Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Movie Review: My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 (2016)



In theory, making a sequel to what is one of the highest-grossing rom-coms of all time makes sense; it’s like printing money at this point. Making said sequel some 16 years after the original, on the other hand? Not so much. Okay, the “X years later” formula has worked in the past to rather spectacular effect (just look at Toy Story 3) but that’s a one in a million shot. It also becomes a factor when it comes to how the public seems to have forgotten the original My Big Fat Greek Wedding. High apparent critical ratings but, judging the barometer of “people I know”, that isn’t reflected by audience reception. Me personally, if I think that the Seltzerberg parody of a film is not only funnier but smarter, something be screwy in the state of St. Louis. I don’t know if this is another Citizen Kane situation where my living in the fallout of the film makes me not able to appreciate how much it changed the scene, but somehow I really friggin’ doubt it. This is My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Movie Review: Eye In The Sky (2016)



With modern advents in the field of military technology, officers are capable of making even more precise strikes on their enemies with an even better understanding of how much (if any) collateral damage will follow. Now, under normal circumstances, this would only serve to make their job easier and disconnect them even further from their actions through the use of UAVs. But that’s a pretty major problem when you are able to perceive so damn much: You are also looking at everything that could possibly go wrong and, when dealing with something as sensitive as the use of drones in combat, there’s an awful lot that can go wrong. One degree off from the target, one civilian standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, one regulation that isn’t followed; all of a sudden, whistle blowers have their work cut out for them. And so, we come to today’s film concerning the events surrounding a single drone attack. Considering how much modern-day military cinema loves to demonize said military, I’m sure that this will just end up going along the same path. As always, I welcome the possibility that I’m wrong. This is Eye In The Sky.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Movie Review: Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice (2016)



I briefly got into this same point when discussing The Death Of Superman Lives, but it bears repeating here: I seriously do not care about Superman. Whether it’s not being brought up in the right place or era where his brand of heroics would’ve left a proper impression, or just a general disdain for overpowered main characters in action films, Superman has never struck me as a character I should care to see on screen. This probably isn’t helped by how the only Superman film I’ve seen in full is 2013’s Man Of Steel, which might well be one of the most unheroic depictions of any superhero that doesn’t involve straight-up torture (Looking at you, unaired pilot of Wonder Woman). Anyway, to paraphrase fellow reviewer and frenemy of the blog Todd In The Shadows: “Being bulletproof is boring. I’d rather be the guy who gets shot and still keeps fighting.” Yeah, I’m backing Batman in this fight, in case it hasn’t already been made clear. There’s quite a bit riding on this film, considering it’s not only the latest reboot of the Caped Crusader but it’s also supposed to serve as the entry point for a DC cinematic universe… but since this is guaranteed to make money, I’m not going to pretend that that plan isn’t already going ahead. But should it, based on this initial outing? This is Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Movie Review: Grimsby (2016)



Sacha Baron Cohen: Julliard-trained artist who seems tailor-made to star in modern-day movie musicals. Or, if you go by the majority of films where he is the lead actor, a professional troll with the comparable intelligence of the average Youtube commenter. Seriously, look at his in-character work like Borat, Bruno and The Dictator, and then look at his other roles in Sweeney Todd, Les Miserables and even his non-singing role in Hugo. This isn’t so much a showcase of range, as much as it is possible evidence of a secret twin sibling and/or malformed cloning experiment. For the record, I like a fair bit of Sacha’s work; I mean, Borat is probably one of the better mockumentaries to have been made and Bruno’s talking penis has burned into my brain ever since I first watched it. Sure, I’d much rather hear that voice put to Sondheim than to sophomore, but I have a certain appreciation for his style of extremely abrasive sense of humour. Still, even with that in mind, today’s film isn’t looking too good, to the point where all I can hope for is that Mark Strong finds a way to salvage this whole thing. One can only hope that he doesn’t have to. This is Grimsby.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Movie Review: London Has Fallen (2016)



In 2013, a strange occurrence took place in that we got not one but two films involving a siege on the White House by terrorists going after the President. I’ll leave whatever political connotations can be read into that, considering how this came about not that long after Obama was re-elected, and instead look at them both in context to each other. Now, White House Down is a film I haven’t gotten around to yet because, quite frankly, less Roland Emmerich in my life can only be a good thing. However, going just on the casting of Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx and the image from the trailer of Foxx as the President wielding a rocket launcher, I can only assume that the film didn’t take itself too seriously. Olympus Has Fallen by Antoine Fuqua, on the other hand, plays things so seriously that the frequent action/siege/borrowed from Die Hard clich├ęs that crop up regularly instilled laughter in the audience. For the record though, as a film I actually have seen, OHF was a decent watch. The acting was good, with a surprisingly awesome turn from Melissa Leo, the action shows Fuqua’s knack for brutal and low-flash fight scenes and the pacing was excellent, even if the story got topsy-turvy in spots. Given how I watched this film for the first time recently, I’m sure I’ll get asked why I didn’t do a full review of it. Well, judging by how today’s film has fared with audiences, I was worried that I would just end up repeating myself verbatim because the sequel would be exactly like the original. At this point, I can only hope that I’m wrong. This is London Has Fallen.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Movie Review: Zootopia (2016)



It’s Disney time again! It’s also discussion of modern-day racism time again! … I can’t be alone in thinking that these two shouldn’t be together. Sure, teaching kids from an early age that discrimination be bad is always good, but when directly dealing with racist attitudes, it tends to get a lot more complicated than even the more intelligent filmmakers give it credit for. Yeah, treating someone differently because of their skin colour is pretty basic stuff, but then there’s the continuing discussion about the root of such things. Hell, the word ‘racism’ seems to wildly vary in terms of definition, some attributing more direct labels to it than others. Now to add Disney to the mix and, while I give them all the goddamned credit in the world for making something as poignant as Inside Out, their habit of Disneyfying complex issues is well on record by this point. I mean, one of the last times they looked at racism was with Pocahontas and… well, let’s just say that ‘surface level’ would be putting it very generously. But, given how the world has decided to heap on the praise for this film’s approach on the subject, I figure looking into the background of its depiction in family films was worth delving into first. If for no other reason than to set myself up for a fall in case it should happen; in the name of Katzenberg, I hope I’m wrong. This is Zootopia.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Movie Review: 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)



The found footage sub-genre, in its own way, represents a microcosm of the entirety of cinema. Its evolution as a form of storytelling kind of reflects that of motion pictures as a whole; at the very least, in the way that in its infancy, many creators came forward and kept reinventing the wheel in terms of what it was capable of. Concentrate all that history and all the evolutions made in camera technology, and you have the modern day history of found footage. Over the last several years, we’ve seen it primarily used as a means to tell ghost stories, thanks to The Blair Witch Project and especially Paranormal Activity, but then others came along with their own ideas: Superhero action films (Chronicle), party films (Project X), even dark comedic thrillers (The Visit). One of the more underrated innovations of the culture was 2009’s Cloverfield, directed by the guy who gave us War Of The Planet Of The Apes and produced by the man determined to own every modern aspect of science fiction. A monster film, shot like real-life footage; all things considered, a fairly hefty leap forward. So, with today’s film not only sharing similar viral marketing but also its title (for a third of it, at least) with that landmark, how does it fare? This is 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Movie Review: Triple 9 (2016)



For the average filmgoer (going purely by my own experiences pre-Critic), the most common conversation to spring up when it comes to what film they decide to go see goes something like this: “Hey, [famous Oscar-winning actor] is in this new movie? Wanna go?” “Nah, I don’t like that guy that much. How about that new [lesser-known but still popular actor] movie?” “How about [obscure actor that you mention only to appear cooler to your peers because you know something that they don’t]? She’s got a new movie out.” Okay, maybe that last one only happens when the filmgoer in question is talking to someone like me, but point still stands: Unless you’re someone who takes the time to look into who and/or what is behind the newest releases, it’s usually the cast list that takes precedent. But what happens when said film has an ensemble cast of actors that, hopefully, will end up causing debate over whose film it truly is. Of course, that’s usually the case with good films involving star-studded casts. Too bad we haven’t got one of those today, unfortunately. This is Triple 9.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Movie Review: Gods Of Egypt (2016)

This marks a first time occasion here at Mahan’s Media, which is surprising considering how often I will go on the offensive when discussing certain topics. No, for the first time yet, I have a personal reason for why I’m looking at a particular film. I would like to draw my readers’ attention to a certain Facebook post made by the director, Alex Proyas; specifically, this one. Now, even though I have echoed similar sentiments as this in the past, that doesn’t really change how much butthurt is oozing from every character of that rant. I mean, wow; I haven’t seen a director react this badly to negative press in a while now and it is no less funny whenever it happens. So, yeah, since this film didn’t really give me many great expectations going just by the trailer, chances are I could end up being one of the many that Proyas chose to throw under the bus for not understanding his vision. Then again, the current critical consensus on Rotten Tomatoes for the film might be one of the most pretentious statements made in the history of the website, so I’m more than willing to buy into his argument. Nevertheless, in my continuing voyage to further separate potentially pigheaded creators from their work, time to get into today’s movie already. This is Gods Of Egypt.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Movie Review: Hail, Caesar! (2016)



I have a bit of a hot and cold relationship with the Coen brothers. While their approach to crime stories is definitely commendable and they’re responsible for one of my all-time favourite films with The Big Lebowski, the majority of their work doesn’t elicit that much more than shrug from yours truly. Hell, their 2013 penned effort Gambit was ultimately so unengaging that I couldn’t even come up with a full review for the thing. Although, in the interest of fairness, that film was also riddled with production troubles and most of their actual script ended up being rewritten. Still, even with all this in mind, I can't help but admit to their obvious skill behind the camera as well as their aptitude for scripting. Considering that, even if today’s film doesn’t work out too well, it will at least show more effort than an awful lot of films released in the last two months. How much more effort, however, is the big question. This is Hail, Caesar!

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Movie Review: Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (2016)



For as much as I try and deconstruct the films that I watch, with varying degrees of success, I am quickly discovering something about myself when it comes to films: I love dumb zombie movies. Scouts Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse, Cooties, Wyrmwood: Road Of The Dead; sure, these are all meant to be comedies, but even then these are incredibly silly films and more than a little wrong-headed in their own ways. And yet, as I look back on them, I still love them a hell of a lot more than I probably should, given the pseudo-intellectual air that can be felt around these parts. Hell, I’m still laughing at a bit from Cooties where a character just says “Word”. So, knowing my own weakness for the more goofy iterations of the living dead, I look at today’s film with a general idea of what I’m getting myself into. I mean, look at the bloody title; my love for all things surreal and ultimately silly can’t help but be triggered by something that gloriously inane. But, I have to maintain some level of professionalism around… here… yeah, I can’t even pretend that that’s what I do in the first place. Let’s just say that my opinion on this film may already be skewed before we even get into it proper. Anyway, time to sink our teeth into this thing. This is Pride And Prejudice And Zombies.

Friday, 4 March 2016

Movie Review: The Lady In The Van (2016)



Maggie Smith is one of a cavalcade of British actors that, thanks to a pop culture phenomenon that the original creator keeps bringing back in public consciousness every few weeks or so, everyone should be at least partially familiar with. Of course, just calling her Professor McGonagall would be a massive disservice to a very prominent actor, having done numerous Shakespeare adaptations as well creeping into the collective consciousness through the side door thanks to her portrayal of Wendy in Spielberg’s Hook. However, even with her storied history behind her, the last few years haven’t been kind to Dame Smith. Don’t get me wrong, I hear good things about Quartet and My Old Lady, but in the space of 4 years since Deathly Hallows Part 2 was released, she has appeared in the mindfrag Shakespeare pissing-on-grave that is Gnomeo & Juliet as well as the previously reviewed death knells that are the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films. I can be forgiven, even considering her definite skill in the craft, for being a little hesitant with this one. This is The Lady In The Van.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Movie Review: Concussion (2016)



This film is about American football or, as we in Australia call it, “Baby’s First Ball Sport”. All that padding, the overblown halftime shows, the terminology that makes calculus look straight forward by comparison; I don’t ‘get’ the point of most sports to begin with, but this especially. Or, at the very least, its sheer enormity in terms of deemed importance. Then again, that’s probably a side effect of growing up where the national sport (excluding cricket and outrunning the cassowary) is essentially the same thing only we don’t think little things like protective gear are necessary. Save for cups because, when given the option to protect only one head, only one in a million would choose a helmet. Anyway, long story short, this is going to be another one of those situations where I am going to be a bit more perplexed than the general populace about the importance of the film’s subject matter. Well, as far as the reason why the people involved are getting permanently injured, at least. This is Concussion.