderful to watch. it was very credible, honest and, even, heartwarming.

  In addition to the relationship, another strength of The Rover is that it was believably developed. What I mean by that is that, even though, it was obvious that Guy Pearce was starting to see Robert Pattinson in a different, more friendly, maybe even more fatherly way it was never over the top. There were no great gestures on the part of Pearce and the only "movie big" action that happened was because of Robert Pattinson's character and it was logical to the situation at hand and to Rey's character in general. He, may, felt bad for Rey but he was, still, the guy who would shoot someone in cold blood, like he did in the beginning.

  In my introduction of the movie I talked about questions. I thought the way to writer chose which questions to answer and which not to was exactly right. The point of the film wasn't what happened 10 years ago or how the world came to be this way. The point was the human connection between someone that had something happen to him which changed him and toughened him up and someone who felt a deep loneliness and desperation and had many insecurities. The lack of external information made their relationship the center of the movie and brought, even more, intensity to it.

  !!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!! Finally, the last point I have to make about the strong elements of the movie involves a major spoiler, the end (so stop reading if you haven't watched The Rover yet). As much as I didn't want to see him die, I expected that Rey would, at a certain time in the movie, lose his life. And when I say I expected, I am refering to the feeling I had that this would be the case in real life. The very thing that made me love him, his kind-heart foolishness, would be what destroyed him in the end. I appreciate that despite the fact that it wasn't what a number of people would want to see (i.e. me) the screenwriter, still, chose to have it happen.

  However, although The Rover had many strong traits, there were some elements of it that lowered my score. First and foremost the pacing was a little too loose for my taste, especially in the begging. I liked that it had a calmness and a unrushed rhythm in its storytelling but I thought it was too much in the first half of the film. It became tiring until it all came together in the second to third act.

  And, at last, my final "complain" is about the last scene of the movie. I'll try not to spoil it for you, but I thought it came out of nowhere and had no real emotional residue, unlike most of the other scenes of the film. I understand that it was a way to show that Eric had some emotional substance and vulnerability in him, reinforcing the idea that he did, actually, grow to see Rey in a  different light but I wish it had been conveyed in a different and more subtle way, keeping the tone synced with the rest of the movie.

  In conclusion, I really enjoyed watching The rover and I recommend it to you, particularly if you like character based movies but beware that this is not a movie to watch when you are feeling tired and/or ready to go to bed.
Score: 74%
Tomatometer: 66%

Courtesy of
Roadshow Films


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Cavemen movie review

Cast: Skylar Astin, Camilla Belle, Chad Michael Murray, Dayo Okeniyi, Kenny Wormald
Director: Herschel Faber
Running time: 1 hour and 28 minutes
In the mood for a light and hopefully fun movie and after a two-day binge watch of Ground Floor (starring non other than Skylar Astin), last Sunday, i decided to give Cavemen a chance.

  Cavemen is about a group of 20something guys all living together in a loft they, so originally, named the Cave. Our male lead is Dean (Skylar Astin). He is a struggling screenwriter. Our female lead is Tess (Camilla Belle). She is a struggling singer. They are just friends, right? I'll let you guess this one (but i'll give you a hint: it's an easy answer).

 So let's get this review going. The only thing I like and what made Cavemen bearable was the chemistry between the main couple, Dean and Tess. Their banter was fun, light and enjoyable and made it so that I wanted to see them on screen, together. I wanted more Austin-Belle action rather than having a whole subplot about the two other couples and their relatiobships, which were unbelievable and frankly, a little (let's be honest: a lot) annoying.

  Despite my comments about Den and Tess, everything else I have to say about the movie is on the negative side of the spectrum. I'll start with what I noticed the most and what I kept thinking about after the movie was over. The fact that I didn't believe for a second that Austin's and Murray were friends, let alone best friends. It seemed as though Dean disagreed with anything that came out of Jay's mouth. When they were together they looked and acted like people who were forced to spend time with each other.

 Furthermore, as I do in almost half the reviews in this blog I have to mention that Cavemen is as predictable as they come. From the two best friends that realize their love for each other after one of them starts dating someone else to the (extremely stupid "water-on-the-sidewalk") reference in act one that ends up happening in act three, even if it makes little to no sense. If you want to be surprised, this is not the film for you.

 Finally, the most annoying flaw of the movie is the reference I just talked about. The whole mud paddle test is idiotic in and of itself but the fact that it actually happens, especially, in a totally unrealistic moment and way is ridiculous. So to make my point even clearer I pose this question to you: let's say you just saw your boyfriend checking out another woman and you are pissed about it so you decide to storm out and you, accidentily, fall into a dirty, muddy paddle of water that is on the sidewalk, will you laught about it and playfully throw water at your boyfriend, who you were mad at 5 seconds ago? I'm guessing you won't, or at least I wouldn't.So that it happened in the movie is super unrealistic and unrelatable.

  In conclusion, even though Astin and Belle are charismatic in it, Cavemen isn't worth anyone's time, with it's many flaws overpowering the one good thing this movie has to offer.

Final thought/question:
Which is better Cavemen or That Awkward Momment (review: ?
Hard to say, but I have to go with That Awkward Momment because in that movie the friendship between the guys was believable, cavemen doesn't even get that right.
Do you agree with my choice, would you pick differently? Let me know in the comments down below.

Score: 17%
Tomatometer: 8%


Courtesy of
Well Go USA Entertainment

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

22 Jump Street movie review

Cast: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Peter Stormare, Ice Cube, Amber Stevens
Director: Phil Lord Christopher Miller
Running time: 1 hour and 52 minutes

 Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed 21 Jump Street and after hearing great things about the sequel (cleverly named 22 Jump Street) I decided to go and watch it last Saturday night.

  22 Jump Street is the continuation of 21 Jump Street. It stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as two undercover police officers posing as college students . Chaos ensues as Jenko and Schmidt try to infiltrate the dealers of a new drug called WhyPhy and find the supplier. Will they catch the evil drug lord and make the arrest or will they fail miserably and become the joke of the department?

 The main positive attribute that makes both 21 and 22 Jump Street work so well is the incredible chemistry that Hill and Tatum have together. Despite portraying very different characters, the time they spend with each other seems and feels genuine, honest and effortless. I could see this being the way their relationship is in real life.

 Another character I rather enjoyed watching was Ice Cube's daughter's roommate SPOILER ALERT!!!!! (or as I like to call her the villainous mastermind of 22 Jump Street). Her "meanness" and her quippy comments targeted mostly at Jonah Hill's character were funny, very bizarre and very enjoyable and became even better as time passed and we started learning more about SPOILER ALERT!!! her involvement in WhyPhy. All in all a great villain, in my opinion and I would, even, like to have seen more of her.

  Moreover, 22 Jump street is a pretty good crime movie, which is not always the case with movies that are not crime-centered but, still, have a mystery to solve. The solution was not apparent at any point and the red herring was, actually, logical and convincing. It's not the most sophisticated crime film but it is well done, especially for the type of movie that it is.

  And my final thought on the positive points regarding 22 Jump Street is that it kept me interested the whole "ride" through. Even though you will soon find out that I did not love the movie as much as I wanted to (and as much as most people did), I never wanted to leave or regretted buying a ticket. I was, fairly, entertained throughout and I am sure that at some point in the future I will decide to rewatch the film and once again enjoy it (not something I can say about a lot of movies).

  Now, unfortunately, I have to continue with the weaknesses of the movie. The main problem I had with 22 Jump Street is that it wasn't as funny as I though (and heard) it would be. Was it the high expectations I had going into it or was it entirely the film, I don't know but even though I found it quite entertaining I didn't think it was so much laugh-out-loud funny. To be honest, I wish I did.

  And to move on to the second problem I had, I have to talk about the sequel references of the 21 Jump Street sequel. Although I can't say they weren't clever and amusing, I thought that they were more a good idea that didn't translate as well in reality rather than actual jokes. I wish there were more scenes like the poem reading scene (which was awesome and extremely funny) and a little less sequel lines to make the film come together in a funnier and tighter movie.

  In conclusion, I recommend 22 Jump Street but I can't say it's the best sequel I've ever seen. So go in with your expectations in a normal level and you will, definitely, have fun.

Final thought #1: Great cameos. Patton Oswalt is one of my favourites.
Final thought #2: John Abbruzzi is looking good! (a little Prison Break reference for you)

Score: 75%
Tomatometer: 84%


Courtesy of
Columbia Pictures