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Siri, You’ve Changed (Her Review)

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a sensitive, caring, man who currently writes personal letters for other people. When his marriage ends, he becomes heartbroken and is slow and hesitant to start a new relationship with someone. Soon after this, he becomes interested in a new operating system which can develop into an intuitive and unique entity. When he starts the operating system, he chooses a female voice (Scarlett Johansson) which names itself “Samantha”. Over time, Theodore learns that Samantha is a sensitive, kind, and understanding entity. They start off as friends but their relationship quickly develops into something more.

I felt bad when I saw the film for the first time last year because I fell asleep and I rarely fall asleep in movie theaters. I still liked what I saw then. It took a while but I thought I’d see it again and talk about it now.

The first thing you’ll notice here is how beautiful this film looks. From the color palettes used in the indoor and outdoor settings and the use of lighting and glass give it a warm and open feel. The score is just as beautiful as the set design as it helps you feel all the things that you are seeing. Also the cinematography is on par with the production design as each shot really captured the beauty created in the set design and the frequent use of close-up shots captured the emotion in the actor’s performances and I thought elevated them. The film does have some science-fiction elements obviously but it doesn’t overdo them and the fact that it doesn’t reveal when it actually takes place makes it feel grounded and more realistic. I also liked the script. It told a story that was both believable and realistic which would of worked even if the main love interest was an actual person. The story had a good balance where it was emotional at times, funny at other times but it was always witty and made you think. Its approach to human interaction was natural and real. I thought the story was quite original, back in 2013, and nothing has come close to that yet. It is a social commentary on the the nature of what it means to be human by showing us what it means to love or be alive and also how these influence human relationships. The performances are what sold me here. Joaquin Phoenix gave a strong performance, sensitive performance as Theodore and I thought he really carried the film even though most of it is just him talking to Samantha from his cellphone. Scarlett Johansson was great as well as Samantha as she made her feel like a real person and you would forget that she isn’t actually on screen. I would also like to mention Amy Adams and Chris Pratt were also great in minor roles. I thought it was the best movie of 2014 (I know its technically a 2013 film) and I was surprised it didn’t win more than what it did. I can easily say that this is one of my favorite movies of all time and that it could beat all of the movies I’ve seen this year.

Score: 10/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

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A Worthy Waste of Time

On a day when I was off from work and I had no plans whatsoever, I decided, as most do, to watch random videos on YouTube. I am not sure how I got to where I did but I ended up watching Korean pop music videos. I was surprised by how catchy they were. I started off with one that I heard of on a recent episode of Conan. I watched the video they were referencing and then I started to become curious about their other videos. They have plenty but I just decided to post a few. I don’t claim to understand what they are saying but it definitely sounds better than a lot of music from North America. Hopefully they will now be in your head as they are now in mine.

Song 1: I am the best (You may have heard this one before but just didn’t know who it was from)

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Shine Bright Like a Diamond (Top 10 Worst Movies of 2015 So Far)

Lets create some ambiance to start …

I’ve seen a lot of movies. Some are better than others. I thought that since I made a list of the top movies of 2015 so far that I should rank some of the worst movies I’ve seen. Below are the top 10 worst movies of 2015 (disclaimer: I did not include the 2014 movies I saw at the beginning of 2015).

1. Fantastic Four (review)

2. Mortdecai (review)

3. Sinister 2 (review)

4. Get Hard (review)

5. Fifty Shades of Gray

6. The Gallows (review)

7. Self/less (review)

8. Hitman Agent 47 (review)

9. Pixels (review)

10. Chappie

So that’s it. If something worse comes along (which is possible), I will update this list accordingly.

Movie of the Month

I guess I probably should have started this a lot earlier but here I am now. At the end of every month, I will highlight my highest reviewed movies for each month. If you happen to be looking for something to watch, now you can just look here. I was also thinking of maybe adding TV shows and video games into this somehow but I don’t currently have the time right now.

To make up for lost time, here are June thru August’s movies of the month.

June

Disney-Pixar-Inside-Out-Movie-Poster

July

MeAndEarlAndTheDyingGirlPoster

August

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Surprisingly Not a Porno (Get Hard Review)

When a crazy-rich hedge-fund manager James King (Will Ferrell) is convicted of fraud and sentenced to 10 years in prison. Realizing that he won’t survive for very long in prison, he uses the month in which he has to get his affairs in order and turns to black businessman Darnell (Kevin Hart) for help. What James doesn’t know is that Darnell is a law-abiding citizen who has never been to prison and he decides to use this fact in order to take advantage of James to get money for his family so they can have a better life. As Darnell begins training James, they both start to see that they may have been wrong about many things, including each other.

Just like Mortdecai, I have been avoiding this up until now due to its reputation of being bad. Surprisingly enough, it is a better film. I will say that the story isn’t that original and also a little predictable but it did keep me engaged. I also found this film a lot funnier than I expected. Most of the comedy from this film comes from offending several races, sexual orientations, and social statuses. In other words, it comes from interactions with one another and how each perceive one another. They demonstrate this through the use of stereotypes and caricatures and they take advantage of their 18A/R rating. I was also very disappointed because of this since I found the writing to be very lazy since it relied solely on what I mentioned previously. Although I get rarely offended by things, it is easy to see how one would be offended by this. I wasn’t offended but I also did not find most of it funny at all. The parts that I found funny are the moments where Will Ferrell was being almost every other character he has done before and Kevin Hart was being almost every other character he has done before. I am not proud of this but I will admit to having laughed a few times. This goes back to the lazy writing and the performances of Ferrell and Hart. They were okay and they had good chemistry but I felt that they could have tried a little harder and gave us something more. I felt the story started off slow and got decent near the end after it stopped being offensive. I wish the subplot which led to that could have been explored a lot earlier. I also liked Alison Brie as James’s girlfriend Alissa but I wish we could have seen more of her. Overall I thought this movie was okay but I was a little disappointed because it could have been more based on the comedic talents of the starts but those were wasted by the material and the direction.

Score: 5.5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

This Be a British Accent (Mortdecai Review)

I’m also now on sportstalkfromthe6.com

Charlie Mortdecai (Johnny Depp) is a charismatic British, shady art dealer. He unfortunately suffers from a lack of money to support his and his wife Johanna’s (Gwyneth Paltrow) lavish lifestyle. When his old friend and an agent in MI5, Alistair Maitland (Ewan McGregor), comes to ask for his assistance in finding a missing painting, he accepts. What he doesn’t know is that he is not the only one who covets the painting as an American heiress (Olivia Munn) and a revolutionary also wants it for themselves. They want it because it is rumored to contain a secret code to a bank account containing Nazi gold.

I’ve known about this film ever since it was released in January of this year. I’ve also been avoiding it until now because of its reputation of being a bad film. Being close to the end of the year, I thought I would be thorough and see this film for myself. This may not come as much of a surprise but this film is as bad as they say. Let’s start with Johnny Depp. He has played many different characters in his career, with the most famous ones being Captain Jack Sparrow and Edward Scissorhands. I guess they thought they can elevate the character of Charlie Mortdecai to their level but unfortunately they don’t come remotely close to doing that. He is simply an annoying British caricature. I believe they were trying to make it funny by him acting snobby, mostly during interactions with other characters, and weak by constantly hiding behind his stronger-looking bodyguard/man-servant Jock (Paul Bettany). It just didn’t work because it just wan’t funny. There’s also a subplot involving Alistair having a crush on Johanna but its merely implied and was never fully explored. What also wasn’t funny was the juxtaposition between Jock’s duties. He’s a man who kicks ass and also cooks and cleans. There’s also some slapstick which just came across as stupid. There’s supposedly a story here about finding a stolen painting but it takes so many turns and adds a bunch of extraneous characters but I quickly lost interest due to sheer boredom. I probably wouldn’t have been as bored if the actors didn’t look as bored and disinterested on screen. There wasn’t much chemistry to be had either, especially between Depp and Paltrow as they seemed the most disinterested through their performances. It would definitely had helped if their accents weren’t so bad. What was arguably as bad as the accents was the cringe-worthy dialogue where is evident that they were trying to make it funny but it just wasn’t. Despite how bad as I have made it out to be, it’s not the worst film I’ve seen. When it comes to a score, anything I see from now on will be compared to Fantastic Four. That one is in a league of its own.

Score: 4.5/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Can’t Escape My Love (No Escape Review)

I am now also on sportstalkfromthe6.com

American Jack Dwyer (Owen Wilson) is taking his wife Annie (Lake Bell), and their two young daughters Lucy and Beeze (Sterling Jerens and Claire Geare) to Southeast Asia to begin a new life. His company sent him there because of their plans to improve the water quality within the region. Soon after their arrival, they learn that they’re now in the middle of a political uprising. Now they must face armed rebels ordered to kill foreigners that they see. Despite the impending chaos, he must find a way to save both him and his family from all of the violence around them.

If I could use one word to describe this film, it would be intense. Luckily for us, it all starts very early on. More about that later. From the music, the camera work, the action, and the performances by both leads (Wilson and Bell) who are known primarily for comedic roles, you can really feel that intensity. I will say that this film is violent but I never found it inappropriate as it added to the intensity. I liked how the plot kept moving forward as the characters kept moving forward themselves as they were always in a sense of danger. And because of what I’ve already mentioned, you feel that sense of danger as a viewer. Because of that, I was often on the edge of my seat watching. What the film did well was that it created several moments of suspense and tension which created a great degree of uncertainty. For the most part, they held onto this but they started going away from it closer to the end when Jack decides to turn on his “my family’s in danger so now I know how to fight and use guns” switch. I would have prefered more of the former than the latter but that is a minor complaint. I can’t go too much further without mentioning an appearance by Pierce Brosnan as Hammond who is pretty much James Bond who is wearing a Hawaiian shirt instead of a tuxedo. I wish we could have had more of him because I thought he stole all the few scenes he was in. I liked the story but I thought it was missing something as it never really explained the cause of the political uprising other than showing one scene at the beginning and a brief conversation later on. I would have liked to have seen more about this otherwise it’s just Americans running away from Asians with guns and knives. Some have said this film is racist because of this and also it’s depiction of the Asian people but the argument could be made that the filmmakers were a little ignorant about Asian culture. Despite all of that, I was thoroughly entertained. I like suspense and to be on the edge of the seat. If you want a little better suspense, I recommend The Gift.

Score: 8/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

Nope (We Are Your Friends Review)

I am now also on sportstalkfromthe6.com

Cole Carter (Zac Efron) has dreams of gaining notoriety as a Hollywood DJ and also spends his days and nights hanging out with his buddies while working on a track that he hopes will set the world on fire. An opportunity soon comes knocking when he meets James Reed (Wes Bentley), a veteran DJ who takes the younger DJ under his wing. An obstacle later presents itself along his path to success when we starts to have feelings for his mentor’s girlfriend which begins to jeopardize his relationship and the future he was destined to have.

The title for this one probably should have been “We Are Your 1-Dimensionsional Friends”. With a story that is about friends, I didn’t really care too much for these ones. There’s nothing really new or original here. I found them rather annoying and cliche and that they didn’t really add anything to the story but that’s inconsequential since the story isn’t about them. Now about that story. It is a silly story to begin with but it also seemed to be facing an identity crisis. It didn’t know whether it wanted to be a coming-of-age story or a party movie. Unfortunately it did not do either well. I found the party scenes quite dull as they consisted primarily of questionable people dancing in clubs to electronic music.  The coming-age-part was slightly better since it contained less of Cole’s friends despite it being both cheesy and cliche. The parts where we saw him learning about how to be the best were somewhat captivating despite being something I’ve seen before thousands of times (i.e. Southpaw) and also despite the fact that Wes Bentley’s character felt like a caricature of a common mentor. What I didn’t like about this film, other than the friend characters, was the story. I found the first half watchable but it fell apart for me during the second half. Without giving anything away, I’ll say that there were a few subplots that I felt were unnecessary to the overall story and I found that things ended a little too nicely which did not make sense to me. For a story about overcoming one’s environment and making a name out of one’s self, I didn’t think it did a good job at explaining how one goes about doing that. I’m not saying that it didn’t explain this but rather it did off-screen and through a series of implications. The only thing I liked about this film was the music. I was never a fan of electronic music but it was well done here as it showed a lot of creativity and imagination. I have never been a fan of Zac Efron but he at least made this watchable. If I want to see a young person coming-of-age story, I’d see Paper Towns.

Score: 6/10

If you liked this, please read my other reviews here.

The Quicker Picker-Upper (American Ultra Review)

I’m also now on sportstalkfromthe6.com

Mike Howell (Jesse Eisenberg) is a simple, stoner who spends most of his time getting high and writing a comic about a monkey astronaut. What he doesn’t know is that he has received secret training by the CIA to become a lethal killing machine. When the CIA decides to target him for termination, his former handler (Connie Britton) decides to reactivate him thus turning him into a weapon. Now, he must try to use his new abilities to save himself and his girlfriend Phoebe (Kristen Stewart) from getting killed.

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