Category: Films

Jumper Review

Jumper

Jumper is a pretty interesting concept for a film. If you are a Jumper then all you have to do is think of a place and that’s where you teleport. Makes watching TV very difficult though. Watch a disaster movie and it’s like “Oops I fell into a volcano.” So it’s not something you want, but the travel would be nice.

 

The film follows David Rice (played by Max Thieriot and also by Hayden Christensen) as he discovers his warping powers after falling into a frozen lake and almost drowning. He runs from his dad and robs a bank, getting a place of his own. The film then jumps 8 years into the future. There’s no reason for it to be 8 years in the future, but it is. Anyway he meets up with childhood sweetheart Millie (Played by AnnaSophia Robb and also by Rachel Bilson) who wanted to travel the world, so they go to Rome (On a plane of all things).

 

However he isn’t the only Jumper, there are lots of them (Well, we see about three or four of them in the film in total). There are also a group of people who kills jumpers called Paladins. The main Paladin is called Roland (Played by Samuel L Jackson). The Paladins’ jobs are made more difficult because most of the time whenever they get a tip off, they are led to the location of a woolly jumper instead (That’s definitely in the movie). Naturally in several points of the film, David and Roland meet up because Roland finds out that David robbed the bank and therefore is now trying to kill him.

 

Despite being the protagonist, David Rice is the least interesting main character because we don’t really get to find out what he is thinking most of the time other than through his actions. Yes he is immature and naive, but that doesn’t necessarily make for a compelling character because we don’t get much insight. The story probably would have been better off being told through the point of view of Millie because unlike him she says what she is thinking. There is another Jumper character called Griffin (Played by Jaime Bell) who says what he is thinking. The writers probably thought that some people would prefer Griffin to David because of his Anti-Heroness, but I prefer him to David because Griffin occasionally makes sense. Yes I know that David is supposed to be new and inexperienced, but it took him 8 years to find out the existence of other Jumpers. You can’t do something for 8 years and still be new.

 

There are parts of the plot that just don’t work. For example later on in the film (This isn’t a spoiler) we find out that David made his first jump when he was 5. Who doesn’t remember what they were doing when they were 5? Also at the beginning of the film David tells us that his dad is not a very good parent so I presume we are supposed to dislike him, but we don’t see any examples of bad parenting from him. The film even gets us to like him later on, so I’m not entirely sure what I’m supposed to think about him. Maybe in the novel you can read about him being a bad parent, but I’m not reviewing novel/film combos. If it’s not in the film narrative then it’s not in the film narrative, and I’m not going to check the novel. The novel doesn’t even sound that good because for the plot to work, most people in the film can’t know what Jumpers are, which considering that Paladins have apparently been after Jumpers for centuries sounds a bit silly. Even Griffin, a savvy jumper, jumps right in front of hundreds of people in the film, and possibly in front of thousands over time.

 

That all said there are some brilliant set pieces in the film. In the beginning it promises to take us to great locations and it delivers. There are some really good action sequences, especially in the last third. I enjoyed watching the technology the Paladin’s use to catch and kill the jumpers, even if they wouldn’t all work in real life and the Paladins being able to use them come out of nowhere plot wise. It’s really satisfying to see the characters jump from place to place. There’s also nothing really awful about the film, but considering that I need to say that just to raise some expectations is a bit sad.

 

The reason why the good stuff about the film is squished down here is because it’s really good at what I don’t prioritise – the action sequences and it’s quite difficult to describe them in text without just telling you what happens. The basic idea is good and the action sequences are fantastic. But the writing needs some work. This film is enjoyable, provided that the main character doesn’t annoy you too much. I’ll give Jumper a 6/10, and just hope that rating doesn’t seem too out of place considering my review.

 

6/10

The Huntsman: Winter’s War Review

winters-war

Neither of these two are the main characters of this movie.

The Huntsman: The Winter’s War is a sequel/prequel to a movie I barely remember. There were two Snow White movies in close proximity to each other, and I preferred the other one (Mirror Mirror) because despite the lower budget, the characters and events were more entertaining. I’m not doing spoilers, but this movie has a lot of back story so let’s go.

So Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron) from the first movie had a sister all along, whose name is Freya (Emily Blunt). The Queen doesn’t believe in love and Freya wants to prove her wrong by falling in love. So she falls in love, but the guy burns part of the castle and kills the queen, but the killing part isn’t made clear until later on in the movie. Maybe it was clear to other people, and maybe they said that and I wasn’t paying attention, but all I saw was that the guy burnt part of the castle and I was like “huh?” They could have told that part better.

Anyway Freya runs off to the North and makes her own kingdom and turns it into a land of ice, because she has ice powers somehow.  Maybe she should have been called Froyo. She puts in a law that makes it illegal to fall in love. She kidnaps children and raises them to become her army. They grow up and two of them fall in love. One of them being the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) and the other is Sara (Jessica Chastain) who gets killed early on because Freya finds out via one of her owl spies and creates an ice wall between them. The Huntsman (Who is called Eric during informal events) has no choice but to watch one of Freya’s soldiers kill Sara.

Finally we get to the bit after the first movie. The Magic Mirror that Snow White now has has been stolen, and she sends the Huntsman to get it back. She sends a couple of Dwarves with him. Maybe she should have kidnapped children and raised them to become her army. I know it’s not heroic, but it’s still better than sending out a couple of dwarves. They also meet a couple more dwarves, but these ones are women.

Chris Hemsworth is good as The Huntsman, the dwarves are entertaining even if they just serve as characters for the Huntsman to talk to. There’s a line about female dwarves being ugly that doesn’t have anything to do with the rest of the movie. It could have been used as character development, but it isn’t. Freya just looks glum throughout.

Kristen Stewart does not appear as Snow White in this movie. She’s referred to several times, and she’s the one who sends the Huntsman on his quest. I think we even see the back of Snow White at one point. But Snow White is not in this movie, and it really needed her. If they were going to have somebody play her back half, then they should have had someone play her front half as well. Preferably the same person both sides. It feels weird to have people talk about her and then have her not show up.

The mirror is supposed to be important. We know that the mirror can tell you things, but we are aware that it can do something else because we see the effect it can cause. We don’t find out what that something else is until later, but it’s not presented to us in an interesting way. The creatures that guard the mirror, they are foreshadowed in an earlier line but we don’t know anything about them other than what we initially see, then they disappear for the rest of the movie. It should be an important scene but we aren’t given a reason to care or feel excited and so I felt bored.

The twist near the end, while silly, does mean that there is some reason to feel invested at the end. This movie is ok, the characters are entertaining, but most of the plot isn’t. I’ll give it a 5/10 because while there is nothing I can hate about it, it should have been better.

 

5/10

Rewatching Lord of the Rings: A Fellowship of the Ring

The first time I saw The Lord of The Rings was when I was probably under 10, I went downstairs for something and I saw my parents watching the extended edition DVD. I saw a few shots of the opening battle sequence, and I hadn’t watched anything like it before. It looked impressive and the sound was amazing.

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We watched The Fellowship of the Ring as a family a day or two later and I remember enjoying it. But obviously as I was younger I didn’t really understand all of it. A lot of the fantastical elements went over my head, which makes sense because half of the words were made up. I didn’t really watch the other two films properly until years later because I didn’t have the attention span, but my sister explained a some of the film to me. For example I saw Gollum and she told me that he used to be Smegal, which really fascinated me as a kid.

It’s fascinating rewatching FotR now after seeing The Hobbit. Of course they didn’t know that Martin Freeman was going to play Bilbo so it’s Ian Holm who finds the ring, even though Gandalf says that Bilbo hasn’t aged a day yet The Hobbit is obviously in cannon with this. Also Legolas has light blue eyes in The Hobbit but brown eyes in LotR. And then I found out that Legolas was always supposed to have brown eyes but they kept forgetting to put his contact lenses in. Rewatching the film is a bit weird, is what I’m saying.

Even bland statements such as “Tell me, where is Gandalf? For I much desire to speak with him” have become funny thanks to this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uE-1RPDqJAY (The video is almost 10 years old btw). Also I just to think Gandalf was awesome, but now not so much. Let’s see, he gets kidnapped in The Hobbit, kidnapped again in FotR and then he gets killed by the Balrog. Well not really. Instead he turns into Gandalf the White (I don’t remember how that happened, all I remember is that it was very silly. It was fine when all the fantasy characters all hit each other with sticks, but then it got silly.). Also he didn’t tell the Fellowship what was in the mines of Moria, so it’s like yes, of course they are going to think it’s better than a snowy mountain of pain. Now when Gandalf does something dumb I’m like “Freaking Dumbledore!”

But the film is still entertaining to watch, and now I’m older I can understand the whole Aragon king sub plot properly because I’ve seen all three films. I hope I get enjoyment from the rest of it. Actually I know I will, because Gollum is coming up. Potatoes Aye!

Why Doctor Who is Much Better Than 2001: A Space Odyssey

I’m going to answer a question. Why doesn’t everyone like what has been proposed by critics to be one of the greatest movies of all time?

2001 space

I wanted to like 2000: A Space Odyssey, I really did. I thought the scenes with the apes were made quite well. The sets were all very impressive. But the whole movie ended up being really boring for me. However the biggest problem for me is that this film is something that people are not allowed to not like. What I mean by that is that fans of this film have declared all criticism of this film to be invalid. They say “It’s because you don’t understand it”. As if me reading supplementary material would make me like it. I say no. I shouldn’t have to read supplementary material just to enjoy a film. That’s impractical. supplementary material is fine, however I need to be able to enjoy a movie by itself.

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Dog Day Afternoon, 1975 (Film Review)

I’m a little bit worried about admitting this, but I find that a lot of the ‘best’ films from the 1970’s tend to be too dull for me. They are often slow and I don’t find the characters interesting. Films like ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Get Carter’ are supposed to be some of the greatest films of all time, but they just leave me cold.

When making ‘Get Carter’, Michael Caine said…

“One of the reasons I wanted to make that picture was my background. In English movies, gangsters were either stupid or funny. I wanted to show that they’re neither. Gangsters are not stupid, and they’re certainly not very funny.”

And the film does this well. Maybe a little bit too well…

Dog Day Afternoon

But there are always exceptions. For example there’s Dog Day Afternoon staring Al Pacino as Sonny and John Cazale as Sal. They both play criminals robbing a bank. They aren’t stupid, and they certainly aren’t funny by themselves. However the situations they are in are very funny.

This is based on a true story, so I’ll review the film first and then I’ll find out about what happened in real life afterwards.

What I prefer about this movie to something like Get Carter is that we can see Sonny’s paranoia and desparation thoughout the film. Another partner, Jack, chickens out and leaves straight after they begining. Al Pacino’s reaction to all of the things happening out of his character’s control are perfect.

The film switches between the quiet scenes inside the bank to the loud outside scenes with Sonny jeering on the large crowd in between his talks with the negotciator (Played by Charles Durning). Some of the mob outside support Sonny for reasons unexplained, but I guess it’s because they just don’t like the police. If people did that now then there would be tear gas everywhere.

Despite the fact that they are both criminals, they both have sympathetic qualities. Sal is much quieter than Sonny and is clearly out his depth in this situation. They both don’t want to kill anybody, and the only reason Sonny is keeping the hostages is because he knows that it’s the only thing stopping the police from shooting him. However the film does make it clear that Sonny is a bad guy when we hear how he has treated his spouse. I don’t want to reveal all of the stuff in the film but I should mention that it’s rare for me to be sympathetic to ‘sympathetic’ criminals in fiction. Usually I’m thinking “You just killed a load of people, now I’m supposed to feel sorry for you?”

Dog Day Afternoon 2

Dog Day Afternoon is filmed in long continous scenes, although there are cutaways and a skip to night time. The way the long scenes were filmed plus Sonny’s reactions to the situations are what kept me interested in the film the whole way through.

I’ll give this movie a 9/10 because of how well it caught my attention during the entire 2 hours.

I found this written piece from 1977 from the man who commited the crime in real life: John Wojtowicz. If you’ve seen the film then I suggest you have a read.

http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onlinessays/JC15folder/RealDogDay.html

He says the film’s events are about 30% accurate. He also praises the film’s direction and acting.

I do realise that I’m not going to like all of the ‘greatest films ever made’, and neither will you. I’m a little bit worried that some people say these films are great purely because others said so, and that’s an attitude that I’m very against. Of course I’m probably wrong. If one of my film reviews ever changes someones opinion of a film, then I might not be doing a very good job.

The Kids Are All Right, 2010 (Film Review)

This film stars Juliane Moore as Jules and Annette Bening as Nic as a lesbian couple who have two children, Joni played by Mia Wasikowska, and Laser played by Josh Hutcherson. The two children meet their sperm donor, Paul played by Mark Buffalo, and the film is about how Paul interacts with the family. Commerce extreme awkwardness.

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The story is character driven. Nic is dominating yet sensitive, and Jules is more outgoing, but also more unsure about herself. Paul is a lot more casual than the strict couple. These mismatches cause the drama in the movie.

Although the characters are frustrating to watch, there is something about their vulnerability that’s still interesting. They all make mistakes and I wanted to see how they would deal with them.

As the film progresses you realise that there aren’t going to be any surprises, but it does go about the way you’ll want it to. I thought there was going to be more of Clay, Laser’s dumb friend, but his sub plot disappears from the movie. It seems like he’s only there to give Laser something to do. The film is contained just within the family’s actions with nothing outside of it, so it just feels like any other movie.

That all said, the film still makes the suspense seem interesting, and I’m surprised I liked it so much. I wouldn’t call it a feel good movie, but it did make me feel good.

People who like character driven films should like this.

7/10

Beasts of the Southern Wild, 2012 (Film Review)

A few years ago I did a film review show on youtube with the quality so bad, it was like listening to it from inside a plane engine whilst eating that type of chocolate that crackles in your mouth. Will I make new videos? Probably not. But I’ll do film reviews on this blog. First, Beats of the Southern Wild.

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