This week, Blaise and I had the chance to go see Keira Knightley’s new film, Laggies, which also starred Sam Rockwell and Chloe Grace Moretz. Check out our review of Laggies right here and let us know if you want to see it, or if you have already seen it, what you thought about it!
Everyone! Check out our video review of Disney’s new animated film Big Hero 6! Really fun movie to watch, especially if you are a fan of superheroes! Perfect family movie but adults can definitely enjoy this one as well!
Last night Chris and I went to see the advanced IMAX release of Christopher Nolan’s latest movie; Interstellar. Check out our spoiler free video review and definitely be sure to check out the movie!
I’m not exactly sure what compelled me to want to give Divergent a watch, but despite it being this year’s feature young adult film, but I was surprisingly satisfied when all was said and done. The movie stars Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four in the leads, and seemed like it would only be this year’s Hunger Games that features the trendiest young adult actors, a standard plot, and of course, a romance. Hell, I couldn’t even figure out what the plot was until I watched the movie; I really just didn’t know what to expect out of Divergent, but the film actually turned out to be pretty decent. While, like any film, Divergent had its negatives, I loved its fast paced nature that didn’t seem to slow down until the end, and accomplished everything that the Hunger Games series is doing in only one movie opposed to three.
In this futuristic world each citizen is divided up into one of five factions based on their personality. These factions are designated to different duties similar to the districts of Panem in the Hunger Games, but this is how society runs, they think this is a successful long-term strategy… People can also become factionless, which means they weren’t good enough to make it in their faction and are now cast out as homeless. You can’t return to your family and join your previous faction, you’re just done, it’s pretty rough.
The main character, Tris, is in the Abnegation (the selfless) faction with her family. Abnegation focus on helping others and draw no attention to themselves – they just try to be the neutral working class. Caleb, Tris’s brother, decides to change to the Erudite faction who are the intelligent and become the scientists and teachers. Tris is what they call Divergent, which means she is everything – she has the ability to recognize she is more than a drone in the system. No surprise, the society is trained to not like Divergents because they don’t fit in when really they pose the only threat to change how things are run. Tris decides to join the Dauntless faction who are the brave adrenaline junkies. These people are the fighters and rebels who become the policing force. These are the three factions featured in the film; there are two more (Amity and Candor) that come into the story after the first book/movie. I really like that they don’t immediately include all five of the factions, I thought it was a smart decision to keep some mystery set up for the future.
Dauntless was a fun faction to be introduced to because they are the most fun. Tris definitely seems out of her element and is going to have her work cut out for her with training for combat, especially coming from the faction that is completely selfless. The stakes get even higher when the initiates discover that this year only the top 10 recruits will make it into Dauntless and everyone else will be left cast out factionless. Tris eventually gets some training from the typical teen movie hunk pretty boy called Four – but – the movie actually does a fantastic job of positioning the romance as a very minor aspect of the plot while still having it develop. It’s not annoying like the other young adult movies, and that was good enough for me.
By spending the duration of the film in the Dauntless setting, viewers are really able to develop a sense for the world and the way things have become in this semi-dystopian future. I really loved seeing this faction and how the entire process works, and although I definitely want to see the others in depth as well, the glimpses given in this movie were a good enough start. I thought that the plot’s primary conflict was actually established pretty late into the movie, which surprised me a little but felt fitting for the pace of the film.
Divergent was fast paced and kept me interested in yet another take on a dystopian future in the young adult genre (which I despise). I thought the movie was more interesting than the Hunger Games and created a [more] unique world compared to the other hits in the genre that focused more on delivering a rich story with an interesting plot and setting. My biggest question at the end of Divergent was, “what’s going to come next?” – I know that it’s a trilogy and assume that, because of how much money these teen angst movies pull in, it will probably get a sequel. I’m actually curious about where the plot will go. I’m considering checking out the books but will have to do some research on if they are good or not, but, in the end, I definitely enjoyed Divergent. It even feels weird typing that out. While it wasn’t as well done in comparison to the Hunger Games; Divergent definitely was something worth checking out down the road when it becomes available digitally.
At least now I have some fresh conversation points when I next see my girlfriend’s younger sister.
What did everyone think of Divergent? Let me know why you did or didn’t like it. Did you read the books? How did the film compare and how did you like the casting choices? – Should I read them?
Alright so I was able to check out 300: Rise of an Empire like a week ago. Honestly, I wasn’t too excited for this movie, I’m not sure why. I definitely enjoyed the first 300, but have never felt any burning desire to watch the movie again and normally only watch it when it’s on TV and I find myself in the mood. Then I found out they were making the sequel and I just though ugh.. 300 just seemed like such a solo story about these epic guys who go to war despite being horribly against the odds, and it shouldn’t have a sequel. So I never looked much into the film; I saw that it had an okay cast and all of the trailers just looked like more of the same. I knew I wouldn’t see it in theaters, but I’d definitely watch it online or when it comes out on TV. Luckily, I was able to check it out online and actually was super happy with 300: Rise of an Empire, I ended up liking it much more than the first one.
So the plot of Rise of an Empire actually takes place across the time period of before, during, and after the original 300 movie but focuses on the Greeks and how they handled the entire situation. The main character is Greek general Themistokles who is a really cool lead who seems to be a smarter warrior with more thought allocated towards strategy and tactics. He’s a fine replacement for Leonidas and I loved watching him fight throughout the movie. On the other side, Eva Green plays the purely evil Atremisia; a brutal fighter and successful naval commander. Green was really awesome in her role and played a really fierce character that she seemed to fit into really well. Her look was pretty dark and I thought that she did a great job at playing the villain.
The action and fighting scenes are just as awesome as the first one, with the bloodshed effects definitely being toned down a bit, which I liked. The battle scenes pretty much all took place at sea with a combination of naval ship to ship battles as well as plenty of physical battles, it was awesome. The battle scenes in this movie seemed so much cooler than the last, mainly because of Themistokles and how much he wrecks people. 300 Rise of an Empire is pure action, and while it comes from some type of historical foundation, a large part of my interest in viewing the film comes from wanting to see some sweet fight scenes.
While I didn’t expect much from 300 Rise of an Empire, it definitely delivered more than I could anticipated; however, it of course still had its faults. My largest problem with the film came with one completely unnecessary scene that I felt totally disrupted the flow and definitely shook me out of the trance it had gotten me into. The scene was when Themistokles travels to a neutral ship to speak with Artemisia and the two end up having a power struggle through some aggressive sex – the whole scene was predictable and it just didn’t fit at all. Somehow, I was able to get past that and still fall back into the movie which returned to form and held up for the rest of the duration. All of the problems with 300 Rise of an Empire just felt like unnecessary ways to connect or familiarize itself with the original; whether it be the sex, the return of main characters now as minor characters, or flashbacks of the original film and its main cast, it all just felt like it was trying to say “don’t forget this is related to the original!” when it didn’t need to at all. 300 Rise of an Empire easily held up well as its own film and I thought was actually better thought out.
Overall, 300 Rise of an Empire delivers exactly what you would expect it to; action set during a past time period with big battles and lots of death. If you enjoyed the original movie, I think that you will definitely like this one as well. I at least appreciate it as an extension to the first that fills in some more details to the war and situation. As YouTube reviewer, Jeremy Jahns, put it- it would be cool to see someone splice the two films together to create a long epic version. I thought that Eva Green was super good at being super bad in this movie and Sullivan Stapleton was awesome as Themistokles, another kickass warrior lead to follow up Gerard Butler’s Leonidas. If you didn’t enjoy the first 300 movie, then you’ll be hit or miss with this one; I know plenty of people who just don’t like the on-screen graphic novel style (this and Sin City) and think it’s too overdone, which doesn’t change in this one. 300: Rise of an Empire was a solid follow up to 300 that didn’t leave me in disgust that they made a sequel and I definitely enjoyed this one, written by Zack Snyder and Kurt Johnstad, that is based off of Frank Miller’s graphic novel – but definitely would say I love it as a rainy day movie. If you have nothing to do and see it on, it’s definitely a good one to check out at some point, but what you see is what you get.
Matthew McConaughey | Dallas Buyers Club
Yes, let it be known that we are currently living through the McConaissance, a.k.a. the rebirth of McConaughey’s career. He’s been on a real hot streak this year with Mud, The Wolf of Wall Street, and now Dallas Buyers Club which is bringing his career back onto the map as he is now being taken seriously in the acting business. The best actor category is really phenomenal this year; it’s probably my favorite award this year because I have seen each film and all of the actors easily gave award worthy performances. Christian Bale played the suave, but romantic, con man, Irving Rosenfeld, who gets in over his head during American Hustle. Bruce Dern stole hearts with his touching role as Woody Grant; a man who is determined to prove something of himself as he attempts to trek across the country at such an old age in Nebraska. Leonardo DiCaprio was able to make one of America’s scummiest people come off as likable when playing the addict Jordan Belfort in, The Wolf of Wall Street. Chiwetel Ejiofor retaught me what despair and sadness truly feel like while portraying Solomon Northup in 12 Years a Slave. However, for me, Matthew McConaughey really stole the show with his emotional role in Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodroof.
Dallas Buyers Club focuses on another hustler, Ron Woodroof, who is eventually diagnosed with AIDS, but doesn’t let the disease bring him down. In his struggle, he decides to find a way on his own to supply himself and all other patients with foreign medicines that are not yet regulated in the United States. The movie as a whole is a really amazing story, but McConaughey’s performance singlehandedly blew me away with his ruthless quest to not give up and let the disease kill him without a fight. McConaughey is masterfully able to jump back and forth between Woodroof being driven to survive and giving up when all seems lost.
Woodroof’s friends all turn their backs on him for having AIDS and he is literally left with nobody but himself, which really shows how inspirational the character is. McConaughey also really made the role more believable with his drastic weight loss; leaving him around 130 lbs. The actor really put dedication into the role, and for me, won my full vote with his scene in the library when McConaughey lets out one powerfully angry, “FUCK,” when accepting the reality of his situation.
Overall, I thought that Matthew McConaughey was really able to help viewers connect with Ron Woodroof and AIDS patients everywhere. Luckily, the disease is at least better understood in today’s culture, but I’m sure people are still alienated all of the time and left to be along like Woodroof. For me, Matthew McConaughey was really able to become Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club and present a story of sadness and with an absence of hope, while also instilling the will to never give up and, in the end, deliver an inspirational film for everyone.
This week we are going to look at one of my favorite films that I wish had gotten more publicity and is super underrated; Pirate Radio, a.k.a., The Boat That Rocked (it’s original title). The movie focuses on an illegal pirate radio station that operated off of the coast of England in the North Sea during the 1960s, playing the best music around. The movie has an amazing cast that stars (the late great) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill nighy, Nick Frost, Katherine Parkinson, Chris O’Dowd, Rhys Ifans, Emma Thompson, and Kenneth Branagh.
The movie is really fun to watch and never seems to get old as it holds a strong value in the history of music during a time that rock and roll was frowned upon. This is my favorite role to watch Philip Seymour Hoffman in, and he just absolutely kills it in his role as the prime time DJ, The Count, who likes to push the limits of the rules and stick it to the man. The plot is great and also features a well-done coming of age tale for a boy who is struggling with his teenage years and having no adult male guidance.
On top of all this, there is also the soundtrack. One of the best movie soundtracks I have ever listened to, featuring classics from the time period like The Kinks, the Beach boys, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and many more. It’s one of the rare OSTs that holds a place in my iTunes library. For me, Pirate Radio is a classic and one of my favorite films to watch that can put me in a good mood or keep one going. It’s inspirational, caring, and something that everyone can appreciate. The movie blends quality moments between friends that makes everyone realize they fit in somewhere and will always be able to find a home.
So there it is, the movie of the week is Pirate Radio, my favorite roll of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s, which is why I chose it as my first movie of the week pick, and something that everyone can enjoy. It preaches a good message while also developing a solid story around one of my favorite casts for any film. It’s worth watching so go check this out as your movie of the week!
If you give Pirate Radio a view, or already seen it, let me know what you think!