Tag Archives: olivia wilde

In Time – Review

23 Feb

One thing that I look for in movies is originality, and while the story for In Time may have similarities to previous works in science fiction, it’s still one of the most original movies to come out of Hollywood in a long time, especially in a world of sequels and reboots. Andrew Niccol showed his talent for science fiction in the memorable and boring sci fi film Gattaca, and here we are once again in a futuristic world of his creation. In Time shows a dystopian world that seems fresh and new and for that I give it a lot of credit. Unfortunately, the execution could have been done a hell of a lot better.

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In the future, humans are being genetically engineered to live to the age of 25 and the only way to live longer is to earn more time on a biological clock that is implanted and shown on the left forearm. Will Salas (Justin Timberlake) is a poor worker who lives day to day with less than 24 hours on his clock. After receiving over 100 years from a suicidal businessman, Salas comes to see how unfair the system is and how the wealthy can live forever. Soon, Salas begins a campaign to break the system along with his hostage turned partner Sylvia (Amanda Seyfried) who comes from a wealthy background herself. As the duo continues stealing from the rich to give to the poor, a determined Timekeeper, Ray Leon (Cillian Murphy), remains hot on their trail with a mission to uphold the system of economics already in place.

When this movie first started, I was all for it. The dystopian world that was created was both believable but also anchored in a sort of unspoken history if that makes any sense. I could believe that, by the way people spoke and acted, the world actually got to this point. Also the whole idea of the currency being measured in time made me stressed out. I’m the kind of person that always has to know what time it is, how much time I have to do something, and if I’ll have any time left over. This world would be impossible for me to live in, so the stakes were high. It got the exact reaction out of me that was intended, so I’ll definitely give it that.

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Now let’s take a step back and look at the movie as a whole. The idea is fantastic and the cinematography by Roger Deakins is great as you would suspect, but that’s really where the excellence stops. The word I would use to describe this movie is “serviceable.” Maybe part of the problem was that I went into In Time expecting a whole lot more than I actually got. What the movie turned out to be was a lackluster science fiction Robin Hood/Bonnie and Clyde type story. That’s totally cool, but when the pacing is so weird, the movie just begins to feel uneven and often boring. There isn’t a whole lot of action, which is fine, but when the movie slows down, the scenes of drama and dialogue aren’t especially hard hitting.

The acting talent in this movie is also questionable. Justin Timberlake and Cillian Murphy were just fine in my opinion, but everyone else was either underutilized or not good. Both Olivia Wilde and Johnny Galecki, two actors who were giving good performances, were in it for a total of 10 minutes each. Amanda Seyfried, a main character who was in most of the movie, blew the big one. I never really was a fan of hers, and this just solidifies my opinion. Every line she delivered was hollow or phony and I just didn’t believe her at all. Isn’t that kind of a main requirement for an actor?

In Time works as a mediocre film with a strong sci fi story that just isn’t used well. The acting is hollow and the pacing is just plain awkward. It’s so disappointing that a movie with so much originality and such a great premise is wasted on something that ends up being a derivative popcorn flick that could’ve used a double shot of excitement and cleaning up. I mean, really.

Turistas – Review

15 Dec

I almost feel like what’s the point of reviewing this? Do I really have anything to say? No, at least nothing that’s already been said, but if I did that I wouldn’t really be doing my job as a reviewer. Pretty much, I feel like this movie is a missed opportunity. Here we have something that, with the proper execution, could have been really good. Instead I sat through an hour and a half of derivative and all around disappointing work.

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After a bus crash leaves a group of tourists stranded on a dirt road in Brazil, they decide to go to the nearby beach (quite convenient) for a day and drinking, swimming, and taking their clothes off. The next day, they awaken with all of their money and passports gone. Now, desperate to get home, they become involved with a psychotic doctor who makes his living harvesting the organs of tourists to sell to the hospitals of South America.

The whole idea of harvesting organs is really cool, and grounded in some sort of sick reality. There’s a scene where the audience gets the grotesque pleasure of seeing the doctor at work, but that’s really all the sickening scenes that this movie has to offer. Look at a contemporary horror film of this genre, Hostel. Lots of good build up with some extra gruesome satisfaction as a payoff. Turistas has a lot of boring build up with one memorable scene for all of the effort it took to sit through the mediocre dialogue of the ensemble of two dimensional characters.

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The actors are really nothing special. Josh Duhamel leads the cast with a performance that I can’t even remember. My eyes kept returning to Olivia Wilde because she’s Olivia Wilde. The only person that really kills it in this movie is Miguel Lunardi as Zamora, the doctor. He’s an evil son of a bitch with a great speech as he performs his operation. Why couldn’t there be more gut wrenching scenes like that? I don’t know what was more effective, the carving or the talking. There’s another cool scene of his involving a stick and an eye socket. The climax is also note worthy for its suspense. So far we have three good scenes out of the entire movie. Great…

The scenery is more interesting than the movie itself. I would occasionally tune out all of the monotonous talking and just look at the crystal clear waters and elegant jungles of Brazil. Too bad this isn’t a travel documentary of South America. It’s a horror movie! Shouldn’t I feel…scared? Well I didn’t. Instead I just wanted to go to South America and see all the sights. I feel like with this storyline, I shouldn’t want to get to Brazil in a hurry, but it really didn’t effect me at all.

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Turistas is a stupid movie with more than enough chances provided to be good. Unfortunately, it’s pretty much just a lame excuse to get a group of women to walk around in bikinis for half of a movie, add a scene or two of gore, and say “There, it’s a horror movie. Who wouldn’t want to watch this?” Well, me for starters. Then I’d say most of the people who were forced to sit through this derivative mess of a movie. Save yourself an hour and a half of your time, and don’t watch this. Instead watch a torture/gore horror film of this period that does it right, like Hostel.

TRON: Legacy – Review

24 Jul

After doing a review for TRON, I think it’s only fair to take a look at it’s predecessor that was released 27 years later. Whereas the original TRON was a stepping stone for the area of CGI, TRON: Legacy will be remembered as an important movie in the rapidly growing use of 3D and the continuing evolution of computer graphics.

 

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) knew all about the Grid from the stories he would be told by his father, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), but he never though that one night his dad would go to work and never return. For twenty years, the mystery of what happened to his father has plagued Sam, and when a mysterious page is sent to Kevin’s partner, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), from the old arcade, Sam goes to investigate. While there, he accidentally transports himself into the Grid where he not only finds his trapped father, but also the program that has turned against him, Clu (Bridges again…sort of).

For me, TRON: Legacy is an all around better movie than the original. The effects are obviously better, but the story has also been improved. Mind you, it’s not perfect at all. In fact, it can be kind of bewildering at times. The pacing is a lot better, however, and there is clear and more serious motivation behind what the characters do.

There are some serious plot holes that I thought of after the movie was over. The strange thing is, I didn’t really realize them as I was watching it because I was so enthralled by the audio/visual overload that is TRON: Legacy. That’s also to say that the plot holes exist, but they aren’t serious enough to really detract me from enjoying the movie. Looking back on them, however, my experience may be a little soured the next time I watch it.

As you can see from the clip above the previous paragraph, the light cycles look a hell of a lot better in this one than the original, no surprise there. While that may be obvious, I just want to comment on just how cool the entire look and sounds of this movie is. The computer graphics are fantastic and the bright orange or blue lights on the costumes contrast well with the blue and grey world. The sounds are appropriately robotic or glitchy, and the often pounding score by legendary techno artists, Daft Punk, really help immerse the viewer in the cyber world. Also, the de-rezzing looks awesome.

The only problem that I have with the CGI is a big one. This bothered me throughout the movie, and I was really hoping that I wasn’t the only one who was annoyed. Thankfully, I wasn’t. Clu’s face is digitized to make it look like a younger version of Kevin. Therefore, Jeff Bridges face is animated on another person doing the body acting. This looks pretty horrible. The film makers would have been smart not to stay in any sort of close up for too long, but that isn’t what happens. Instead, the viewers are forced to watch and wonder at a good, but failed attempt at making Bridges young again.

All I can really say is that TRON: Legacy is a much better movie than the original TRON. There was no point during this film that I got bored, which is more than I can say for the original. The Grid looks fantastic and the characters are surprisingly believable. There are some plot issues that are minor, but can be noticeable and Clu’s face looks terrible. Other than that, TRON: Legacy is a good sci-fi escape that proved to be a great way to spend an afternoon.