Saturday, July 25, 2015

Film Review: Spy (2015)

Copyright: 20th Century Fox
With Spy, its director Paul Feig delivered a great comedy which elegantly erases the elements of masculinity and bravado from the James Bond type of films. This simple action then reverts the entire narrative into its truer form of completely ludicrous comedy. 

In the film, Melissa McCarthy plays Susan, a desk officer in the CIA tasked with protecting her designated field agent Bradley, played by Jude Law. When Bradley gets killed in a strange encounter with a beautiful woman, Susan decides to leave her computer and become a field agent herself, in the hope of finding the persons’ responsible for Bradley’s death.

In a fantastic cooperation with Feig, Melissa McCarthy unleashes a tour de force of comedy, where she quickly shuffles between physical gags and a really aggressive type of verbal humor (better said, verbal insults). The second element demonstrates some excellent writing with jokes that are both smart and unpredictable. As the plot develops further, Feig drops McCarty’s character into every deeper waters of intrigue, danger, and suspense, where Susan’s actions also need to become bolder and even more insane. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Current Shortcomings of True Detective Season 2

Copyright: HBO
I was trying to figure out what feels less than right in the new True Detective season. Like practically everyone, I really loved the Season one. From the first moment, it had that synergy of place and characters that was just magnetic in a sweaty, sticky, wrong way, but didn’t leave me feeling uncomfortable for a long time (maybe this is its only shortfall from being a truly groundbreaking show like The Wire).

Of course, I had big expectations from Season Two, especially because Collin Farrell (ever since I saw Tigerland, I am certain that the man is a great but underappreciated actor). But, at the same time, I knew that replicating the formula from the first seasons would be impossible, so I was just hoping for something interesting. 

For the first couple of episodes, I wasn’t even sure that anything feels wrong or inadequate. After all, just a year later, I forgot what happened in the first season’s episodes (for example, what exactly takes place in episode 3 in the first season?), so I told myself that this is a normal buildup process of the Pizzolatto type.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Film Review: Jurassic World (2015)

Copyright: Universal Pictures
Jurassic World is a film that just hits its mark dead center. It delivers fast and hard, seemingly fully liberated from the pressure of huge production and a cast that did not spend decades in blockbuster films. First, here is the director Colin Trevorrow, who was before of this film, known only for Safety Not Guaranteed, a really clever and interesting film, but microscopic when compared to the mammoth production of the Jurassic World.
A similar situation occurs with main actors as well. Chris Pratt became huge with the smash success The Guardians of The Galaxy, but others, like Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D'Onofrio, and Jake Johnson (who is still typecast as the comedy guy, even though he can do more, like he showed in Drinking Buddies), sure can act but did not exactly made hundreds of millions by being in popcorn films. But, maybe just because of this, Trevorrow glides through the story and ridiculously expensive sets like a pterodactyl (I couldn’t resist this corny pun). 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Film Review: Maggie (2015)

Copyright: Lionsgate Films
We didn’t realize it, but a zombie apocalypse is an apparently full of depressive potential. Sure, the plots often grazed depression in these types of films, but mostly while their primary emotions are based on anxiety and the need to stay alive. In Maggie, however, the focus is exclusively on depressive shades of a deadly virus outbreak, which turns people into flesh-craving monsters.

To add to the unexpected weirdness of this idea, the film introduces Arnold Schwarzenegger as Wade, the bewildered father of the main character, a girl called Maggie, who gets infected with the virus and has only weeks before she turns into a zombie. On their secluded farm, father and daughter prepare for the inevitable while Maggie says goodbye to her memories and everything around here.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Film Review: The Lazarus Effect (2015)

Copyright: Relativity Media
Like the recent horrors which were both low budget (Spring) and really AAA level (Poltergeist) this film is also significantly uneven. From the basic story of a lab team that developed a cure for death, The Lazarus Effect quickly slips into a thriller of demonic possession and personal hellscapes. The speed of this transition is not only narrative, but also quite literal, because the entire film lasts well under 90 minutes.

The cast of the film, mainly Olivia Wilde as the lead actress, glides through the action smoothly. With a couple of short stops on the regular horror path of “everything is just fine” to “we’re losing our budget” and “the short-sighted administrators put a stop to our brilliant research”, to the final “OMG we killed our colleague”, the film presents the expected milestones.