It’s December which means I have pretty much exactly no time to do anything lately but that hasn’t stopped me from seeing a couple of movies, just from writing them up in a timely manner.
But since I’ve seen so many you’re gonna get the shortest version of each of these reviews that I can muster.
The HUnger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
I’m a fan of this series despite the first one suffering from some budget related “holy shit that looks cheap” issues. It’s smart sci-fi and the story has only gotten better as it has gone along.
Jennifer Lawrence continues to be great but it’s really Josh Hutcherson that stood out to me in this one. He has so little screen time but in every frame he’s on screen he manages to convey the psychological trauma he’s undergoing.
I don’t really have any complaints about this movie except for the fact that it’s been broken into two movies. Part one ends at a fairly natural ending point but it really only covers the first act or so of the book. That means it’s all Katniss character development time. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself but the film does end up feeling incomplete, much like part one of Harry Potter And the Deathly Hallows. Still it’s a good movie and well worth seeing and if you’re hungry for action you should see it because it feels like Mockingjay Part 2 is going to be nothing but.
Big Hero 6
There’s nothing terribly new story wise in Big Hero 6 but what there is is well executed. None of the twists or turns were surprising to me (but then I’ve seen a boat load of movies) but all the great things about this movie (good cast, great character design, interesting world, fantastic action) outweigh the bad stuff (lack of development of supporting cast, kinda predictable) handily.
That, and it looks friggin’ great. I’ve said before that it’s kind of cool that Disney is back to being the Disney of animation again and Big Hero 6 is a great example of the good work they’re doing.
If you have kids then this movie should be an easy choice to see because it’s pretty, action packed, and is generally very positive about education and science and family values.
Dear White People
This is a strong début from writer/director Justin Simien. He tackles the issues of race relations in contemporary America and does so with humour as well as sensitivity. The film itself has it’s problems, mostly structural but there are some odd cinematography choices, but this movie is totally worth seeing, especially for anyone who actually thinks that some kind of post-racial utopia has been achieved in America.
In fact as the film goes on the things that are happening on screen become more and more absurd however you’re in for a shock when you watch the end credits and realize some of the most egregious events in the movie are based on events from real life. Real life from the last 5 years. Ugh.
SO all in all Dear White People is smart, funny, and well worth seeing.
The F Word
I’m a fan of Daniel Radcliffe and I’m glad to see him branching out into new types of films after spending his formative years playing a boy wizard. He’s turned into a decent young actor and I hope he continues to succeed.
The F Word is his first attempt at a rom-com and you know what? It’s kind of cute. Sure it’s formulaic and predictable but it has enough heart to carry it through and the chemistry between Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan is adorable.
As with director Michael Dowse’s other films there’s a healthy dose of vulgarity in the dialogue but that kind of works for me.
It doesn’t exactly hurt that Adam Driver shows up as the totally weird best friend (a role he’s born to play, really) nor that the Canadian/Irish co-production is actually set in Toronto either.
It’s not amazing cinema but you if you’re looking for a sweet rom-com to snuggle up with you could do far worse.
Remember what I just said about Daniel Radcliffe? Consider that repeated. Horns isn’t a perfect movie but it is a weird one, and I like that. Alexandre Aja is very good at directing creepy movies and this is definitely that. There isn’t that much explanation in terms of why exactly Radcliffe has horns but it doesn’t ultimately matter.
The reason to see this is Radcliffe. He gives his all in all the scenes and is starting to show his range. The supporting cast, particularly Max Minghella, are pretty good as well. I’m really not as taken with Juno Temple as many people are, but she’s fine.
Horns isn’t a perfect movie, in fact at times it’s kind of a mess, but it’s visually cool and creepy and it’s a good performance from Radcliffe so I’m calling this worth seeing.