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Friday, June 07, 2013

The Nicsperiment's Summer Break Movie Mini-Reviews, Part One

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Well, my short summer break is officially over. I begin Calculus II on Monday. I'll have another short break before the fall semester, so hopefully this entry will have a part two.
I didn't see any movies this spring, so I decided to rent as many and go to see as many as I could over the last month. Here are two sentence reviews of each. Because the one star to four star film review scale is limited, outdated, and silly, I am going to score these on a one to ten basis, just like my music reviews. Also, I got a minor in film theory in college the first time through, so that slightly elevates my perspective from "some jackass" to "some jackass who got a film minor a decade ago."
In alphabetical order:

Argo -- 9/10
Apparently, in the world we currently live in, Ben Affleck has the best grasp of how to make a movie--the characters, plotting, tension, and even humor are all masterfully balanced, and I'm sorry about any Affleck joke I've ever made. The Academy Awards showed itself to be a farce long ago, but the fact that Argo won "Best Picture" and Affleck didn't even get nominated as "Best Director" brings that point home for the thousandth time.

Django Unchained -- 4/10
Self-indulgent, manipulative crap, but the worst part is, it thinks it's cute. Quentin Tarantino really needs someone to start telling him "no."

Epic -- 7/10
Fun, if slight kid's film that looks pretty as it repeats the same plots as Ferngully and Avator. It kept my three-year old still and quiet for 90 minutes, so mission accomplished.

The Fast and the Furious:Tokyo Drift -- 7/10
Immediately embraces the fact that it only exists to be fun, then procedes to be fun for its entire hour and forty-five minute running span. The film's tendency to favor real cars, twisted metal, and burnt tires over CGI is also a great asset, and a step forward for the franchise.

Fast and Furious -- 5/10
Disappointingly regresses the franchise back to CGI territory. At least the original cast seems happy to be together again, and the movie breezes by.

Fast and Furious 6 -- 8/10
Slightly weaker than the action film perfection of its predecessor, Fast Five, but just barely. The chase scenes are huge, the destruction massive, the atmosphere fun, and A REAL TANK DESTROYS OVER 250 REAL CARS!

Looper -- 8/10
One of the best mass appeal "time travel" movies in a long time, and with great action, as well. It is not afraid to pose the question "would you have killed Adolf Hitler when he was a child," in celluloid form, and then is brave enough to actually explore the difficulties of the answers.

The Master -- 8/10
Both Paul Thomas Anderson and Joaquin Phoenix really go nuts in this film, and that's saying something. I don't have another sentence.

Star Trek Into Darkness -- 8/10
So fun, I saw it twice. When I hear these "not Star Trek enough" comments, all I can think is, this movie is incredibly well made, propulsive, highly enjoyable, and has a ticker in its skull--Star Trek can have excellent action and a cool factor, and still be Star Trek--what more do you want? BONUS THIRD SENTENCE: I grew up watching the original series in early eighties reruns, watched Next Generation live, had my little mind blown when Picard became Locutus, watched all of Deep Space Nine live, saw all the films multiple times, most of them in the cineplex, and I think these new movies have been just great--change is good if it is positive change.

Zero Dark Thirty -- 6/10
Some stuff happens, and then some stuff happens, and then some other stuff happens. This is a completely dry, textbook reading of an event that should have been excitedly told, or at the least, been interesting to see played out on film--it wasn't, and this director (who also directed The Hurt Locker) could have done better.


buck09 said...

Wow, Django a 4? Damn, I haven't seen it but that's the first negative review I have seen for it. The only negative I have heard was its a bit long. Are you just not a fan of Tarantino?

Nicholas said...

Man, I don't hate Tarantino, I really like Reservoir Dogs and Kill Bill (especially the second one), and like almost everybody, I love Pulp Fiction.
This movie, though, I hated on two basic levels.
On a filmmaking level, I hated that every scene could have been cut to half its running time. No one in this movie sounds like a real person. They just sound like Tarantino, talking to himself in different voices in an empty room. He took the whole "real men having a real men conversation" aspect from his older movies and bloated it to where he is just showing off how long he can make two or more people talk. This movie is three hours long. The plot could have been condensed into an hour-long HBO drama. Also, the leaps in storytelling logic are ridiculous. Jamie Foxx must be the fastest learner in the world. He learns to read English, speak foreign languages, shoot like Dirty Harry, and essentially fly in the span of a winter. But I could forgive all that crap to a certain extent if I also didn't hate this movie so much thematically.
Django Unchained is one of the worst pieces of White Guilt cinema I've ever seen. The last thing I want to watch is three hours of some West Coast asshole showing me how he thinks everyone in the South is a racist, bigoted, monstrous idiot who deserves to be brutally murdered. In fact, not only that, but the film is essentially anti-White American. The only white person in the entire film who shows even an ounce of morality or conscience is a German. The Americans are all evil. On top of everything, Tarantino makes a joke out of slavery. Instead of focusing on the actual horrors of it, he just makes stuff up. DiCaprio's character stages slave fights to the death, and it is implied that this is just something everybody does, that happens all the time. Nevermind the fact that this is something that has never been documented in American History. DiCaprio also feeds slaves to his dogs. Tarantino Tarantino's everything up with the implication that he is presenting history, and instead he is just using slavery as a vehicle of exploitation for his predilections.
This movie sucks and I hate it. Everybody foaming at the mouth over it is just doing so because they've been brainwashed by the Tarantino Cool Factor. If you actually break the movie down, it doesn't hold up to scrutiny, and it's horribly offensive to everyone--I don't mean that in the South Park sense where it's like, "we should all just lighten up," which I love. I mean it in the, "Hey do you guys want to watch me masturbate in your faces?" sense.
Did I mention that I hate this movie?