Sunday, June 30, 2013

Oz: The Great and Powerful

5 out of 10 stars

James Franco.............................Oz
Michelle Williams.........Annie/Glinda
Mila Kunis.........................Theodora
Rachel Weisz.....................Evanora


Okay, I would just like to start off by saying: THIS. IS NOT. A TIM BURTON MOVIE. Do not listen to what other people say. Tim Burton had absolutely no part in the making of this movie. It may look like a Tim Burton movie, but it's not. 

Which does lead me to say that this movie is weird. And I don't mean like disturbing-images-weird, but it's just.... weird. 

First of all, this movie is what they call "visually stimulating." And in the beginning, there is one moment where the colors look really cool. The very beginning of the movie is black and white because it is set in the very early 1900's. When Oz gets sucked into a giant tornado in his hot air balloon and gets thrown into the Land of Oz, everything turns to color and it does look quite nice. But for the rest of the movie, it's very... overdone. 

Also, there were parts of the movie that I didn't understand. If any of you are familiar with the story of Wicked, you know that Glinda is friends with Elphaba. Now this story takes place after Wicked but before the Wizard of Oz. If you noticed in the cast list, there is no Elphaba in the movie. Glinda's there and Oz is there but Elphaba is not. 

When I brought this up at work, one of my managers said how there are supposed to be four witches and only three are shown in the movie so maybe Elphaba was on vacation or something. And while that makes sense, Theodora becomes the "Wicked" Witch and Evanora is evil as well. So there are already two wicked witches without Elphaba, and I'm pretty sure there's supposed to be two good witches and two bad witches.

However, someone told me (and this may not be true) that this movie is supposed to be closer to the original story. I've never read the original story so I wouldn't know. I just thought the whole Elphaba thing was confusing.

Also, I thought the Wizard was named "The Wizard of Oz" because he resided in Oz. But in this movie, he's already named Oz. So I thought "maybe they name the land after him then." But no, when Oz crash-lands his hot air balloon, Theodora is like "Welcome to Oz" or something and I was like "so they're both already named Oz....." Of course, in the movie, the three witches mention some kind of prophecy but it was never very well explained so I was extremely confused throughout the whole movie. 

One other thing, this is a "kids" movie but there are some freaky images in this movie. If you were scared of the flying monkeys in "The Wizard of Oz," you're going to be scared of them in this movie as well.

And as for the actors, well....

I just... I didn't like James Franco's character in this film. And I know that in the beginning, you're not supposed to like him because he's selfish, greedy, etc. But even at the end, I wasn't really feeling it. And personally, Franco just seemed.... awkward in the role of Oz. I don't know, it just didn't feel right. 

Now as the title of this blog suggests, I am very biased. I really like Michelle Williams so she was probably my favorite actor in this movie. This film is similar to the film "The Wizard of Oz" in the sense that some of the characters from the "real world" cross over to the land of Oz. Michelle Williams plays Annie in the beginning of the film. Annie, unlike Oz, is sweet and kind. So in Oz, she is portrayed as Glinda the Good Witch. 

I thought Michelle Williams did a good job in playing Glinda. I thought she captured Glinda's kind of airy personality. She was very much like the White Queen from the new Alice in Wonderland. 

Mila Kunis was probably my second favorite actor in this film. I thought she did an excellent job of playing Theodora who started out as an innocent, curious girl, but because of her sister, she was turned into an evil witch. 

Kunis really captured Theodora's wonder and awe when she first meets Oz when he crash-lands. However, she also perfected Theodora's jealousy and anger when she finds out Oz is with Glinda. Well done Mila, well done.

In this movie, you are supposed to strongly dislike Rachel Weisz's character and I followed through on that thoroughly. Basically, Evanora is Theodora's jerk face older sister who is controlling and wants all the power to herself. 

I did feel, though, that Rachel Weisz did a fine job of playing Evanora. She made me hate her character, which I think is a feat for any actor. I don't know I always wondered if it was hard for some actors to play characters that everyone is supposed to hate. Either way, Rachel Weisz did a good job in this movie. 

But as for the movie overall, I just wasn't liking it. It's kind of supposed to be a kids movie but I don't think it falls under that category. Yet, it's not an adult movie either. I didn't really understand what the target audience was for this movie. As a whole it was just kind of odd and I didn't really understand it. 

And personally, I thought it would've been cool if it ended with Dorothy coming in and killing one of the witches. But alas, that didn't happen. 

No one appreciates my ideas. 


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Now You See Me

6 out of 10 stars

Jesse Eisenberg.............J. Daniel Atlas
Isla Fisher.....................Henley Reeves
Woody Harrelson.........Merritt McKinney
Dave Franco.......................Jack Wilder
Morgan Freeman........Thaddeus Bradley
Mark Ruffalo....................Dylan Rhodes
Mélanie Laurent....................Alma Dray


So I will be honest, I found myself getting extremely exasperated with this movie despite my hopes for it to be great. I will admit that when I saw the previews for this movie, I had high hopes. My mistake. I mus say that I was rather disappointed in the movie. 

Don't get me wrong, the concept of the movie, the actual idea of it was brilliant. I am always a sucker for magic tricks, and this film was full of them. And I don't mean cheap cut-the-pretty-lady-in-half kind of magic, I mean that's-not-even-remotely-possible magic. Now it doesn't quite rival Christopher Nolan's the Prestige if you've ever seen that, but it was pretty good.

I just felt like the story could have been told in a much better way. Of course if any of you have read my posts long enough or know me personally, you know that I strongly dislike love stories. And guess what? There was a love story in this movie. It was between Mark Ruffalo and Mélanie Laurent's characters. Honestly, I wouldn't have minded it if it had been between two different characters. It just seemed like the love story didn't really fit in with the rest of the story. The whole thing seemed awkwardly placed and distracting. 

But I think the rest of the movie was pretty good. 

I've discovered that I think Jesse Eisenberg can only play one character. J. Daniel Atlas is remarkably similar to Eisenberg's character in The Social Network. I know that's only two movies but from other short clips that I've seen Jesse Eisenberg in, he seems to always play the narcissistic, conceited, know-it-all. 

But for this character, I do believe he was the right choice. I don't know if I liked J. Daniel Atlas, but I appreciated his character in the movie. Eisenberg's character is a well-known magician who used to work with Isla Fisher's character, Henley Reeves. He was definitely the leader of the Four Horsemen (the group name of the four magicians) and I like card tricks so I guess I did think he was pretty cool. 

Okay so I know I've heard Isla Fisher's name before so I've probably seen her in something, but I can't remember. Anyway, I didn't really like her character. Henley Reeves used to work with J. Daniel Atlas but they split up after many disagreements. Henley went off to work by herself and performs big shows on stage in front of huge crowds.

If any of you remember, I don't often like the main girl characters in movies, especially in action movies. This one isn't a full-blown action movie, but it's kind of action-y. I don't know, I just thought she was annoying and I didn't like her. 

I can't lie, Woody Harrelson was my second favorite character in this movie. Harrelson's character, Merritt McKinney is a mentalist, or as some people call them- "psychic", which basically means he hypnotizes people, reads body language, and plays mind games on people. 

Harrelson was the comic relief of the movie. He always had some wise-crack one-liners. I thought some of his lines were cheesy, but I suppose I can't blame him for the dialogue. I personally love characters who play mind games on people. Plus, I usually like side-characters better than the main characters so while Woody Harrelson was definitely an important character in the movie, I don't think he was one of the main characters so I liked him better than Eisenberg or Fisher's characters. 

Let me rant about Dave Franco. I loved his character. He was definitely my favorite. Dave Franco's character, Jack Wilder, is a small-time magician but a skilled pick-pocket and thief. If there is anything I love more than a mentalist, it's a pick-pocket. 

Anyway, I haven't seen Dave Franco in much, but I thought he did an amazing job in this movie. He was a young, eager, and slightly naive fanboy of J. Daniel Atlas who will do anything the other Horsemen tell him to do. I thought he was really sweet and I from what I heard from the people I went to see this with, he was most people's favorite character.

So what did we all learn a couple weeks ago? No one hates Morgan Freeman. And once again, he was good in this movie. It wasn't his best, but I mean when has Morgan Freeman ever gone wrong? Exactly. 

So Morgan's character, Thaddeus Bradley, is a former magician that goes to current magicians's shows and tries to expose them and how they perform their tricks. Throughout the movie, he tries to expose the Four Horsemen. At first, he struggles, but eventually he finds out how all the tricks were performed. However, when he eventually does find out how it's all done, he's a bit too late. 

Okay one of my dearest friends is obsessed with Mark Ruffalo. I used to not-sort-of-really like him but now because of my infatuated friend, I'm starting to be okay with him. So his character, Dylan Rhodes, is an FBI agent who is put on the case for the Four Horsemen (since the robbed a bank during one of their shows). First off, I really like the name Dylan. But at first, I didn't really like Dylan. HOWEVER, at the end of the movie, I loved him. Well.... not the very end. The last scene of the movie was dumb and irrelevant, but the scene right before that was ridiculous. I liked him a lot for the last ten minutes of the movie.

Hate is a strong word so I'm just going to say that I strongly disliked Mélanie Laurent's character in this film. Like no. Just no. Mélanie Laurent herself is probably a brilliant actress (she's French so I haven't seen her in any other movies), but her character was just...... annoying

So overall, this movie was.... decent. I loved the magic tricks because well.... I love magic, but some of the story was dumb. The characters were entertaining, however, and the ending.... whew.

Everything changes in the end. 



Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Great Gatsby

8 out of 10 stars

Leonardo DiCaprio.....................Jay Gatsby
Carey Mulligan...................Daisy Buchanan
Joel Edgerton.......................Tom Buchanan
Tobey Maguire......................Nick Carraway
Elizabeth Debicki....................Jordan Baker


When I went to go see this movie, I didn't know what to expect. In fact, I set the bar pretty low. A couple people I know had seen it before me and I received mixed reviews. Some said it was fabulous and one of the best movies they'd seen in a while. Others said I would probably hate it so it wasn't even worth watching. 

Now I read the book The Great Gatsby in my English class in school this year, and if there is one thing about me that people don't often know is that I am a huge appreciator of the classics. Of course, I don't know if Gatsby is considered a classic yet to most, but to me, it is. So I decided to go watch the movie. 

And I must say, I was surprisingly satisfied with it. However, if you saw the old Great Gatsby with Robert Redford, I can't guarantee that you'll like this one. My English teacher, who saw the old version, strongly disliked this movie, but my parents, who also saw the old version, rather liked this version as well. 

So you may wonder why I gave it only 8 stars if I liked it so much. Well the only thing I didn't like about the movie was that I feel like the creators tried to make it too "visually stimulating." It was too artsy at some points. Of course, at some points, like during Gatsby's parties, I appreciated the wild colors, but at other points, it was just too artsy and it was a bit distracting. 

However, I felt that the actors did a fabulous job in portraying all their roles.

Contrary to my English teacher's belief, I thought Leonardo DiCaprio did a fantastic job playing Jay Gatsby. The way he played the role was exactly how I pictured Gatsby to be. And it wasn't just the suave, smooth party-guy that DiCaprio played well. He also did a marvelous job in playing the hope-filled romantic who is doing everything just to win Daisy's heart over. 

In fact, it surprised me how much I liked Leonardo DiCaprio in this movie. Typically, I don't like Leonardo DiCaprio's characters in films, especially when he's one of the leads. I don't know why, don't ask me, but I just never really liked him. But I loved him in this film. He did an amazing job.

I don't know that I've ever seen anything Carey Mulligan has been in before, but I've heard her name. I think the first thing that threw me off was that I wasn't expecting Daisy to be blonde. I don't know, that was just weird for me the whole movie. 

But I thought Carey Mulligan did a nice job of playing Daisy. Now I know that you're not supposed to like Daisy, but in the book, i really did like her. In the movie, however, I didn't like her as much. Don't get me wrong, Carey Mulligan pulled off Daisy's role wonderfully, but I didn't like her character.

Mind you if you remember some of my previous posts, you'll know that I am starting to like Joel Edgerton. In this movie, I absolutely hated his character. Of course, you're kind of supposed to hate Tom Buchanan so I guess it all worked out. Joel Edgerton, though, did a great job of playing Tom. He portrayed Tom's snobbish, narcissistic personality. I think he did a great job.

So before this movie, I did not like Tobey Maguire one bit. I didn't like him as Spider-Man. I don't know what it was, but I just didn't like him. However, this movie slightly changed my opinion of him. I guess I just needed to see him in another role. I thought he did a good job of playing Nick Carraway. He showed Nick's kind of lost, go-with-the-flow personality really well. I still don't know if I like Tobey Maguire yet, but I certainly don't hate him anymore. 

When I first saw Jordan Baker in this film, I was convinced that I had seen her before somewhere. Turns out I haven't. I've never even heard of her. But I do think Elizabeth Debicki did a marvelous job of playing Jordan. She really captured the smooth, slick personality that Jordan has, and how Jordan obviously thinks very highly of herself. However, I did feel that the movie didn't do her complete justice. Jordan's character is a pathological liar and they didn't really show that in the movie. Of course, Jordan isn't really a main character, but I thought it would've been much more interesting had they shown that part of her character.

The movie did leave out a few pieces from the novel, like the fact that Jordan and Nick had a brief relationship. It is understandable, though, that the creators of the movie would leave some parts out.

I was rather impressed with how much I liked this movie. But I do think that I understood it much better because I read it in my English class. And in class, we analyzed the book quite a bit. If I hadn't read the book, I don't know that I would've liked it as much. I think I would've just seen is as some movie about a girl who can't make up her mind about who to be in love with. So I suggest reading the book before you go if you haven't already read it. 

So all in all, I do believe this is a movie I would recommend to people. Just do your best to get over the fact that the background looks like a Bob Ross painting half the time.