Sunday, February 3, 2013

Seven Psychopaths Review

Seven Psychopaths Review
Director: Martin McDonagh

Cast Headliners: Colin Farrell , Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson

Original Release Date: October 12th, 2012

Seen: January 31st, 2013

I love it when a movie has a unique style and vibe which enriches the experience. Seven Psychopaths is one of those movies. Marty Faranan, played by Colin Farrell in his usual grumpy Irish way, is an average joe and a screenwriter. His friend Billy (Sam Rockwell), is more than a average joe in that his profession is dog-napping with Christopher Walken’s character Hans.  The men have an admittedly clever idea to steal dogs then turn them back in when their owner’s look for them. (If this movie hadn’t come out and the public knew about it I would consider doing it for the occasional extra buck!)  This leads them to the evil but funny and a bit foolish Charlie played by Woody Harrelson. These are some great actors, and everyone is a joy to watch.  It’s a tough tie between every cast member for who is the funniest.
Mixed in with the humorous dognapping revenge hijinks is how Marty is building his script for a movie called “Seven Psychopaths.” When a scene is thought of by Marty, the movie usually cuts away to it being shown. This is a quasi-second plot to the main story, but actually is very important. Without giving away too much, there are some incredibly interesting parallels between the Seven Psychopaths movie of our world and the one Marty is writing.
This sets the film apart from its brethren in cinema today. While it is a sort of “crime” movie, it is more of a comedy with an odd sense of humor.  It reminds me in some ways of Pulp Ficiton’s genre bending.  One of the biggest laughs come from a surreal segment near the end which is one of Sam Rockwell’s best comedic moments as an actor ever.
The reason for the great humor and plot is because the director Martin McDonagh is a playwright as his main profession. He knows how to make good humor and pacing.  Walken is his usual self, but under this director he really makes the film shine.  Every character in this film is great, as is nearly every moment.  The humor may get a bit silly sometimes, but otherwise it’s a pretty good and one of a kind movie. 8.35 out of 10

Killing Them Softly Review, (onto the review backlog!)

Killing Them Softly
Director: Andrew Dominik

Cast Headliners: Brad Pitt, Scott Mcnairy

Original Release Date: November 30th, 2012

Killing Them Softly is a very gritty movie. It is a pretty good, albeit semi-basic, crime drama. The interesting aspect is that who the main protagonist is supposed to be is not entirely clear.  Frankie (Scoot McNairy) and Russell (Ben Mendelsohn) are street level and humorous crooks who are hired to steal from Markie Trattman’s (Ray Liotta) poker ring. Much of the film follows them, and they are decently funny.
Because of this, in comes Jackie Cogan the hitman played by Brad Pitt. Pitt’s Cogan is scary in an awesome way. He is a smart man who tracks down Frankie over the course of the film. Dialogue is sparse but deep. There is some good directing and editing going on. When there are gun fights, the result is some beautiful bloody shots of the action.
Most of Killing Them Softly is this typical plot, but underneath it all there is a very political message. It is set in the 2004 election season. George Bush Jr is a man associated with America’s economic system, and quotes from him are used in the film. Perhaps the movie is implying that capitalism causes crime. For those opposed to political propaganda, luckily it is very subtle.
This film is relatively mundane, but is quality. Brad Pitt is entertaining to watch, as is Scoot McNairy.  The shifting perspective makes things interesting. The sights and sounds are enjoyable. Unfortunately it doesn’t try much new, but what it does attempt Killing Them Softly accomplishes.  7.75 out of 10

Beasts of the Southern Wild Review

(in what will be my last Oscar picture of the year  review for this season. i said i wouldnt do this one but hey wishy washy etc)

Beasts of the Southern Wild Review
Director: Benh Zeitlin

Cast Headliner: Quvenzhane Wallis

Original Release Date: June 27, 2012

Seen: February 1st, 2013
Beasts of the Southern Wild is an interesting movie. It’s certainly a story that has not really been shown before. Residents of a fictional town called “The Bathtub” on the south coast of America go about their daily lives. The main focus is a young girl named Hushpuppy, played by Wallis who was only 8 when this was filmed. She’s an adorable little thing, and the character is surprisingly good with advanced vocabulary or concepts.  She lives with her dad Wink who is semi-crazy. Their world is thrown into some serious ruckus when a hurricane comes through.
It has gained much other critical acclaim, but what I found was a very flawed film.  Wink never really changes; Wink is kind of a jerk. He tries to be a good father but just comes off as an idiot to me.  Hushpuppy goes on some sort of personal journey in the film, but she also gives off the vibe of being annoying at times when she’s not being cute.  Essentially all the other characters in the film aren’t that likeable. It is a rough community, and the film shows them cleaning up after the hurricane and getting supplies and such.  It can get extremely dull at parts, aside from some moments of excitement.
Some of those exciting moments are when Beasts of the Southern Wild celebrates life. It may get dark at times (and the film can too ;)), but there are moments of happiness.  The beginning has a great feeling for what it’s like to be a child in a loving community, and those parts were good to have when things would soon get bleak. That cheer comes in sometimes later, but disappears somewhere.
A major complaint was the whole “Aurochs” subplot. The idea of ancient creatures coming out of nowhere and wreaking havoc was totally random and frankly does not really belong in this kind of movie. They don’t even look like what Aurochs should have looked like, instead looking like ugly boars.
This review has kind of meandered I apologize, but that is because the movie meanders. Not much about it impressed me. Sure it was decent, but nothing incredible. It is a unique film with some highlights, but not a mandatory watch.  7.4 out of 10

Django Unchained Review

Django Unchained Review

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Cast Headliners: Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz

Original Release Date: December 25, 2012

Django Unchained is the realization of Tarantino’s dream. It is the pinnacle of his film making craft. It was one of the best films of 2012.  It’s just a really good movie.  The movie shows Django (“the D is silent”) played by Jamie Foxx being freed from his pre-Civil War slavery by an eccentric German named Dr.King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) in its opening moments. Django and Dr.Schultz team up on a crusade of bounty hunting and getting Django’s wife back, and get into various misadventures along the way.
The dynamic between the two is one of the many highlights of the film. Django is serious and a total awesome warrior and the Doctor is just as much a fighter but also great with his words. Many of his lines are quite humorous.  As is expected with Tarantino, there is much humor mixed within the bloodshed.
And oh boy is there blood. The pacing of the film is fantastic, and even though it is almost 3 hours the ebbs and flows of the plot keep the viewer interested. There are some great, classic bloody Tarantino shootouts here. In particular a major fight near the end has some of the biggest amounts of blood, and slow-motion blood, seen in years in a mainstream film.  There are many great parts, and the film gets more intense as the end nears. Aside from the violence, there is some great character development and dialogue.  Some true emotion comes through in this film.  One of my favorite parts is when Dr.Schultz is telling Django about the German fairy tale of Siegfried. It’s just a unique meta moment that really sticks with the viewer.  The legend ends up becoming true in some ways, as Django fights a dragon in his lair.
The “dragon” and main villain of the film is a plantation owner named Calvin J.Candie, played by Leonardo Dicaprio. He does a fantastic job. He is one of those villains that audiences will love to hate. He is so wicked, so racist, so selfish but yet when he dies the film loses a bit. Leo did a great job for a role very out of what he normally does. Also to note is Samuel L Jackson as a hilarious and important role, but I will say no more.  There are not any flaws to this film, but with a few characters missing it loses something.
Nonetheless, the scenery is great, the soundtrack is catchy and amazing (only Tarantino could make Rick Ross and Tupac TOTALLY WORK in a movie like this), and it is filled with great writing and scenes. This may be based on an old Western, but it goes far beyond the confines of the genre. Django Unchained is a must-see film from 2012, one of Tarantino’s top best, and one of the best of all time. It is one of the great epics that come along only once a while.  This movie gets a 9.2 out of 10.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Les Misérables Review

Les Miserables Review

Director: Tom Hooper

Cast Headliners: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe

Original Release Date: December 25, 2012

Les Mis, as it will be referred to from here on out because of the semi complex name, is a quality musical film. It is a classic story based on the old Victor Hugo novel which has been told in my formats both on stage and on screen, but this is the first major attempt at filming it for Hollywood with an ensemble cast.  It has a very impressive cast who all have a accomplished background, and the result is delightful experience.
            The film takes place in a semi-obscure time of history. Napoleon is not in control but tyranny lives on. The people are downtrodden and crushed and rebellion is brewing. Hugh Jackman is Jean Valjean, a prisoner.  He toils under the watch of an officer named Javert who is the film’s antagonist, played wonderfully by Russell Crowe.  He escapes and gets entangled into various twists and turns, making him cross paths with Anne Hattheway’s Fantine character.
            Now, it must be noted that this is a musical adaptation. That means that the soundtrack is wonderful filling nearly every moment with lush strings, but also most of the dialogue is sung rather than talked.  An actor like Jackman, whose background includes theater, sounds great when he sings. Crowe has a not so pleasing voice, but Hattheway has one of the best most inspiring songs of the movie. That gives the film a mixed feeling. Another highlight was the characters played by Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as wicked but funny inn keepers. They are the highlights, as (with all respect to Mr.Hugo) the movie has a wishy washy plot. The first half is definitely better than the second set years later. Amanda Seyfried as older Cosette barely even is on screen, kind of a letdown to having her child form on the poster.
            The highlight is the epic scale and the music. Anything else is passable but seen before. Still, it is a solid film with some decent performances and an incredible soundtrack. The scale makes up for the flaws. 8.25 out of 10

Lincoln Review

Lincoln Review

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast Headliners: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field

Original Release Date: November 9th, 2012

Abraham Lincoln could be said to be our nation’s greatest president. He was faced with a nation ripped apart, a place where brother has been forced to fight against brother. He is a man respected by so many that it is not hard to craft a piece of entertainment that is universally enjoyable. Spielberg has accomplished this task and more.
Lincoln had a long and famous life, but the film focuses on its twilight.  The entire film is set in 1865. The main plot arc follows the tremendous effort it took to free the slaves and get the Thirteenth Amendment passed.  The film is good at showing the actual opposition against the amendment by Lincoln’s political opponents. The scenes in the courthouse are thrillingly intense and feature some heated arguments.
But who is it who is giving the arguments? Well that would be Daniel Day-Lewis as good ol Abe, giving a fantastic performance as always. The audience may think he is Lincoln himself for that is how quality his effort is.  Apparently, DDL would even wear his costume around off set and talk in character. That shows dedication, and in the film he sounds just as one would imagine the president would. He showcases an incredible range of emotion and power. He seems like someone that would really be elected president and would really be capable of holding America together.  Lincoln is ferocious when it comes to defending his views against the opposing party, and makes some very inspiring speeches. It is a shame to see him die at the end of the film (spoilers). He certainly deserves, and should win, the nomination for best actor of the year 2012.
The rest of the cast isn’t too shabby either. Sally Field is nearly as good as Mary Todd Lincoln. She was a woman who had it tough, but she shows in this film to be just as tenacious as her husband.  The other standout performance in this film, aside from Abe, is Tommy Lee Jones as abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. His energetic presence is welcome in the debate room, and he has some thrilling political standoffs.  TLJ is at his finest here and in some ways is even more entertaining than Lincoln himself, though of course Lincoln makes more of an impact and owns the screen time. Also of note are lobbyists hired to obtain votes, played by James Spader and Tim Blake Nelson. They give the movie a surprisingly funny element.
Steven Spielberg is a veteran of the historical film. He has covered most decades of the 20th century. As with all his other films, this movie has wonderful costumes and sets. It is a classic historical epic that really takes the audience back to that time with its sights and also the quality soundtrack.  Perhaps a flaw is that it runs too long, it is a very serious political drama which sometimes loses focus.
This is a minor flaw, because otherwise Lincoln is a fantastic film about the man with that name. DDL brings the man to the modern era for all to see, and the film has some great characters and scenes. A history movie that is great from a modern perspective. This film gets a 8.85 out of 10

A update message and Oscars 2013 Thoughts

Hello there (hopeful) loyal readers. As you may have noticed, I have changed the name of this blog and website. This happened to me when I was at an event, and my aunt said I did reviews to a friend of hers. They wanted to know what it was called so they could find it, and I mumbled “uh I think its Film Through Kev’s Eyes or something like that”.  The old title was decent, but too complicated to use in situations like that.  So I have changed it to a snappier name suggested awhile back by a good friend of mine. 
I apologize for the long wait. I have had a hectic and semi-conflicted personal life lately. I have not been able to do reviews of every film I have seen, whether that be from finals in December or personal issues or now starting school again. I also, persay, wasn’t “in the mood.” But now I am back and will catch up, and I also will review late release films which I feel need to be reviewed. The first batch will be Picture of the Year contentders. But first, here are my thoughts on the upcoming awards which can be seen on Feb. 24th. I’ll do categories I find interesting to write about.
Best Picture:    What Will Most Likely Win: Lincoln, because Spielberg hasn’t gotten a win in a while and DD-Lewis is bound to win the best actor award and I feel this is one of those years where one movie sweeps the floor. That movie is Lincoln.
                        My Vote:  Django Unchained, because it is a unique movie and has so many great aspects. It reminds me of one of the classic films, and has less flaws than Lincoln.
                        My Outside Pick: The Avengers. Yes it was a superhero film, but I believe that it was more than that. It was the best experience I had at the theaters all year, and I think it represents the culmination of human cinematic achievement.

            Best Director:  Who Will Most Likely Win: Spielberg, as he his picture wins so will he.
                                    My Vote: Spielberg, I agree and feel that he is the strongest choice in the category.
                                    My Outside Pick: The Wachowski Siblings and Tom Tykwer, because of the ambition of their great project Cloud Atlas which was one of the most unique films I had seen in 2012.

Best Actor:   Who Will Most Likely Win: Daniel Day-Lewis, because he became president and did an fantastic performance
                        My Vote: Daniel-Day Lewis, I do feel he deserves the praise
                        My Outside Pick: Martin Freeman, he did a great job in the Hobbit and showed a force of charisma that few other movies have. He had some great moments of monologue and showed a decent character progression, perhaps more so than some of the other characters in the category.
Best Actress:    Who Will Most Likely Win:  Jessica Chastain, because people love it when an actress goes outside of their comfort zone. I just have this vibe.
                        My Vote: Jennifer Lawrence, because she’s charismatic and adorable and you love every second she’s onscreen to hear what she says.  She did a great job in her film.
                        My Outside Pick: Anne Hathaway, yes I know she’s in another category and yes I could have a better pick (I think they chose the best choices for this category), but I think her job in The Dark Knight Rises as Catwoman was great.
Best Supporting Actor:    Who Will Most Likely Win:  Robert De Niro, I just have a vibe he will win. People just love him and he did a pretty good job.
                                    My Vote:  Christoph Waltz, he was great in Django and perhaps even better than his stint in Inglourious Basterds.
                                    My Outside Pick: Christopher Walken, his performance in Seven Psychopaths was humorous and heartfelt and worth seeing.
            Best Supporting Actress:   Who Will Most Likely Win:  Sally Field, because this is one of those years where everyone attached to the big movie may win in their category.
                                                            My Vote: Jacki Weaver, she was hilarious as Bradley Cooper’s mom.
                                                            My Outside Pick: Emily Blunt, she was decent in Looper.
            Best Animated Feature: Who will Most Likely Win: Brave, unfortunately this will happen I say Pixar has this category in a monopoly even if I wasn’t too impressed by the film.
                                                My Vote: Wreck It Ralph, because it was fantastic and was the best movie about video games ever.
                                                My Outside Pick: The Lorax, because it had great messages and a great soundtrack and a great job by Ed Helms and Danny Devito.
            Best Original Score:   Who Will Most Likely Win:  Skyfall, because it wasn’t nominated for anything else pretty much :(
                                                            My Vote: Skyfall, had a decent score
                                                            My Outside Pick: The Dark Knight Rises, had a great score.

                        Best Visual Effects:                Who will Most Likely Win:  The Hobbit:An Unexpected Journey, because there were some great effects.
                                                                        My Vote: Prometheus, there were some amazing shots and CGI.
                                                                        My Outside Pick: John Carter, sure the movie might not have been the best but there were some impressive visuals.

So there’s what I have to say, let’s see what happens!