Tag Archives: time

Doctor Strange – Review

6 Nov

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown and expanded so much more than I ever expected since the days of Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. After showcasing those more mainstream heroes, including Captain America and Thor, it was time for Marvel and Disney to add something new to the mix and bring in some lesser known heroes. Ant Man was the first to really go somewhere strange, and the inclusion of Black Panther in Civil War was just awesome. Now, with Doctor Strange, we’re going down a wormhole that I never expected to see in an MCU movie. This is probably the most unique film in the entire franchise, and is most definitely one of my new favorites. Who woulda thunk it?

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Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is an accomplished, world renowned neurosurgeon who may operate on other people, but it only working for himself and his own inflated ego. After a devastating car accident leaves him with permanent nerve damage in his hands, Strange tries every medical technique he can find until he hears about this mystical clan in Kathmandu that helped a paraplegic walk again. Upon arriving at the secret training ground, Kamar-Taj, Strange is shown the secrets of multidimensional existence by the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), and is appointed a teacher, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Though reluctant at first, Strange becomes a star pupil and soon has to put everything he’s learned to the test when the treacherous magician Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelson) returns to unleash dark lord Dormammu and the Dark Dimension onto the earth.

I knew next to nothing about this character before going into this movie, so my expectations were a little weird. I was expecting something entertaining and disposable like Ant Man, but I got something so much more. This is more than just a comic book action film. While it works as an adaptation of a Marvel comic that builds on a universe that keeps on growing, it’s also a really impressive and mid bending fantasy. Listening to the characters talk about muliverses and mirror dimensions along with the lingering presence of the Dark Dimension and Dormammu just sounded so cool. It made even the extended scenes of dialogue feel just as exciting as the scenes with magic. The world that the screenwriters crafted with Doctor Strange is so fantastical, it’s impossible to complain at all about the lack of imagination put into superhero movies.

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So while the dialogue is all really cool, it wouldn’t be worth it if all the magic and special effects on display couldn’t match what they are all talking about. This is where Doctor Strange shines the brightest. This film has some of the best special effects I’ve seen all year. There was one point in the movie where Strange, Mordo, and Kaecilius are fighting and running through a city that is completely folding in on itself and coming apart like a kaleidoscope. Some of that scene was shown in the trailers, but it’s so much crazier than the trailers ever made it out to be. It was like Inception on steroids and LSD. The climax of the movie also plays out much differently than in most movies like this. It fits in very well with the rest of the movie and will certainly not disappoint.

Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as a Bostonian in Black Mass was a little awkward to say the least, so I was a bit concerned with how he’d handle the accent for Stephen Strange. My concerns were unwarranted since it’s clear he is the best choice for this character. He’s funny, arrogant, and sympathetic at the same time which makes this a fully realized character that is brought to life by a great performance by Cumberbatch. Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor also give very good performances, but I have to give an extra special shout out to Mads Mikkelson as Kaecilius. While his character didn’t have nearly as much screen time as I may have wanted, he stole every scene he was in and is one of the more memorable villains in the recent MCU.

 

Doctor Strange has so much imagination, action, fantasy, and humor crammed into it that it sometimes feel like it might burst from the awesomeness. The actors all do a splendid job with the roles and the special effects are going to make you feel like a kid on Christmas. This is definitely one of the better movies in the MCU, and while it may not be the best, it’s definitely one of my new favorites in the franchise.

Final Grade: A

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Looper – Review

11 Oct

Have you ever watched a movie that made your brain feel like its been twisted and by the end it has to quickly unravel? That’s a pretty weird description, but that’s exactly how I felt at the end of Looper. I’m a hug fan of writer/director Rian Johnson, who’s done the excellent films Brick and The Brother’s Bloom. Now, Looper is added to the list and just might be his masterpiece.

 

The year is 2044, and in thirty years time travel will be invented and quickly outlawed. People are sent back through time by criminals to 2044 where they are executed by loopers, who are pretty much assassins working in the present for future employers. Joe Simmons (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one of these loopers, who up until now has had no problems. His most recent assignment is to kill an especially interesting target: his future self (Bruce Willis). His future self escapes with a plan of his own to protect the future, with his present self hot on his heels, all while being chased by his own organization.

From the opening scene to the very last, Looper is filled with outstanding dialogue, action, and though provoking concepts that guarantee much discussion hours after the movie is over. Morality and science clash in a fantastic mesh of thematic material that makes this film more than just an average science fiction film.

 

Rian Johnson has this incredible eye when it comes to setting up a scene. There was a point in this movie where I turned to my friend and told him that it was some of the best camera work I have ever seen, and that’s no exaggeration. The camera tilts, tracks, and pans in the most interesting of ways, giving each scene its own style that is appropriate for the story and the mood. There is one great shot (that can actually be quickly seen in the trailer) where Joseph Gordon-Levitt falls from a balcony and the camera tilts with his falling body. It gives the scene a very disorienting feel. This is just one of many examples.

Leaving the aesthetics of the movie, I must take time to recognize and show my appreciation to Johnson’s imagination. This is a incredibly well written movie with snappy dialogue that is both serious and sarcastic, and an entire story that sounds hard to believe until it is seen. The narrative also has a very unconventional route. I can’t really explain this, but I will say I had no idea what was going to happen next. It may be one of the most unpredictable movies I’ve seen outside of David Lynch.

There is really only one very minor detail that I wasn’t even going to bother mentioning because it is so small. There is a scene in this movie that really did not need to be there. I don’t want to say what it is, but I will say that it would have been much better to have let the idea go by a little more subtly.

Looper may very well be the best movie of the year, but I can’t say for sure since it’s only October. It goes to show the Rian Johnson is only getting better as a film maker, so hopefully he keeps on going. This film isn’t just mind bending, it’s mind twisting, warping, and blowing. Whatever you do, do not miss out on Looper. You will not be disappointed.

 

Limitless – Review

1 Sep

We all wish that we could be better versions of ourselves, no matter how much you are happy with your place in society. Who wouldn’t want to be the perfect person? Well, in the film, Limitless, that gets to happen to someone, and even though it appears to be great there are terrible consequences. This is a very well made movie that is a lot deeper than I anticipated.

 

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper) is a writer who is struggling with even getting the first word written for his new book. His life seems to be in the ultimate rut when his girlfriend, Lindy (Abbie Cornish), walks out on him. A strange meeting with someone from his past changes his life forever when he is offered a pill called NZT-48 that will allow him to access 100% off his brain. Using this pill, he not only finishes his book, but also learns how to beat the stock market and is soon hired by Carl Van Loon (Robert De Niro), who soon begins to suspect that Morra isn’t quite what he appears to be.

Let me just begin with saying that this movie was technically a masterpiece. The dizzying effect when Morra is way too deep in the grasp of the drug is something I’ve never seen anything like before. It reminded me of the dolly zoom that was first seen in Vertigo, but on a much larger scale. The color correction, gelling, and light work that is used to show when Morra is on the drug and off is perfect. When he has his brain working at full potential, everything is bright as opposed to the normal cold blue and gray look.

 

The whole idea of this is just really cool, if not scientifically inaccurate. It’s true that the hypothesis that only 20% of your brain is used has been debunked, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying Limitless. Think of it as a pill that unlocks your true potential and your subconscious thoughts, which in turn unlocks your smallest memories that have been stored in the deepest recesses of your mind. Who wouldn’t want to try that? It sounds like the greatest thing since sliced bread. How would you use it, though?

I enjoyed seeing how Eddie Morra flaunt his newfound intelligence and make enemies. I feel like this is a message the movie is trying to express. Although you may have a vast amount of knowledge, being braggadocios and obnoxious will only hurt you. I did want to see Morra succeed in the end, but it was still difficult to like him at times.This feeling of dislike made his character more real and deep.

 

While Requiem for a Dream scares the audience away from drugs, Limitless more of a warning then a condemnation. By the end of the movie, the viewer understands the danger of the drug, and how to relate it to daily life. What I’m trying to say is the movie warns more against the dangers of over usage and abuse in a very interesting and original way.

Limitless is a fantastic movie that is artistic, intelligent, inaccurate, but fun. There’s a lot of unexpected intrigue and murder concerning the business aspect of the movie and the drug abuse aspect. The greatest victory of this movie is its ability to make the audience feel like what Morra might feel. This is not a film you want to miss.