A Million Ways To Die In The West (2014) Review

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A Million Ways To Die In The West (2014)

Directed by Seth MacFarlane

Starring:
Seth MacFarlane
Charlize Theron
Amanda Seyfried
Neil Patrick Harris
Giovanni Ribisi
Sarah Silverman
Liam Neeson

Running time: 116 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
In 1882 in the town of Old Stump, Arizona, cowardly sheep farmer Albert Stark (Seth MacFarlane) is dumped by his beloved girlfriend Louise (Amanda Seyfried) as a result of his withdrawal from a duel. Meanwhile, infamous outlaw Clinch Leatherwood (Liam Neeson) robs and kills an old prospector for a nugget of gold. He orders one of his men, Louis (Evan Jones), to escort his wife, Anna (Charlize Theron), to Old Stump to lay low while he continues his banditry.

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My Opinion:

Here you go – review number 2 of the 4 movies I watched all in one day at the cinema last week! 😉 (You can read my Edge Of Tomorrow review HERE).

As I said in my review of Neighbors, I don’t like many comedy movies. I’m picky on comedy & don’t find that many movies funny (especially nowadays). However, Neighbors wasn’t TOO bad – it was a bit of a pleasant surprise. And I like a lot of Seth MacFarlane’s stuff. I admit I’ve seen very little of Family Guy (even though I’ve liked what I’ve seen) and I loved Ted – it was very high on my list HERE of favorite 2012 movies. A Million Ways To Die In The West doesn’t live up to Ted and, in fact, I think I liked Neighbors more. But it’s still full of some hilarious stuff & I definitely had a fun time.

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If you like Seth MacFarlane, you’ll definitely like this film as it’s very much his type of humor. There are some intelligent observations, witty one-liners, movie references (one of which is BEYOND awesome and gave the biggest audience reaction by far), but still enough juvenile poop humor & sex jokes to keep a variety of filmgoers happy at least some of the time. Poop humor doesn’t do it for me (sorry, Eric!) but I’m still not about to act all snobby as I admit that all the absolute filth that came out of Sarah Silverman’s mouth in this cracked me the hell up. Complete & utter filth! Hilarious. 😉

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You know – I don’t know why I’m still talking (er… typing). If you like Seth MacFarlane, you’ll like this. If you don’t, you won’t (at least, I think it’s highly unlikely you will). That’s it. I think he’s funny, I actually love Sarah Silverman most of the time (I know she’s not for everyone), Neil Patrick Harris is clearly having loads of fun hamming it up as the bad guy, and I thought Charlize Theron was very very good as the most straight forward & sensible person in this. She actually has really great chemistry with MacFarlane & their scenes together where they just chat about simple things were fun to watch & felt very natural (even though Theron is like A Million Ways Too Hot For MacFarlane – think that was wishful thinking on his part when he (I assume) cast her. Lol). This movie feels like a series of (admittedly funny) jokes that had an overall pretty weak story written around them. It’s no Ted – that one felt much more “together” and was overall a much funnier film. But there were still enough laughs in A Million Ways To Die In The West to keep me smiling throughout.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Epic (2013) Review

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Epic

Directed by Chris Wedge

Based on The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs
by William Joyce

Starring Voice Actors:
Amanda Seyfried
Colin Farrell
Beyoncé Knowles
Josh Hutcherson
Christoph Waltz
Aziz Ansari
Chris O’Dowd
Pitbull
Jason Sudeikis
Steven Tyler

Music by Danny Elfman

Studio:
Blue Sky Studios
20th Century Fox Animation

Plot (courtesy of Wikipedia):

A girl named Mary Katherine (M.K), long separated from her father, Professor Bomba, visits him in his old house near a forest, where he lives with his dog, Ozzie. Bomba has long studied the artifacts of what he believes to be a group of tiny warriors who live in the forest and protect it. He often goes into the forest to look for them and has cameras everywhere, in hopes of confirming their existence. He is so involved with his work that he neglects M.K., resulting in her leaving and pasting a goodbye note to one of his monitors. As she is leaving, Ozzie knocks past her and runs into the woods. M.K. sets out to look for him. She comes upon a group of glowing, falling leaves. Catching one of them, she is suddenly shrunken. In her minuscule state, she discovers the group of warriors Bomba has studied, who are known as the Leafmen. Soon she is forced to assist them in a war against forces of rot known as the Boggans and their leader Mandrake, while trying to find out how to return home.

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My Opinion:

I won’t again go into my love for Pixar and how they make truly stunning films for people of all ages – I don’t see them as just “kid movies”. Studios other than Disney/Pixar, however, have yet to master keeping the adults as well as the kids entertained. Despicable Me (love it!) and Shrek (meh) have been a couple of the only non-Pixar movies that I think achieved this. Epic doesn’t even come close to “keeping the adults entertained too” so I’ll review this for what it is: a kid’s movie.

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Epic is a strange one because I think the story is a bit complicated and the fact that the main character is a teenage girl makes this movie feel like it’s aimed at kids (girls especially) aged 8-13 or so. But this doesn’t seem like the sort of movie that kids these sort of ages WANT to see these days. There are some okay characters for the much younger audience (the snail & the slug are fairly funny) but I think younger kids will be a bit confused by the plot. Honestly, I’m not entirely sure who this movie is aimed at but I know I was really bored. I saw this four days ago and I’m struggling to remember much about it in order to be able to write anything. This is one of those movies I’m going to completely forget about in a year.

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The movie takes quite a while to get going and the pacing of the entire thing was off. We see a lot of the teenage girl and her estranged father at the beginning as she comes to stay with and reconnect with him. It seemed like ages before we got to the bit where she finally sees the tiny Leafmen. Yet in that time they still didn’t manage to make you feel anything for the father & daughter and for their situation – they didn’t develop any sort of connection with each other. I thought the teenage girl also adjusted to suddenly being tiny and in the middle of this epic “tiny person battle” a little too quickly. Of course, there’s a hot teenage Leafman so, naturally, I’m sure that helped. 😉

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As I said, the slug and snail were fairly funny (not good Pixar-type funny but typical kid-movie funny) so they were probably the highlight of the film for me. I guess. I found the voices of Beyonce and especially Steven Tyler a bit distracting (but, hey, kids wouldn’t notice things like that). But it reminded me of how much I hated Steven Tyler’s voice suddenly being in Polar Express and totally throwing me out of that movie (not that I was too bothered as I didn’t like that one much anyway). The teenage girl is fine as the main character – I think young girls watching the movie will probably connect with her. The dad was a bit of a bumbling idiot. The teenage Leafman was fine and the older Leafman who’s in charge was fine – these characters and the “baddies” (and the slug and snail) help to make this a movie that boys should like too even though the main character is female. There are also a lot of battles as there’s this war of good vs evil going on so I don’t mean to make it sound like this is a girl’s movie – sometimes boys see a girl as the main character and think that makes something a girl’s movie.

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Summary:

Epic is a movie where the plot is a bit too complicated for the very young but the slightly older child audience it seems to be aimed at will probably not find much they’ll care about in the film. I think older girls will connect with the main teenage girl, younger boys will like the Leafmen, the battles & the fairly scary bad guys, and the very young will like the slug and the snail. The whole thing was pretty and the animation was good and all that but I don’t think any of that is going to matter to the adults in the audience who will be checking their watches and just enjoying a bit of peace while their kids are (hopefully!) quiet and sitting still for 1 hour and 42 minutes. Meh. It’s not horrible. But it’s not that good. It’s aimed at kids but I don’t think this rating is too unfair as I don’t think many kids will exactly consider this one of their all-time favorite films…

My Rating: 5.5/10

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For a slightly better recent film aimed at kids, I did enjoy The Croods a bit more. Review here: The Croods

**And for those disappointed that there are no “underwear” pictures in this post, the closest I can think of is a picture of the character voiced by Steven Tyler. He wears a robe the whole time. With nothing underneath. And fully open. Close enough??

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