Saturday, June 15, 2013

"The Internship" Review

                Opening two weeks ago was Shawn Levy’s latest (attempt at) comedy, “The Internship.”  With a brilliant premise and the dynamic duo of Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, you would think that the film is foolproof.  You would be wrong.  The director of “Date Night” and the “Night at the Museum” films has failed to make “The Internship” worth seeing. 

                A set of salesmen who feel past their prime lose their job, and contemplate if their careers will ever pick up again.  Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell (Vaughn and Wilson) search for an opportunity to get them back in the work field.  They land an interview for Google, and once they are voted in they are given the opportunity to compete for a highly-coveted internship.  Throughout the remainder of the films, Campbell and McMahon experience the trials and tribulations of competing against technologically-geared college kids.  With highs and lows along the way, they figure out where their skillset can truly be utilized and work their way back up into the world. 

I particularly loved the movie “Wedding Crashers;” it’s in my top ten of best comedies.  Vaughn and Wilson balanced out each other perfectly, as not a line between them was wasted.  However, in “The Internship” some of their attempts at humour were failures.  I would even say at a couple points their roles were more obnoxious than funny.  I found it hard to identify with them and felt little sympathy for them.  At certain moments, I even rooted against them. 

The band of misfits they collaborate with throughout the film seem to work well, cast-wise and as far as their performance is concerned.  The lack of chemistry however made little room for sympathizing with their situation at hand. 

The plot line to the movie was a very interesting concept.  How would it work if college kids competing for internships at Google had a couple of salesmen about twenty years older than them in the mix? A clashing of mentalities and ways of life, and an eventual harmony between the age gap would be the result.  In “The Internship,” it was difficult for that to fully develop.  Maybe it did, but it was hard to notice as I found the soundtrack very distracting and took away from most of the movie.

What really bothered me about “The Internship” was the fact that in the middle of the movie, there was a ten minute interlude where McMahon and Campbell took their fellow Google team members out to a California night club.  It was very out of place, and little of it made a difference to advance the plot.  I could understand a short two-minute clip that gets its purpose across and moves onto the next scene, but dragging it out took away from what the premise was there to suggest. 

Overall, I was very disappointed.  Watching the trailer will give you as much comic relief as though you watched the entire movie.  If you are looking for a laugh-out-loud summer flick, I’m sure you can Google “good summer films” and “The Internship” won’t be anywhere within sight. 

Friday, June 14, 2013

"Man of Steel" is Beyond Super

           It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s the next big summer blockbuster! “Man of Steel” came out this June and is absolutely amazing.  Directed by Zach Snyder, the man who brought us “300” and “Dawn of the Dead” this sci-fi superhero film is perfect for the film-craving movie-goer.  Any superhero geeks such as myself should definitely check out "Man of Steel."

            The film opens with Clark Kent’s (Henry Cavill) home planet, Krypton dying-which is shown through a massive display of special effects.  Transported to Earth and adopted by Jonathan and Martha Kent, Clark struggles with fitting in.  The superpowers he has (the ability to fly, super strength, heat vision, and X-ray vision) are beyond ordinary and he keeps them hidden.  After he saves the ambitious reported Lois Lane (Amy Adams), she becomes intrigued with who he is.  Once an exposé she writes becomes leaked, she puts his life (along with her own at risk). 

            However, when Earth becomes threatened be General Zod (Michael Shannon) when he finds out Superman’s whereabouts, Superman must team up with our armies.  He battles against the evil General Zod in order to protect his new home, and these battle sequences are absolutely amazing.  Complete with a cast including Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner and Laurence Fishburne, “Man of Steel” will not disappoint. 

            From what I’ve seen, this movie is very reminiscent of Christopher Nolan’s “Batman” trilogy.  It was no surprise to me learning that Nolan was a producer for this film.  Similar to the first film of the Batman saga, “Man of Steel” was darker than past films depicting the hero.    In what could be the first film of a few in this super saga, we bounce back to defining moments in Clark Kent’s life.    Like many superheroes, Clark Kent is a troubled soul, just looking to blend in.  Although none of us can truly relate to Superman, Clark’s back-story makes everything about his life more tangible to audiences. 

It was beyond a modest effort to bring back Superman.  Although the past Superman movies with Christopher Reeves are classic, Zach Snyder ushers in a new era of a modern-day interpretation in his resurrecting the franchise.  This film also didn’t include the iconic “Superman March” written by John Williams.  In an attempt for “Man of Steel” to distinguish itself, it was cut out and Hans Zimmer was selected to compose the music for the film. 

            In fact, if it wasn’t for the immense success of the modern Batman films, “Man of Steel” would have never been a thought.  Development for the film began in 2008, when screenwriters, directors and comic book authors came together planning a potential super revival.  Christopher Nolan suggested and pitched the idea for the modern revival.  He was immediately hired to produce the film, which was a wise decision. 

            The film was slightly fast paced, and before I knew it the two and a half hour picture was over, when anyone could easily claim it was less than two hours.  The use of flashbacks kept it moving along, and you get a genuine comic-book feel from it-as everything is fleeting but just the right amount to keep one from being distracted by the constant transitioning. 

The ending to “Man of Steel” indicates some closure as to the events throughout the film. However, there is a sequel is in the works, due to how amazing this film was, along with the fact that Snyder signed a three movie deal, which includes a Justice League film (which I am beyond pumped for).  Hopefully they include Jimmy Olsen, the love-struck photographer who works with Lois Lane, as he wasn’t a part of “Man of Steel.” 

The final scenes left me wanting more, especially the last five minutes.  This definitely means something, considering Superman was never my favourite caped crusader. 

            Anyone looking to see this film should not bother wasting the extra few dollars per ticket to see it in 3-D.  The cinematography and clarity of the motion picture is so impressive that it would make no difference.  The special effects used throughout the film, from the opening scenes on Krypton to the final explosions are beyond awesome. 

            One of the negative things about this film is all the doors left open at the end.  I am definitely looking forward to seeing the next “Superman” movie to come out, provided Snyder directs it.  Two thumbs up to this film, as it will satisfy audiences all over craving something “super.” 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

"Now You See Me" is a Must-See

                Upon entering the theatre to see “Now You See Me,” by happenstance I found nine dollars lying on the ground.  Ironically, the premise of Louis Leterrier’s latest film is for the audience members to receive monetary prizes for spectating their show.  Laced with massive heists, prestidigitation, and a stellar cast, “Now You See Me” is a must-see this summer. Be sure to "Look closely, because the closer you think you are, the less you will actually see."

                Four tricksters-an escape artist, a pickpocket, a sleight-of-hand card magician and a mind reader-are called together unexpectedly for a mission from a mysterious figure.  Together, Jesse Eisenberg, Isla Fischer, Dave Franco and Woody Harrelson make up the Four Horsemen.  This team of magicians makes their way through the United States.  Making three stops at Las Vegas, New Orleans and New York, where a fantastic heist is pulled off.  Millions of dollars are stolen, and crowds everywhere are mesmerized. 

                However, there is more to these heists than meets the eye.  FBI agent Dylan Rhoades (Mark Ruffalo) teams up with Interpol agent Alma Dray (Melanie Laurent), and a professional illusion deconstructor Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman) to break down what is really going on. 

                The film as a whole was generally satisfying.  The casting was absolutely wonderful; I wouldn’t have changed a thing.  Although the film’s producers were considering older actors and actresses to play the leads, I think the chosen individuals were ideal.  They all brought something to the film, and didn’t take away from the storyline.   

The cinematography was very effective.  Like watching a magic trick live, your attention was brought to various places.  As soon as you thought you caught up and were one step ahead of the supposed con-artist, they were really three ahead of you.  “How did he do that?” was a constant thought throughout various scenes for me.  Although camera angles were constantly changing and some may argue it can distract from what is really happening, in this type of film it was very effective. 

The one aspect of the film that I disliked was the fact that the elaborate, flashy magic acts were products of Hollywood.  Watching tricks as those performed in the film wouldn’t have been plausible in reality without the assistance of special effects.  There is something more alluring about clean-cut street magic.  The sleight-of-hand tricks performed in the opening scene were more impressive.  They were more modest, and sometimes simplicity is the most extraordinary way to wow an audience.  Too much flashy distracts. However, for this film, it fits in perfectly.  Magic and thievery is an interesting idea for a film, and I am pleased that the director of “The Incredible Hulk” and “Clash of the Titans” made a valiant and successful effort here. 

Although the ending to the movie was slightly predictable, the moments leading up to it on the silver screen were impressive.  The special effects were fabulous.  The action going on keeps the audience on their seats, and whenever the characters would explain what really happened as far as certain tricks go, a wave of “oooooh! I get it!” washed over the theatre. 

Anyone who enjoys the “Oceans” movies or “The Prestige” would enjoy this flick.  From what I’ve seen so far this summer, “Now You See Me” has been the most impressive.  However, the summer is still young.  The hunt for the ultimate summer blockbuster goes on. 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Hangover: Part III

            The third-and hopefully final-move of the Hangover saga was released Memorial Day weekend.  Movie-goers flocked to theatres to see the highly anticipated letdown.  “Hangover Part III” is only worth your time if you show up to the theater drunk, then the poor attempts at humor will be worth your time and money.  Maybe. 

            “Hangover Part III” reprises the roles of the infamous Wolf Pack, Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifanakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha).  “Part III” also brings back roles from the previous films, such as Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), Sid Garner (Jeffery Tambor) and Jade (Heather Graham), along with bringing John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy and into the cast.

            The storyline of the film revolves around Alan, as we find out that his eccentric nature is the result of him having mental issues.  Stu, Phil and Doug propose taking him to a sanatorium in Arizona after staging an intervention.  On the way, they get kidnapped by Marshall (Goodman) who demands for the kidnapping of Chow, who stole millions of dollars from him. It becomes the Wolf Pack’s mission to take care of this all.  If they don’t, Doug (who is held hostage once more) will be killed. 

            Confusing plot line, I know.  The most important thing is missing though; the little nuance that makes the title of the film full of purpose.  There is no drug induced tirade, no alcohol-influenced episode gone wrong.  At least in the sequel to “The Hangover” Alan drugged the Wolf Pack again.  In this film, it is more of a wild goose chase dragged out too long. I found myself constantly checking my watch, waiting for the hour and forty minutes of pure torture to be over. 

            “Hangover Part III" takes the once-peculiar and lovable Alan Garner and turns him into an obnoxious, merciless simpleton.  He becomes self-destructive in his actions.  After seeing this film, my perception of his behavior changed from viewing him as simply being an artsy character just looking to live life, into a psychologically troubled middle-aged man.  His disposition becomes more troubled and frustrated even, as opposed to just quirky and downright strange. 

            The combination of a weak plotline, turning the eccentric Alan into a jerk and enough laughs to get you through the night makes “Hangover Part III” highly disappointing.  A film that leaves you lost, questioning what the motives of the characters are is not worth watching.  Even though “The Hangover” made such an impact on ticket sales and movie fans alike, and the sequel to it was tolerable-comparatively speaking-“Hangover Part III” was an absolute nightmare.