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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Movie Review - Interstellar


Interstellar $$$
 


PG-13
169 Minutes
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Mackenzie Foy, and John Lithgow.
Director: Christopher Nolan.  
 

            A good story, regardless of genre, is about people. While Interstellar falls comfortably into the science-fiction genre the real story is about a father and his daughter. That is what made this film so appealing to me.
            Earth has been stricken by a blight which has destroyed most of the food crops which we produce. And it’s getting worse.
            Without giving away too much of the story let me say that Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) had been an astronaut before the blight changed the world and turned him into a farmer. His daughter, Murph (Mackenzie Foy) has a ghost in her room and that leads to Cooper being recruited for a last desperate mission to save the human race.
            The down-side to all of this is that due to the principles of relativity he could lose decades of time with his family. Each decision he makes on the mission very well could impact his ability to see his daughter again. That is where the human element comes in and what in my mind made this a great movie. 
 

            This is how I ranked Interstellar: 

1. Fun – I found this as interesting a movie as I’ve seen this year. However, my wife did not. She compared it to Gravity and felt parts of it were too slow. The difference could be that I was totally focused on the anguish Cooper felt over each scenario that could delay his return to Earth.
            Interstellar gets Half a MB for fun, but for hard sci-fi fans should consider this a full MB rating.  

            2. Story – I found the treatment of this topic to be reasonably original. It definitely focuses on character and not special effects or action. Some parts of the ending were less spectacular from a story-telling point of view, but not enough to detract from my overall impression of the story.
            Interstellar gets a Full MB for story.  

            3. Technical – Wonderful special effects. The sound was great. I feel that the director did a good job with the material he was handed.
            Interstellar gets a Full MB for the technical aspects of the film.  

            4. Acting – Pretty good for the most part. Matthew McConaughey is great in the lead. The vulnerability that Mackenzie Foy displays really helps set the human aspects of the story. No real complaints about the supporting cast. It was nice to see John Lithgow again. The only real problem in this area was Anne Hathaway, who turned in a fairly dull and lifeless performance. If the audience was supposed to like this character, I feel that she failed to elicit that emotion. 
            Interstellar gets Half a MB for acting. I think a strong female lead would have made this story even stronger.  

            Added together, Interstellar gets a rating of 3 Movie Bucks, but if you are die-hard sci-fi fan consider this a 3 1/2 rating. I suggest seeing this on a big screen with a good sound system. A matinee showing of the movie would be ideal. It may be a little slow for younger children and at nearly 3 hours in length, that could be a drawback.

 
                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.

 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Movie Review - The Boxtrolls


The Boxtrolls $$ 1/2
 

 

PG
96 Minutes
Starring: Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright, and Elle Fanning.  
Directors: Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi.
  

            Eggs (Isaac Hempstead Wright) is a human who thinks he is a boxtroll. Unfortunately, that means he is part of a group that is hunted by Archibald Snatcher (Ben Kingsley) an exterminator with his eyes set on sitting with the social elite and sharing cheese and conversation with them.
            Things change when Fish (Dee Bradley Baker) is snatched and eggs must leave the troll’s underground home and travel the streets of Cheesebridge in search of a way to rescue his friend. 
            Except for an elevated grossness factor The Boxtrolls is a good family movie. This is how I rated it.  

1. Fun – The first half of the film was a little slow for my liking, but over all I enjoyed it. It was the second-half that provided most of the laughs for me. I give it a half MB for fun. 

2. Story – While handled well the storyline is not very original. A boy grows up in a strange society, finds out he doesn’t really belong there, and ends up saving his friends from the evil members of his own society. I just saw the animated Tarzan movie this week and they handled the same theme in a much better fashion. I give The Boxtrolls a half a MB for a reasonably well-done story.  

3. Technical – The stop-animation of this film turned me off. The characters have various levels of grotesque added to them, which might be a bonus for some viewers. I did not like the weird extra coloring on some of the characters. Mostly blues added to their faces. I found it distracting. The Boxtrolls gets a half a MB for special effects and other technical aspects.  

4. Acting – I felt that this was the films high-point. Ben Kingsley does a wonderful job as the villainous exterminator with high aspirations, but it was Mr. Trout (Nick Frost) and Mr. Pickles (Richard Ayoade) who stole the show. All I will say is that these are not your ordinary henchmen. I give a full MB for the entertaining voice work done in this film.  

            Add it all up and The Boxtrolls gets 2½ Movie Bucks. I suggest seeing it as a matinee because the big screen is the way to go with this film. It may be a bit silly and gross for adults, but children will love it. 
 

                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.

 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Movie Review - The Maze Runner


The Maze Runner  $$$ ½

 
 

PG-13
113 Minutes
Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Ki Hong, Lee, Will Poulter, and Kayda Scodelario.
Director: Wes Ball.
 

I hadn’t read the book, but the trailer looked cool so I decided to see the movie and am glad I did. Now I need to read the book. 
Thomas wakes up in an elevator. He doesn’t know who he is, where he is, or pretty much anything else. He finds himself in a glade with a bunch of other teenaged boys in the center of a mammoth maze. The question on the minds of the boys in the maze and the audience as well is why are they there? That is enough to keep your attention throughout this movie and wanting to see the next one in the series.                

            Here is how I rated the film:

1. Fun – If you like a movie that places you squarely in the middle of a mystery then you should like this film. I did. The drive to find out what was going on kept me riveted.
The Maze Runner gets a Full MB for keeping me guessing.

            2. Story – This is an interesting story. The premise of placing a bunch of teens in the middle of a maze as some sort of experiment, and possibly more, is unique enough to be refreshing when so much of what we get out of Hollywood is remakes of what we have already seen. 
            The Maze Runner gets a Full MB for a an intriguing storyline.

            3. Technical – The set looked great and the special effects were excellent. In this situation it is more about setting the mood for the story and I think they accomplished that quite well.
            The Maze Runner  gets a Full MB for putting me into a brand new environment.

            4. Acting – The acting didn’t really stand out. Everyone was compentent enough that their acting didn’t get in the way of the story, but failed to grab my attention—with the exception of Aml Ameen as Alby and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt. I really enjoyed watching both of these actors on screen and look forward to seeing them do more.
            The Maze Runner gets Half a MB for acceptable acting.  

            The Maze Runner gets a rating of 3 ½ Movie Bucks. I suggest seeing it at a matinee or other discounted showing. It is a little intense in a few scenes and may not be appropriate for very young children, but I do recommend it to anyone who enjoys watching a mystery unfold.  

                        Randy’s Rating System 

$$$$   = Full Price    See this movie right away and pay full price, it’s worth it.
$$$     = Matinee      Catch this as a matinee or other discounted showing.
$$        = Discount     Wait until this movie reaches a discount theater near you.
$          = Rental         Wait until this movie reaches your local video rental outlet.
0          = No Sale       Don’t see this movie at any price.