movie reviews

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Last year’s Cars spin-off starring Dane Cook as a cropduster with dreams of becoming a world-class racer came and went without much fanfare. Made by Disney rather than Pixar, Planes certainly had the feel of far too many of Disney’s straight-to-video sequels (despite the movie actually getting a theatrical release). I found the first film to be more than a little clunky, and certainly the weakest of any of the movies set in the Cars universe, but it still had enough charm and beautiful animation to keep my interest. Planes‘ sequel feels much the same with some uneven writing and cheap fart jokes. However, along with its impressive look, the sequel does celebrate the service of firefighters and offer a nice lesson for its target audience.

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Written and directed by John Carney, Begin Again is simply a joy to watch. At times this tale of the mismatched pair of a record label exec (Mark Ruffalo) whose life is swirling around the drain and a young singer-songwriter (Keira Knightley) dealing with crushing rejection of her now-successful longtime writing partner and boyfriend (Adam Levine) comes dangerously close to being too cute for its own good. Thankfully Carney’s choice to ground the film in serious issues such as heartbreak, betrayal, estranged families, and politics of the music business balances the film’s hopeful tone and message to prevent the movie from ever becoming too cliche or sappy.

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I’m not a fan of Michael Bay‘s Transformers movies. In fact I’ve hated every single one. Transformers: Age of Extinction is not an exception, but on the sliding scale of horrific awfulness that is the Bay Transformers franchise it’s the least objectionable of the lot. Lazy, inane, and almost completely without merit, the latest Transformers film didn’t so much anger me as leave me increasingly confused and apathetic to the “storytelling” that was unfolding before my eyes.

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Jersey Boys

by Cap'n Carrot on June 20, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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From the big musical numbers, to the characters stopping at times to directly address the audience and the staging of much of the action, Jersey Boys feels every bit the adapted stage jukebox musical which spawned it. Fans of The Four Seasons are likely to enjoy themselves, although 134-minutes of Frankie Valli‘s recreated high-pitched crooning in stereo surround started to wear on me before the credits rolled.

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Edge of Tomorrow

by Cap'n Carrot on June 6, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Adapted from the Japanese graphic novel All You Need is Kill, Edge of Tomorrow stars Tom Cruise as military recruiter Major William Cage forced into service on the front lines of a war between humanity and an unstoppable alien race known as Mimics. Despite dying rather early on his first day in the field, Cage finds himself somehow still alive reliving the previous day’s events over and over, each time more aware of events and what what must be done to win the war.

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Maleficent

by Cap'n Carrot on May 30, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Offering a new live-action take on Sleeping Beauty from the perspective of the original tale’s villain, Maleficent is a pleasant surprise that works better than either of the recent disappointments, Mirror Mirror or Snow White and the Huntsman, both of which failed while attempting a similar approach to the retelling of Snow White.

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Chef

by Cap'n Carrot on May 23, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Although the storyline doesn’t veer far from well-established basic themes we’ve seen in countless films over the years involving reinventing your life, father-son dynamics, road trips, and overcoming adversity, with the right ingredients and cast writer/director/star Jon Favreau delivers a sumptuous treat as delectable as the various food on display. Calling on the help of a handful of his old Iron Man buddies, Favreau offers up his best film yet in front of, or behind, the camera.

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Inspired by the 1779 painting of mixed-raced aristocrat Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) beside her white cousin Lady Elizabeth Murray (Sarah Gadon) with whom she was raised by her uncle William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson), Belle is an interesting look at a woman who grew up in lavish luxury but still searched long and hard for her true place both within her family and the wider world to whom she was seen as (at best) an outcast.

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Godzilla

by Cap'n Carrot on May 14, 2014 · 0 comments

in Film

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Godzilla returns to the big screen in an American film for the first time since 1998. Although better than Roland Emmerich‘s much despised film, while outdoing the director known for CGI disaster porn, the new version of Godzilla isn’t without its own issues. As a summer popcorn flick the new Godzilla may satisfy in the short term but it’s unlikely to entice me to return to its story anytime soon (if ever).

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Building on the groundwork laid two years ago in The Amazing Spider-Man, the sequel returns all the core members of the first film (minus the Lizard) while continuing the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) and the harsh lessons which frame Spider-Man’s mythology.

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