Movies new and old, from the most artistic of films to the campiest of films. They all get reviewed here and not from some stuffed up suit that forgets why people actually go to the theater to see films.
Tired of reading a review only to end up at the theater disappointed? I am here for you because I am just like you. I'm a film collector that enjoys all sorts of films. From Star Wars to Black Swan and from Fight Club to Half Baked with everything in between, I will let you know what films you should go to the theater to see or rent from red box or even check out on netflix.
The next review we have for you is easily in contention for one of our favorite films of the year so far and will be hard to top. Though it is a sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a wonderfully crafted story that utilizes excellent acting from the actors we see on screen and the actors such as Andy Serkis who voice the apes and do a lot of blue screen work that help make these apes look so real and authentic. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has a very original feel and has you hooked in from the start.
10 years have gone by since we last saw Caesar (Andy Serkis) and in that 10 years there is little in the world that looks like it once was. The drug that was tested on apes to help with alzheimers had an adverse reaction to most humans on the planet. Called the simian flu, this deadly virus spread throughout the world quickly and killed off a majority of its population within 5 years and led to a breakdown in civilization the 5 years after that.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is a film with many layers. It avoids the stereotypical good and bad and forces the viewer to realize this isn’t going to be a black and white story. The conflict between man and ape is understandable and yet completely avoidable. Years of suffering and cruelty along with love and understanding shape both man and ape in the actions they take and the consequences of those actions.
We here at MJR loved this film. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is the complete package as far as story telling goes and leaves the viewer eager for what may come. Definitely go see this film and do it soon, you won’t regret it.
This summer brought us another Transformers film from Michael Bay. It seems that in the movie industry that if something makes you money, then keep doing it even if the story becomes lost in the sound of the kaching of the cash register.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is a movie that shouldn’t have been made. Yes, there are explosions and lots of action that draw in a certain category of viewers but even they must admit that the story doesn’t make much sense. 4 years after the previous film, autobots are being hunted down by their former human allies who have made a deal with a former decepticon turned galatic bounty hunter, while having scientist work on the “dead” mind of Megatron. A recipe for disaster and that doesn’t even mention the fact that this film roles in just under the 3 hour mark.
Transformers: Age of Extinction is a poorly executed story that introduces a new cast that you quite can’t relate to or really get behind. Once again the autobots face overwhelming odds, just to over come them and leave room for another film to be made. The only really interesting piece of plot that Age of Extinction introduces is the creation of the transformers what truly are their origins.
We here at MJR can’t give this film our approval. If you are looking for a brainless movie with explosions and cgi then check it out, but we say wait for it to be on T.V.
Tatum and Hill are back in what could be this summer’s funniest comedy. The action along with the laughs are bigger and the chemistry of the first film is just as strong.
22 Jump Street picks up where 21 left off and Schmidt (Hill) and Jenko (Tatum) are in the thick of it. A drug bust gone wrong leads them back to Jump Street with more money and a new case. Sent back to school but this time it is college but this time all it takes is a slight change to keep the laughs coming. Hill and Tatum end up with a case of role reversals from the first film and that is all it takes to keep this film feeling fresh and not just a rehash.
22 Jump Street has Jenko (Tatum) fitting and getting too deep undercover while Schmidt (Hill) is feeling left out and insecure. Ice Cube as Captain Dickson is given a larger role and his interaction with the two leads only adds to the hilarity. Without giving too much away lets sum up; messing up a case leads back to a jump street with more money and being undercover at college searching for a new mystery drug. A bout of clinginess leads to a forced separation while Jenko (Tatum) bonds with his new frat and Schmidt (Hill) on the outs. Spring break leads to a reunion and chases with gunshots and hilarious scenes of violence that you have to see to believe and maybe someone sleeping with the bosses daughter.
22 Jump Street is one of those movies that it is better to see than read about so I kept my review minimal. Needless to say that we here at MJR urge you to see it and hope you end up in tears of laughter like we were at points.
Edge of Tomorrow features an earth in peril. An alien invasion that has destroyed most of Europe with only China and Russia fighting in the east and the allies once more facing France from England. Tom Cruise stars an American officer that finds himself in a bit of trouble on the eve of an invasion that dwarfs D-day of 1944.
Cage (Cruise) is a man not fit to serve. He didn’t join because he believe in the cause or felt a strong need to save the world but rather to help with a project he worked on. This only starts the worst day in his life. Forced on the fronts lines in his first battle, death is almost guaranteed. Landing on the beaches of Normandy is a nightmare. Death surrounds him as they battle the alien forces and Cage (Cruise) does everything he can to stay alive when an unexpected event happens. While about to die, he blows himself and the enemy up, but in the process he ingests the blood of the alien restarting the worst day in his life.
Day after day he faces the same fate. Wake, fight, die and repeat. Day after day he manages to progress a bit further in the battle before he dies. Unaware of what he is ultimately suppose do until his path crosses the ‘Angel of Verdun’, Rita Vrataski played wonderfully by the extremely talented and gorgeous Emily Blunt. She pieces together what is happening with Cage (Crusie) as it had happened to her. She trains him day after day until he is forged into a weapon strong enough to fight the enemy.
Edge of Tomorrow is an interesting look at a film that is more than just an alien invasion film. The story is carried very well by Blunt and Cruise. The former playing a character with similar experiences to Cruise’s. A large about of focus is on how well Cage knows Rita (Blunt) after spending an infinite number days with her while every day is the first day for her.
We here at MJR enjoyed Edge of Tomorrow. It is a fresh takes on a war film that really isn’t a war film. You don’t need to see it in theaters but we do think you need to see it at some point.
A future in ruin, a past in turmoil and an ever changing present. X-Men: Days of Future Past brings us into a battered world. The sentinel program that was created to help protect the people against the mutants has turned on them all setting up a future where most are dead and the last of the mutants are being hunted. Only a small groups remain and they use the powers they do have to the best of their abilities so they can stay one step ahead of the sentinels who have grown to be able battle any mutant with any ability.
There is only one chance to save the future and it is by saving the past for both mutants and humans. Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) has not only the ability to phase through objects but also the ability to send someone’s mind back in time, usually just short jumps. Combined with the power of Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) she uses her power to send back Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) who happens to be the only one to have the ability to withstand such a trip and live. Sent back to 1973 his mission to is set Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and a young Xavier (James MacAvoy) on the right path and prevent the murder of Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the maker of the sentinel program.
Wolverine’s (Jackman) task seems an impossible one. First he must convince them of his mission and of where he came from. He must help lead two men on very different paths while searching for Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) a mutant that can appear as anyone she wishes. Lawrence stepped up her performance from the first film and does a great job of portraying a woman angry with the world and feeling alone and afraid. Her and MacAvoy have good chemistry onscreen and the emotional turmoil experience by both characters add nice depth to the film.
Aside from some continuity errors that either make other films in the series or contradict others in a few points, X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best installment to date of the X-men series. A story that changes the past and sets up an open ended future with lots of room to play is a good thing in our book. A great cast with multiple good performances and a lack of extraneous characters that have detracted from films in the past have us buzzing here at MJR and we definitely think you should check this film out on the big screen.
Divergent is another movie in a long line of franchises that has been adapted from page to the screen. Like the Hunger Games, Divergent also stars a strong female character in the leading role. Shailene Woodley stars as Tris in this dystopian America set in the future. A faction based society in what is left of Chicago that forces children to choose one of the 5 factions when they come of age with the motto being faction before family.
As always there is more going on than it seems. A long held peace is being challenged with the introduction of political scandal. All is not perfect in this future when Tris (Woodley) is thrust into the middle of it due to her family and because of her test results that help lead the person to choose a faction.
Divergent is an interesting look at a future where the people are grouped to be one thing for their whole life and work in unison with the other factions who also have different purposes. The rare few who do not fit into any category are called Divergent and are considered a threat to society and the way it is run. Most hide in a faction pretending to be one thing when they could be many. Divergent is a story of a character finding their path in life and choosing who they want to be. One faction deciding they know what is best makes a play for power and eliminating any and all they consider a threat.
A decent movie with an interesting story and a fresh cast. Nothing great and a storyline that has been done before but with the future setting and a cast of fresh faces keeps it interesting. We here at MJR enjoyed it, but definitely think it is more a rental and saving yourself money kind of film.
Godzilla returned to theaters this past week with a lot of anticipation behind it. Take an old idea with todays effects, throw in the writers of today and you have the potential to be making something old feel brand new. Godzilla doesn’t quite live up to that idea but does manage to entertain and have some badass special effects.
Underneath the story of Godzilla there is a personal story taking place as well that deals with a family and how the larger story effects them. The stories run parallel to one another with the larger story arc effecting the personal one causing the characters to deal with the devastation and fear caused by what is happening. They storytellers don’t quite draw you in to connect with the characters and that isn’t helped by the story jumping around too much and that is only a part of the problem. Lack on screen time and a late appearance by Godzilla don’t help grab your attention either.
Was Godzilla an enjoyable film? It had several amazing scenes and action sequences, but it isn’t anything you haven’t already seen. If you are a fan of previous entries then go see it but in the end we here at MJR think your money can be better spent elsewhere.