Mini Film Reviews #1

I’ve seen quite a few movies over the last couple of months, but haven’t felt compelled to review any of them in full. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t react terribly strongly to any of them, with the exception of Biutiful, which I detested. So, instead of writing mediocre reviews of movies I don’t feel all that emotionally invested in, here are snort snippets containing my concise opinions of each film.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy poster

I found this movie really disappointing, mostly because I read nothing but favorable reviews of it. In contrast to the effusive praise it’s received, I found it to be utterly average. Then again, I’m don’t think I’m in the target demographic anymore. I feel like a sizable chunk of the new Marvel flicks are aimed toward a younger crowd (I certainly felt that way while watching Avengers) and Guardians of the Galaxy is continuing that trend. I adore Chris Pratt; he is hilarious and endearingly stupid on Parks and Recreation. However, as often happens when talented comedians are stuck in film projects and given boring scripts to work with, Chris Pratt is unforgivably underutilized in this movie. Stick in some totally random sidekicks, elaborate costumes and backgrounds, and the type of lackluster, hole-riddled plot that is so typical of superhero films, and you’ve made something that appeals to a lot of people for no good reason.

Overall rating: C

Under the Skin

Under the Skin

Of the two strange movies that Scarlett Johanssohn starred in this past year, it seemed like Under the Skin was generally considered the better of the two. As such, since I had a lukewarm reaction to Under the Skin, I’m going to skip watching Lucy. Although Under the Skin is visually stunning– how could it not be, set as it is in melancholy Scotland? — it also makes very little sense. Not that that’s necessarily a negative thing; but in this case, it is. It doesn’t help that the gorgeous shots of the frosty Scottish hills are paired with some downright awful CGI sequences, nor it is a good sign when the only moment in which the film has much of an emotional impact is when a disfigured man finds himself one of Scarlett’s unfortunate victims. Points for creativity, but much was lost in the execution.

Overall rating: B

A Most Wanted Man

A Most Wanted Man

Oh my goodness, I almost left the theater halfway through this one. Its greatest weakness was being unforgivably, tremendously boring. Honestly, at this point the “terrorist narrative” has been so overdone that if you are determined to make a movie about it, it needs to be a damn good one. Unfortunately, this movie is not damn good. It’s just damn boring.

Overall rating: C-

Biutiful

Biutiful

I’ll put my most hated film in the middle so that by the time you’ve read the next two positive reviews, you’ll hopefully have forgiven me for my vitriol. I don’t understand how someone who directed Babel could make a film that I would hate with the very core of my being. I am fine with depressing films (come on, There Will Be Blood is one of my all-time favorites!), but I am not ok with pointlessly depressing films. This entire movie is basically Javier Bardem being miserable. He has two kids with his mentally unstable, estranged ex-wife and panics when he is informed that he has prostate cancer. He’s dirt poor, of course, so he can’t afford treatment. He’s involved in illegal immigration and labor, and manages to kill 20 of his workers by buying faulty gas heaters. Butterflies show up. He can converse with dead people. There is a kindhearted Senegalese woman who is his only hope. He dies. The end. AAAAAAAAGH. Please, please don’t watch this awful movie. I feel like it was nothing more than an Oscar-bait role for Bardem.

Overall rating: D+

Robot & Frank

Robot & Frank

I recently read an article about why robotic caregiving is unethical, so I was quite surprised when I ended up liking this movie. Bottom line, it’s too sweet not to like. An elderly man with Alzheimer’s (Frank) has become a burden to his family and a danger to himself, so his son buys him a robot programmed to aid older citizens. Frank and the robot end up bonding to a surprising degree, and there are many instances in which the viewer is prompted to reflect on the nature of robotic interactions — will there there a point in which robots are so sophisticated, and in possession of sufficient emotional intelligence, to rival human companionship? Robot & Frank provides fodder for these thoughts, but is refreshingly ambiguous in its refusal to offer a solid answer.

Overall rating: B+

Crazy Heart

Crazy Heart

I’m still not sure why I like this movie so much. It does star Jeff Bridges, so that’s one huge reason. I think it just boils down to the fact that it feels genuine. Country musician Bad Blake’s mixed history of financial success, emotional drama, and substance abuse seems contextually realistic considering how high-stakes the country music industry is in the United States. Maggie Gyllenhall is wonderful as always in her portrayal of a slightly cynical journalist with a deep appreciation for old-fashioned country music, who somewhat reluctantly starts a relationship with a damaged man several decades her elder. The stereotypical Hollywood ending isn’t there, and who knew that Colin Farrell could make such a convincing country singer? It’s heartfelt, well-acted, and a pleasure to both watch and listen to. So, in my book, it gets a rare…

Overall rating: A-

Have you seen any of these films? How did you feel about them? Do you disagree with me vehemently? I’m curious to hear your reactions, good or bad!

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16 thoughts on “Mini Film Reviews #1

  1. Some very decent films here, although it’s a shame you didn’t like Guardians, I had a lot of fun with that one. Robot & Frank and Crazy Heart are both excellent though, I agree. And I still really need to check out Under The Skin.

    1. I know, I think I must be the only person who didn’t like Guardians! *Sigh. I still stand by my opinion, though. Glad to hear you at least agree with me on Robot & Frank and Crazy Heart! Do see Under the Skin when you have a chance; I have a feeling that you’ll like it.

    1. Ok, maybe it’s not *terrible.* But it’s really, really boring! Phillip Seymour Hoffman was just going through the motions, I’m afraid… Let’s see, of the movies that are out right now, “The Drop” looks somewhat decent, and “Love is Strange” looks potentially promising as well. And that’s about it!

  2. I cannot believe you have high expectations for such movie like Guardians of the Galaxy. I watch those types of movies in between serious ones. 😀 I always wondered about Crazy Hearts but always get taken aback. I had a feeling that it’s one of those cliche movies. I think you officially change my perception of it. I’ll grab it the next I see it. I think it’s on sale by now. 😀 Yup, Buitiful Bardem is all for JAvier Bardem. Nothing else. Will get Under The Skin the next time I pass by a Red Box. 😀

    1. Well, I only had high expectations for Guardians of the Galaxy because everyone has spoken so highly of it! I haven’t read a single negative review of the movie. Crazy Heart is a bit cliche, but I still liked it very much. Under the Skin is worth watching as well, if only for the visuals!

  3. Wow Alina, you’re a harsh critic! I mostly agree with you though. I was slightly disappointed with Guardians. The script wasn’t up to the same standard as the actors and the pacing was all wrong. The music was fantastic though!

    1. I know, I am harsh! I actually went back and upped a couple of the ratings in this post. I had such a strong negative reaction to “Biutiful,” even though I realize it wasn’t a completely terrible film… I just found it really frustrating.
      As for Guardians, everyone was talking about how good it was so I was expecting something fantastic! The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” fight sequence was my favorite part, and I agree the music was great throughout. But it’s ok — I really liked “Edge of Tomorrow,” waaay more than I expected, so I’ve got my action flick fix for now!

    2. Aghga49328172 I went back and put in my original ratings, haha. “A Most Wanted Man” was worse than Guardians by a smidgen because it was EXTREMELY boring and I wanted to leave the theater — for Guardians at least I had about a 15% interest in finding out what “happened.”
      And Biutiful goes back to a D+. It is seriously pointless; it’s probably one of my most hated movies… I mean I was basically yelling at the TV constantly during the last 30 minutes… haha

  4. I’m so glad to see someone else who was underwhelmed by Guardians of the Galaxy! Everybody else I know who has seen it has been raving about it and I was wondering why I didn’t like it. Like you, I had quite high expectations so maybe that’s it. I did like the soundtrack though….

    1. You’re right, the soundtrack was amazing! Probably my favorite part of the whole film was when The Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” was playing during a fight sequence. It was very well matched! But yes, I’m really sad it wasn’t better. The potential was there… they should have let Chris Pratt do his thing. His “funny” parts weren’t amusing in the slightest. Personally, I enjoyed “The Avengers” more, even though it was also pretty dumbed down… Have you seen “Edge of Tomorrow”? If you want a good action film, you should watch that!

    1. Aw shit, thanks for catching that!! I did mean Colin Farrell, of course. It’s fixed now! I don’t get the actors confused whatsoever but their last names are pretty similar! And yes, Firth would make a terrible country singer! haha

  5. Hey! I’ve been meaning to see Crazy Heart for a long while; my brother, who’s a bit of a film buff, really enjoyed it and recommended it to me.

    Funnily enough, I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I went in with zero expectations – I thought it would be lame, and frankly, I am REALLY over comic book movies (sorry to any comic book fans out there!). I just find them overdone. I actually really enjoyed this movie, obviously not for its depth of characters or the incredible plot line, but just because it’s was frothy fun adventuresome excitement. Like, it’s something I would watch if I wanted something more mindless and kind of as a pick-me-up, mood enhancer, you know? So, I will give credit where it is due; I did enjoy this movie.

    I’m really intrigued by Robot and Frank, and will probably check it out (or at the very least tell my little brother, who will most definitely check it out). Thanks for the mini reviews, love!

    1. Yeah definitely watch Crazy Heart! Robot & Frank might be streaming on Netflix; I feel like I saw it on there a while ago. I’d check, but there’s no Netflix in New Zealand…
      I realize I’m maybe being a bit harsh on Guardians of the Galaxy. It is pretty good for a superhero movie, but I feel like that’s not saying much. I was just disappointed because I didn’t find it clever or funny. Sure, it’s mindless entertainment, but I expect my mindless entertainment to be, well, entertaining. And it just fell flat for me. I watch Parks & Rec when I need to relax, as it’s quirky and really clever! It’s mostly just that Chris Pratt is such a talented comedian, and it was a real shame that they turned him into sort of an asshole in the film.
      I’m glad to hear that my good opinion of Crazy Heart is corroborated by a film buff! Hope your brother enjoys Robot & Frank. & thanks for commenting!

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