Thursday, July 11, 2013

White House Down

AUDIENCE: No one under 12
RATED: PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action and violence including intense gunfire and explosions, some language and a brief sexual image.
"So, you want to make history?" "No, I don't want to make history, I want to make a difference."
Roland Emmerich's latest effort is definitely not a history maker, (being the third film in which he blows up the white house) yet it does make a difference when it comes to the current trend of political thrillers. 'White House Down' is filled with more action than the Playboy mansion; men hotter than the current sexiest man alive; and a plot that is practically the same as every other. Still-grab your popcorn and sit back for one of the biggest adventures of the summer.
Channing Tatum is John Cale, a former U.S. soldier who is desperately attempting to form a relationship with his daughter, white house-obsessed Emily (the loveable Joey King). Cale manages to secure an interview for a position with the Secret Service, but the process goes awry once he realizes that an old college acquaintance, Carol Finnerty (a typical Maggie Gyllenhaal) is the deciding force. Finnerty knows of Cale's resistance to commitment, therefore he leaves the office empty-handed. However, all is not lost, as Cale and his daughter decide to go on an inevitable tour of the white house, where the terrorist attacks take over the rest of the screen time.
The cast is well versed, with actors old and new involved in every aspect of saving the president. Tatum is just as entertaining and gorgeous as always, although he manages to keep his shirt on throughout the film. Jamie Foxx, while hilarious, is nowhere near believable as President James Sawyer, instead returning as a better dressed Django, truly unchained. Despite this, Tatum and Foxx are a good combination. Completing the trio is King, who is great when it comes to catching the bad guys. She continuously surprises the audience, always keeping them on their toes.
Obviously, 'White House Down' has to be compared to the other political thriller of the year, 'Olympus Has Fallen', as the 2 films were only released 3 months apart. While Antoine Fuqua's attempt garnered more fans at the box office, Emmerich deserves just as much kudos when it comes to the action. This film never fades, and slowly chips away at the truth-enough that the answer everyone is looking for is not revealed until the very end. Overall, it is Tatum that is the deciding factor, as he is a more relatable leading man than Gerard Butler. Most should find Emmerich's film more fun.
Afflicted with bad reviews and heavy competition, 'White House Down' has become labeled as yet another 'box office blunder' of the summer. To that, I say: don't judge a book by its cover. Especially if that cover includes Channing Tatum.
'White House Down' Trailer:
Want another review? Check out the phenomenal Peter Travers of Rolling Stone

Monday, July 8, 2013

World War Z

AUDIENCE: No one under 12
RATED: PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.
"Most people don't believe something can happen until it already has. That's not stupidity or weakness, that's just human nature."
Hollywood and zombie fiends alike were of the same mindset when it came to 'World War Z'. After countless reshoots, additional millions of dollars spent, and screenwriter after screenwriter, many did not believe that another film about fighting the undead could survive its own 'apocalypse'. Fortunately for Brad Pitt and Paramount Pictures, 'World War Z' manages to discover a silver lining amidst all of the turmoil.
This latest flick about the rise of the supposedly undead starts off as a normal day in Gerry Lane's (Pitt, with his ridiculously long locks) life, cooking breakfast for his wife and kids. A local newscast airs on a nearby television, vaguely warning the audience that something is seriously wrong in our world. However, the Lane family is more concerned with getting the young ones to school on time. It is here where the first glimpse of the zombie attack appears; one that all fans of the film have seen in the epic, but not-too-revealing preview. And suddenly, exactly like it is portrayed in the trailer, all hell begins to break loose.
Pitt is nothing special, playing a stereotypical dad who insists a little too often on protecting his family. Yet, he is convincing when it comes to finding a 'distraction' for the undead, but not until he is assisted by a female soldier, Segen (the lovely Daniella Kertesz), whom Lane first encounters in Jerusalem. It is the teamwork between these two that adds a necessary source of hope back into the film.
Major props go out to director Marc Forster and screenwriter Damon Lindelof. Forster does an excellent job of giving his audience enough zombie screen-time without going overboard, as well as placing the element of surprise in unexpected places. The aerial shot of the thousands of undead bodies climbing the wall surrounding Jerusalem is outstanding, as is the plane crash scene. Lindelof also deserves a pat on the back; if not for him, the ending would have been nowhere near as satisfying. While Pitt's financial aid was not without gratitude, Forster and Lindelof were the film's true saving grace.
Despite being plagued by every obstacle known to man, 'World War Z' defies the odds, taking the audience for a ride worthy of the entrance fee. With a pre-planned trilogy on the way, this newfound franchise is likely to stick around longer than the current fascination with zombies in popular culture.
'World War Z' Trailer:

Want another review? Check out the phenomenal Peter Travers of Rolling Stone

Friday, July 5, 2013

This Is The End

AUDIENCE: No one under 15
RATED: R for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.
"The power of Christ compels you!" "Guess what? It's not that compelling."

While 'The Exorcism of Jonah Hill' may not have been successful, 'This Is The End' hits every high note. With one of the most creative plot-lines in recent history, Seth Rogan and friends play hysterical versions of themselves as Judgment Day comes crashing down.

After a bit of lollygagging, the film kicks off with a star-studded party at James Franco's house. Actors, singers, and Michael Cera's alike have gathered to party, smoke pot, drink, and hook up. Rihanna makes a brief appearance, serenading Craig Robinson with the sad truth that they will never sleep together. All is well until the Earth opens up, swallowing Aziz Ansari and most of the guests along with him. This is where the apocalyptic-comedy takes a turn for the best.

While the script is as witty as they come, and the humor is raunchier than 'The Hangover' trilogy, it is the cast that makes this comedy one of the best of the year. James Franco steals the show, portraying a much more likable version of himself than the stoned host millions witnessed at the 2011 Academy Awards. A memorable scene involves Franco distracting an entertaining Danny McBride in an effort to save Rogan and Jay Baruchel, which will send your stomach into severe laughing spasms.

Jonah Hill gets an honorable mention for being the sweetheart of the film. His borderline obsession with Baruchel is always a source of comedic relief, and his impression of the devil puts others to shame. Despite only having one earring the entire film, Hill proves to non-believers why he is one of the current Kings of Comedy.

While there are a few flaws, they are so minor that most won't cringe but laugh at the surprise 'package' on the devil. 'This Is The End' is a true triumph, leaving its audience greatly satisfied once the credits begin to roll. From being robbed by Emma Watson to a fantastic appearance by one of America's favorite boy bands, no one should miss this soon to be cult-classic. This is definitely not the end.

This Is The End Trailer:
Want another review? Check out the phenomenal Peter Travers of Rolling Stone

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Man of Steel

AUDIENCE: No small children
RATED: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, and for some language.

"It's not an 'S'; on my world it means 'Hope'."
Hope is exactly what most fans of this classic franchise had walking into 'Man of Steel'. An excellent cast, a classic story, and the producing-genius that is Christopher Nolan should've added up to a blockbuster the likes of Spider Man or Batman. Although 'Man of Steel' had the potential of being one of the summer's best, it fell quite short.

Doomed to a death on the combusting planet of Krypton, Jor-El (the always incredible Russell Crow) decides to send his son Kal-El (aka Superman, the gorgeous Henry Cavill) to Earth in order to survive. However, General Zod (the constant sneerer, Michael Shannon) is determined to save Krypton and its race, therefore the only way he could do so is if he gets his hands on Kal-El. The plot is simple: find and ultimately, battle, Superman. But the film itself does not seem to understand that.

Zack Snyder, director of '300', shot what Kanye West would call a "dark twisted fantasy". Sadly, there is no beautiful involved. The number of flashbacks is ridiculous, as is the order in which they appear. Once the film seems to be reaching the end, Snyder decides that he cannot go out without a truly big bang. Taking a cue from the third Transformers film, the last half an hour is simply General Zod and Superman beating the crap out of each other. One spends this time praying that the outcome will be worth it, but said prayers are never answered.

Despite all of its faults, 'Man of Steel' does have one incredible Superman. Cavill, once labeled Hollywood's "unluckiest man", has shed that image and taken well to the iconic suit. He is believable, honest, and has the bone structure to match. Sparks fly when he and Lois Lane (the charming Amy Adams) are together, and one can't help but root for the dynamic duo as obstacle after obstacle gets in their way. Fortunately, Cavill makes the film more than bearable, as every woman (including Adams) impatiently waits for him to appear time after time.

Overall, 'Man of Steel' is not good, but it's not terrible either. There's enough of a story to keep the film going, but the actors are the ones who continue to draw the audience in. Snyder does well when it comes to getting this reboot to its feet, but can't seem to get it off the ground. Now that the sequel has been green-lit, perhaps Christopher Nolan will decide to take the camera into his own hands.

Man of Steel Trailer:

Want another review? Check out the phenomenal Peter Travers of Rolling Stone Magazine-

A Little More Personal

I'd really rather not write an about me. Actually, I'd prefer to start writing for this blog right away rather than have to explain myself to anyone. But what's the fun in reading something that someone else has written when you don't know anything about that person? I wouldn't want to spend time on Pride and Prejudice without knowing a tad-bit of information about Jane Austin. Well, I wouldn't want to spend ANY time on Pride and Prejudice in general, but that's besides the point.

My name is Lucy Shea, and I have a passion for film. As Steve Martin once said, "you know what your problem is? It's that you haven't seen enough movies". While most teenagers spend their time fawning over vampires and other pregnant teenagers, I spend my time in cinemas. Every week, I take a drive on down to the local theatre and spend $10 on a film that I haven't seen yet (which can be difficult at times as I see practically EVERYTHING!). It wasn't until 2 years ago that I discovered my love for the big screen, but I know that it will never cease to exist now that it's been found.

I am a movie-snob, and I accept that about myself. I not only have several "favorite" films, but favorite directors and screenwriters as well. The overall honor goes to Baz Luhrmann, who is just my favorite in general. "Romeo + Juliet" and "The Great Gatsby" are cinematic masterpieces in my eyes, and I can only aspire to one day make films that are just as wondrous.

Christopher Nolan, Terrence Malick, and Alfred Hitchcock are easily the ultimate directors/storytellers in my eyes. "The Prestige", "The Tree of Life", and "Psycho" are among many in my preferred collection. However, as writing is my second love in life, Damon Lindelof is THE MAN when it comes to screenwriting. Star Trek wouldn't be as incredible nor World War Z salvageable if he were not a part of the cinematic world.

Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Gosling, and Bradley Cooper are Oscar winners in my eyes, as are Jessica Chastain, Emily Blunt, and Jennifer Lawrence (who won this year! Congrats Jenn!). Yet, James Dean is my ultimate rebel without a cause, and I find an excuse to mention him or hang a poster of him in my room almost every day.

I decided to start writing this blog, Life of a Future Oscar Winner, as a way for me to express my love for movies in the best way I could think of: writing about them. Here you will find reviews of everything from the most recent blockbuster to that one indie from twenty years ago that everybody hated. My passion for movies is prevalent when I know someone personally, but online is a whole different ballgame. Hopefully I can share my adoration with others who feel the same way.

So, stay tuned for more blog posts involving anything and everything film! Until then, do as James Dean did; "Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today".