Tag Archives: aaron taylor-johnson

Godzilla – Review

18 May

Godzilla is a name that any person knows, even if they’ve never seen a movie starring the King of Monsters in their entire life. This larger than life lizard has had plenty of chances in his 60 years in the film business to show just how tough he is wether he’s engaged in a monster rumble with King Ghidorah in Destroy all Monsters or running around New York City, destroying whatever is in sight in his 1998 American remake. Now we have the 2014 Godzilla, and I’d say there is a lot riding on this to be good, especially after so many people despise his 1998 run. This version hearkens back to the original 1954 Gojira in more ways than one, and even though there’s some terrible flaws in this movie, it made for some excellent monster movie madness.

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In the Philippines, scientists Ishiro Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) are investigating a collapse in a mine when they find two giant pod-like eggs that have recently hatched. In Tokyo, Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) and his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) are working in the Janjira Nuclear Plant when unexplained seismic activity causes disaster not only for the plant, but also for Joe. Cut to 15 years later. Joe has become obsessed with exposing the cover up that was put in place after the accident at the plant, causing his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) to become more and more estranged from him. Ford now works for the army as a bomb specialist and has a wife (Elizabeth Olson) and a son, but all of that is put in jeopardy when he goes with his father to investigate further, only to find giant winged monsters called MUTOs begins a path of destruction for breeding purposes. Now, mankind’s only hope is lies in the actions of another awakened behemoth. One that is called “Gojira.”

To start off with, this is not a movie that is like other entries in the franchise like Mothra vs Godzilla or Godzilla vs Gigan. Sure, we get to see Godzilla fight, but that doesn’t happen right away. Think of Godzilla in the same way that you think of the 1954 original. That film is mostly about the human characters with Godzilla showing up a little bit, until the climax in Tokyo where we really get to see the destruction he is capable of. That’s how this movie is. Godzilla isn’t in this a whole hell of a lot, but when he is it is nothing short of epic. Director Gareth Edwards stated that he got inspiration from films like Jaws, where the monster isn’t always seen, but it’s unseen presence is enough to create an even greater amount of suspense.

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So keeping Godzilla pretty much hidden until the end isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What is a bad thing is that every time I thought I was going to see at least a little bit of action, the scene cut away. That would be fine if it happened once, but it happened at least three times. That’s just overkill. One time is enough to make me crave to see some monster action, but the amount of times the film did that just started to annoy me. Another problem I had with the movie was with Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Now, he’s a fine actor in the Kick-Ass movies, but I couldn’t really get into him too much here. He is the main character, but he was pretty one-dimensional. Cranston and Watanabe’s characters were far more interesting and into their roles, but sadly they weren’t in it nearly as much as they should have been, especially with Watanabe playing Serizawa who was a very important character in the original film.

Still, there was plenty in Godzilla that kept me more than entertained. The MUTO monsters are cool, especially their reveals and how they are differentiated between male and female. They had some really awesome scenes and powers that made them more the welcome in the Godzilla canon. Godzilla also looks and sounds great. My absolute favorite part of the movie is when he finally gets around to using his atomic breath. I was waiting patiently for it to happen, and when I finally saw that blue glow break through the fog all the way up Godzilla’s back, I knew what I was in for and I wasn’t disappointed.

Being a huge fan of Godzilla movies, I can honestly say that this one didn’t disappoint even though it was nowhere like what I thought it was going to be. It is the Christopher Nolan Batman compared to Tim Burton’s Batman. They may be very different, but that isn’t a bad thing. This is a much more realistic way to show the monster and his possible effects on the world, but I still really enjoyed it. I do wish there was a little bit more monster action and interesting characters, but that’s not enough to totally ruin the movie for me. This is still an excellent popcorn flick that should please Godzilla fans enough to make them ask for more.

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Kick-Ass 2 – Review

29 Aug

The first Kick-Ass can be used as anyone’s prime example for a surprisingly awesome movie that seems to have blasted through everyone’s expectations. It’s seamless blend of irreverent humor and graphic violence made audiences cheer for its heroes, and made parents cringe at the thought of their perfect little children being exposed to such devilry. Well, sorry parents, it’s all back in Kick-Ass 2, a worthy sequel to the original, even though it falls flat in a few important areas.

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Dave Lizewski (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has decided that enough is enough when it comes to his “superhero” alter ego, Kick-Ass. This bores him to no end, however, and he decides to strike up a partnership with fellow superhero Mindy Macready (Cholë Grace-Moretz), aka Hit Girl. Unfortunately, Mindy has decided that she has to start living a normal life, and does her best to become a normal high school freshman. This doesn’t stop Kick-Ass, though, as he goes to the streets and joins a team of superheroes, like himself, led by Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey), to fight crime together. On the villainous side, Chris D’Amico (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), now calling himself The Motherfucker, begins building his own team comprised of super villains to take on Kick-Ass and his crew, with deeper wishes to get revenge on Kick-Ass, personally.

Something that Kick-Ass 2 does absolutely right is introduce more superheroes and an equal amount of super villains. Now you know the action is going to be stepped up, and stepped up it is. The climax of the movie is literally fantastic. It’s a bone crunching, face punching, blood splattering fiasco that is the perfect coda to the rest of the movie. The other instances of action can be described the same way, just on a smaller scale. One worry I had for this movie was that the violence was going to be toned down, which has happened to films in the past. Instead, it keeps up with the original Kick-Ass and delivers the goods, especially when it comes to Hit Girl.

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You can’t get much cooler than Hit Girl, and fans across the world would have to agree with me. Seriously though, what a great action character, and she gets her chance to shine in that department. When Hit Girl’s around, you know some baddies will be going home with a few less limbs. Interestingly enough, she spends more time as Mindy in this film, and the audience gets to see a more vulnerable side to her. Take her out of her violent element and put her in the normal life of a high school student, and all of a sudden she doesn’t seem that tough anymore. It was surprisingly entertaining to watch her try and fit in, but that’s not to say that it wasn’t all the more exciting to see her don the outfit at times and kick more ass than its title character.

Where the movie does fall flat is its comedy. Mindy has some hysterical one liners and Jim Carrey’s Stars and Stripes is just a funny character. Everyone else seems to miss the mark. Christopher Mintz-Plasse has a few scenes where he was funny, but I actually enjoyed his character during the more serious moments. The storyline of Kick-Ass 2 is a lot darker than its predecessor, but this is still supposed to be a comedy, and when it was obvious the comedy was trying to break through, it just didn’t work too well.

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As far as sequels go, Kick-Ass 2 was a lot better than you  might originally think. I still really enjoy all the characters and the action is still as brutally fun as ever, but I think it’s time to put an end to it. Let’s stop it here before the series totally runs out of juice and releases a third film that can’t hold up to the other two. This is a good way to end the series and that way we can look back and remember that there are two really good Kick-Ass movies.