Friday, February 28, 2014

Oz the Great and Powerful

Interesting concept based on L. Frank Baum's novels that gives us more history into the title character, played with much charisma by James Franco. However, once Sam Raimi sails us to all the favorite destinations like the Yellow Brick Road, Emerald City and Munchkin Land, you have to wonder if this CGI infested prequel—where our title character, who was played so coyly mysteriously by Frank Morgan in the 1939 classic, originates with little depth or interesting backstory other than he's a trickster—is really worth the trip. Mila Kunis is awful, Weisz is very useless (especially with the absence of ruby slippers due to legal restraints with using iconic elements that originated in the 1939 film), and Williams is lackluster (though this is not the fault of Williams, as her character's substance is downgraded with cheap special-effects like the floating bubble actually bouncing on the ground). Perhaps the film's worst quality is a simple one... the film just goes on and on for far too long. However, the climax is pretty decent... for a prequel.


To-the-point and dull-free tale of astronaut Bullock trying to make her way back to Earth safely after an accidental mid-orbit destruction of a shuttle leaves her stranded in outer space. Effects-driven (but what space odyssey isn't?), but charmingly simplistic when it all comes right down to it, with a story and cast that makes it worth your while. Maybe striving for a protagonist slightly more theatrical would remedy the film's interchangeable choice of casting—though all the actors involved do an undeniably satisfying job. Kudos for being a 3D film that has just as much appeal in 2D. Worth seeing.

Enough Said

Exceptionally realistic romantic-comedy/drama about middle-aged massage therapist Louis-Dreyfus who becomes romantically involved with a slightly out-of-league Gandolfini, who she is more mesmerized with by his gentleness and charm than his looks or physique. More commendable than the film's capturing of the doubts and imperfections that come with any relationship—an inevitable trait that many movies (especially romances) tend to ignore—is the purpose and inspiration that seems absent when trying to find love long after the norm does. Logic may only have to be suspended briefly in this outing, as even the close-minded viewer will get roped in by Louis-Dreyfus and Gandolfini's performances—sadly, the latter's final leading role.

Captain Phillips

Ahoy, mateys! Tom Hanks stARRRR!s as ye title chARRRR!acter in this likely over-dramatized true story of a boat getting invaded by pirates who want what any buccaneer wants... treasure! Except these pirates don't talk ye way we other pirates talk—they seem to have true despARRRR!ation and a strange display of selflessness in their act o' crime that makes you almost root for them underdog-pirates due to their disadvantages and the fact that they'll use ye booty to feed their starving women and children. I guess ye producers just expected ye audience to root for Tom Hanks by default. Ugh. Lots of social commentARRRR!y opportunities lost worse than sunken treasure for ye sake of Hollywood-izing an event that actually had a rather swift resolution. It's a wonder how they could even make a two hour movie out of it without making some stuff up. Hmm....