Big Game (2014) Review

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Big Game (2014)

Directed by Jalmari Helander

Starring:
Samuel L. Jackson
Onni Tommila
Felicity Huffman
Victor Garber
Ted Levine
Jim Broadbent
Ray Stevenson

Running time: 90 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A young teenager camping in the woods helps rescue the President of the United States when Air Force One is shot down near his campsite.

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My Opinion:

I watched this last week but then I watched Mad Max: Fury Road which is a billion trillion times better than Big Game so I of course had to review that first (review HERE). Then I watched Pitch Perfect 2 yesterday which is also better than Big Game but, well, I had this review partly ready to go so let’s get this silly Samuel L Jackson movie out of the way.

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I saw a trailer for this a while ago & thought it looked silly but fun. The trailer kind of made it look like Escape From New York but set in the wilderness in Finland with Samuel L Jackson playing the Donald Pleasence role & a little kid playing Kurt Russell. Ha! Well, that would have been kind of cool but Big Game isn’t quite as much fun as I was hoping. Silly, yes! Not very good. Kind of fun, I suppose. It’s not like it ruined my day or anything but it’s certainly not one you need to go to the cinema to see. Watch it at home if you’re a Jackson fan.

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What I liked is that this movie said “screw it!” and just did all kinds of stupid & cliché things (oh! it’s the Secret Service guy’s final assignment before retiring? no way!) but the director & actors are clearly just enjoying making an almost “family friendly” film that’s almost done 80’s-action-movie-style. Almost. The silly side of 80’s action movies, at least. Things like Commando. Will I be in trouble for calling Commando silly? That’s the one with Alyssa Milano, right? I remember when I wanted to be cool like Alyssa Milano back in the Who’s The Boss days! Anyway – I have nothing against movies like that. Those were great! Not GREAT like in a Predator or Terminator way but, you know – more fun than most shit that gets made today. Hmm. Maybe Commando was actually awesome. I don’t remember. I should watch it again sometime. But I’m pretty sure it didn’t have the American President and a 13-year-old boy from Finland flying around all over the place in a freezer. Spoiler warning? Oops. Doesn’t matter. The flying freezer pisses all over the Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull fridge nuking! But it’s meant to be ridiculous. I think? I wouldn’t quite say this is a “so bad it’s good” movie because it’s really not that bad. If you just go into it with an open mind & in the right kind of mood, you might get a few good laughs out of it.

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Summary:

I kind of had fun with Big Game. It’s ridiculous but it’s not like you’re meant to take it seriously. Remember the good old days (yeah, the Eighties) when we weren’t so judgmental & snobby about movies and just had fun with silly action movies that were violent but actually really tame and didn’t have blood & guts flying all over the place and we watched them even though we weren’t really meant to because we were a little too young? Big Game is like that. But who the hell cares now that MAD MAX: FURY ROAD is out?!?! THAT’S a great action movie just like the old days! Go to that! Don’t go to Big Game. Don’t go to Pitch Perfect 2 (did that seriously do better at the box office than Fury Road? seriously???). Go to Fury Road!

My Rating: 6/10

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For those who don’t know it, there’s something called the Eurovision Song Contest every year where a bunch of countries perform an original song & try to win the contest and the songs are CRAP and everyone makes fun of the whole thing. Anyway, my favorite moment from it was the year that Finland’s entry by the band Lordi won. So I kept thinking of Lordi while watching Big Game since that’s pretty much the only thing I know about Finland. Because I’m American & Finland is outside of America. 😉 Here’s Lordi’s winning song Hard Rock Hallelujah! Lol

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Divergent (2014) Review

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Divergent (2014)

Directed by Neil Burger

Based on Divergent by Veronica Roth

Starring:
Shailene Woodley
Theo James
Ashley Judd
Jai Courtney
Ray Stevenson
Zoë Kravitz
Miles Teller
Tony Goldwyn
Maggie Q
Kate Winslet

Running time: 139 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)

The story takes place in a dystopian post-apocalyptic version of Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Beatrice Prior is warned that she is Divergent and thus will never fit into any one of the factions and soon learns that a sinister plot is brewing in her seemingly perfect society.

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My Opinion:

See that up there in the plot synopsis? “Dystopian post-apocalyptic“! I freaking love dystopian. And post-apocalyptic. And especially the two together – dystopian post-apocalyptic!!! And in my usual anal list-making ways, I already did a list of My Top Ten Post-Apocalyptic Movies HERE. I also love current YA fiction so Divergent is right up my alley, which is probably why I enjoyed it more than it may have deserved.

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First of all: I’ve not read the books. I used to read a lot more and I always try to read a book before seeing the movie if it’s the type of book that interests me. But I just don’t have the time to read anymore (I’ve been reading Doctor Sleep since December. I’m finally almost finished – should be done by June!). I LOVED The Hunger Games books (and the movies have been very good adaptations, especially Catching Fire, review HERE). But as good as they are, I never quite fully enjoy the movies as much when I’ve read the books since the books are better 90% of the time. So, with Divergent, I thought “screw it!”. It might be nice to just sit back & enjoy a movie series without having to overanalyze and constantly compare it to the books and to not know how it’ll all end. So I quite enjoyed this story even though it’s a not-as-good Hunger Games with a story that doesn’t come together as well and characters that aren’t as well-developed or acted. I know it’s YA fiction but it feels more “shallow” than The Hunger Games, which does make you think a bit. I don’t know if maybe it works a bit better in the books but the story was at least entertaining enough that I do want to see the rest of the movies to see where they go with it.

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I liked Shailene Woodley but don’t think she’s as strong of a lead actress as Jennifer Lawrence is in The Hunger Games (sorry – it’s VERY hard to not compare the two). The hubby especially didn’t seem to like her for some reason so… I don’t know. I think she may be one that female viewers like more than male viewers do whereas both sexes seem to love J-Law. I would think Divergent will have far fewer male fans than The Hunger Games does, which seems to appeal to everyone. Divergent FEELS more like young adult fiction aimed mostly at girls than The Hunger Games does. Well, I don’t care what the hubby says – I’ve liked Shailene Woodley so far in what I’ve seen her in & she at least seems like a “real world” teenage girl. I think she also has very lovely, expressive eyes & I’m looking forward to seeing how she does in The Fault In Our Stars (another YA book I loved. Review HERE). I think that type of thing may suit her more than something like this, which has a lot of action and far more violence than I was expecting. (It’s actually very violent, for any parents who may be reading this & wondering. The content is as violent as The Hunger Games and there’s a lot more hand to hand combat, almost making it feel even more violent than The Hunger Games).

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As for all the other characters, I found them a little weak & underdeveloped compared to Woodley’s. Ashley Judd as Woodley’s mother was one of the better characters but we don’t get to see as much of the two of them together as I’d have liked. Her brother & especially father may as well not even be IN the movie for as little as we learn about them. And, I’ll keep this as spoiler free as I can but… One character has a secret yet has a tattoo that gives away that important secret?! Whaaat? That seemed stupid. And Kate Winslet was fine but a total cookie cutter character. Zoë Kravitz wasn’t too bad and she’s pretty cute (it helps to have really attractive parents, I suppose). I just really felt no connection to anyone beyond Woodley – hopefully we get better character development in the sequels so I don’t have to read the books.

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Summary:

I enjoyed this movie but it definitely has its faults. The story is a bit of a mess and doesn’t come together all that well (I was a little confused at times). I’m hoping the sequels will be better and that the characters will be further developed. Basically, it’s just not as good as The Hunger Games and feels more “YA”. But I do like the overall concept and the amount of good YA fiction these days with strong female characters is a great thing to see.

My Rating: 6.5/10

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Thor: The Dark World (2013) Review

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Thor: The Dark World (2013)

***SPOILER FREE REVIEW***

Directed by Alan Taylor

Starring:
Chris Hemsworth
Natalie Portman
Tom Hiddleston
Anthony Hopkins
Stellan Skarsgård
Idris Elba
Christopher Eccleston
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Kat Dennings
Ray Stevenson
Zachary Levi
Tadanobu Asano
Jaimie Alexander
Rene Russo

Running time: 112 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Yada yada Odin. Yada yada Asgard. Yada yada something called Aether. Yada yada Malekith. Yada yada Rene Russo. Yada yada not much Loki. Yada yada Nine Realms. Hubba hubba CHRIS HEMSWORTH!

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My Opinion:

Chris Hemsworth is rather attractive. Like, almost annoyingly attractive. Like, “it should be illegal to be that attractive” attractive. If I was a man, I’d probably want to punch that pretty face. But I’m a girl so I just want to kiss that pretty face. And those eyes! I don’t normally like blue eyes but his are so lovely! You know someone is too attractive when Natalie Portman looks really plain standing next to them. And there’s a shirtless scene close to the start of this movie where they maybe linger a bit too long on the lovely half-naked Thor (which supposedly really annoyed Hemsworth?). I had no problem with this scene….

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Okay okay – That’s not from Thor. I can’t find an image from the shirtless scene but, trust me, I’ll post it when I do. You know I came through for you all in finding his bum scene from the wonderful Rush. 😉

Where was I? Oh yeah – Thor review! I got distracted. Well, it’s like my above plot synopsis. Blah blah weird names I’ll never remember blah blah Natalie Portman blah blah the necessary quick mention of S.H.I.E.L.D. thrown in there blah blah THOR! Okay – I know this all sounds like I didn’t enjoy this but I’m just exhausted and not in the right mood to do some serious review. I really liked The Dark World! I actually preferred it to the first Thor movie and it was, luckily, FAR better than this year’s other superhero films which I found extremely disappointing (Iron Man 3 & especially that OTT Man Of Steel).

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I’ve said it before with other films like this but I better say it again: I know nothing about comic books. I’ve never read any so, when I watch superhero movies, I know pretty much nothing about the characters and the stories. This is nice, though, because I don’t have to worry about all that fanboy (err… fangirl) stuff where they always end up pissed off about something. I can just enjoy the movie. Or not enjoy the movie. When Man Of Steel came out, I did a list of My Top Ten Superhero Movies HERE. I may have to update the list, actually, as I think Thor: The Dark World may now be at number nine or ten. 🙂

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With the first film… I dunno. I liked it but obviously they had to set up the characters and I really knew nothing about Thor and it all seemed a little weird. But now we know Thor, Loki, and Dr. Erik Selvig a bit better (especially after The Avengers) and it was easier to just sit back & enjoy the film without worrying too much about all the “blah blah Asgard yada yada” stuff. Actually, I liked seeing quite a lot of Asgard this time – I thought that would get boring. It’s lovely – especially that cool bridge thing (Um, the Bifröst? Thank god for Wikipedia!). I do love that funky bridge. And Heimdall is a cool dude.

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Rene Russo was good in this and I especially liked all the bits with her but I can’t say much more without spoilers. I like the Kat Dennings character and the comic relief she provides but that might not be for everyone. Loki is underused in this one which some probably won’t appreciate but I don’t care – it’s all about Thor for me! The bad guys looked kind of cool and I liked their masks – they looked like something out of Doctor Who. And speaking of Doctor Who, I didn’t even know that was Christopher Eccleston until the credits rolled.

20131106-092353 pm.jpgAll in all, I just really enjoyed all the “blah blah Asgard Aether Odin Nine Realms yada yada” stuff this time! Its only flaw (for me) is Natalie Portman. Not that I don’t like her – I do! But I’ve always felt it was an odd role for her and she just doesn’t seem to “fit” plus I feel NO chemistry between her & Thor. But this is really my only complaint – I like everything else about this. Oh, and the “final battle” was much better than in the first film – the end of the first film was a bit weak. To think some of this was filmed not that terribly far away from me in England! Chris Hemsworth was so close to me. So close yet… so far… *sigh*

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Summary:

Thor: The Dark World improves on the original film and I enjoyed it much more this time around now that I know all the characters a bit better. It’s a worthy addition to the superhero universe. I’m now once again looking forward to further superhero films – I’d lost hope after Iron Man 3 & especially Man Of Steel. The Dark World is funny when it needs to be, serious when it needs to be, and action-packed when it needs to be. I liked it a lot!

My Rating: 7/10

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Scene After The Credits? – Of course! It’s a superhero movie! And there’s not only one but TWO. One is halfway through the credits and the other one is at the very end. So stick around and try to hold in your pee.

Reviews Of Movies I’ve Seen In 2013