I actually saw this movie in theaters way back in June, but because of the minor depression period that took place after my knee surgery I never got around to finishing this review after writing just one paragraph haha. Thought I’d get to it this winter break, so here it is.
Wes Anderson is one of those love him or hate him directors. Either you will find his particular quirky style of writing and directing charming and endearing or grating and irritating. I fall into the former rather than the latter, I absolutely love Wes Anderson. I’ve loved everything I’ve seen from him so far (Rushmore, The Royal Tenembaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and Fantastic Mr. Fox) and Moonrise Kingdom seems to be Wes Anderson at his most Wes Andersonian haha.
Moonrise Kingdom is a quaint story about adolescent love between two kids who feel like outsiders among their peers. What I loved about this movie is that it made a romance between these two kids feel real and (amazingly) not stupid. The two child actors, Jared Gilman and Kara Heyward, are phenomenal in this film. You really believe their love and that’s what the entire movie centers upon.
The adult actors are on point in this film as well. You’ve got Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, and Jason Schwartzman all doing their usual shtick and doing it very well. Bruce Willis has gotten a lot of flack over the years as an actor (how many movies has this guy played a cop? Including this one lol), but he turns in nice, more subtle performance this time around. He’s had one hell of a year with both this and Looper in 2012. Ed Norton also plays a character that we’re usually not used to seeing him play as the goofy camp counselor. Hard to believe this is the same guy who was in Fight Club and American History X, but that’s the brilliance of Norton.
My biggest knock against this film is that it doesn’t feel like Wes Anderson has evolved or grown as a filmmaker at all. He sticks to his usual off kilter tendencies and characters. Moonrise Kingdom feels like he took all the best elements of his previous movies and packed them together into this singular film. It’s a great film, but it doesn’t feel like Anderson has tried to expand his wheelhouse at all.
Moonrise Kingdom is a movie that you’re either going to “get” or not “get.” Anderson has a particular style that puts off some moviegoers. If you haven’t liked that many of Anderson’s previous work then I’m not too sure you’d go for this one either. However, if you’re a big Wes Anderson fan or not very familiar with his work, definitely give Moonrise Kingdom a shot because there’s a very good chance it will win your heart by the end.
You know… the one in the closet… I’m watching the movie and I just got to that part. I still remember the reaction in the theater. That might be one of the most priceless reactions/moments I’ve ever had in a theater. First everyone’s shocked like WTF!!!! And then everyone just starts laughing like crazy like WTF just happened!!!??? LOL
Is it that time again? Yes, I finally made it back to the theaters, and this time to review a movie that I’ve been highly anticipating, Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Let’s do a brief history recap of my views on the Transformers series so far. I thought the first Transformers movie was so good, just so good… it basically took Michael Bay’s sensibilities, put it to the Transformers property, and made a fun action movie. The plot was dumb, but I didn’t go to a Michael Bay movie for plot, I came for special effects and action and that movie had both in spades. Transformers 2? Oy gevalt… what a fucking tragedy. The trailers looked like it was going to give us more of the same awesomeness, and instead we got a complete train wreck. It was seriously bloated, not funny, unbelievably bad plot, and a lot of the action was incomprehensible. I pop in the first Transformers from time to time when I want something fun to watch. Transformers 2? I have only seen it in it’s entirety once and then another time Chris and I skimmed through the movie when it was released on video, that’s it.
So when Transformers 3 came around, needless to say I was apprehensive. When that first teaser trailer came out, I got more excited, but it was when the full trailer hit that I was totally amped for this movie. Then again, I tried to temper my expectations because Transformers 2 looked good from the trailers as well and turned out to be complete shit, so I tried not to get my hopes up too high. Early reviews seemed generally positive, but when the full critical consensus came out, it was mostly negative (38% on Rotten Tomatoes so far). Despite that, I was still excited to see it because Michael Bay obviously doesn’t make critic friendly movies, but I still dig Bad Boys 2 and Transformers 1.
Thankfully, Transformers 3 is better than Transformers 2; unfortunately, Transformers 3 never reaches the heights of Transformers 1.
What I really don’t understand is why Michael Bay has not figured out that less is more? Transformers 3 would’ve been an insane balls to the wall action film if it ran at a much tighter 105 minutes instead of the bloated 154 minutes that it is. Why Bay insists on trying to build plot for a film that people go to see for the action spectacle is just mind boggling. The story literally makes no sense and the movie as a whole is super dumb, why not just run with that like movies such as Commando and Fast Five and just give us a bunch of fun action shit to watch and entertain us? I want to see giant fucking robots beat the shit out of each other! Not stupid conspiracies and pretending like we actually give a shit about the “characters” in Transformers.
What makes it difficult to create an emotional response to the Transformers themselves is that the concept of them is something that is not relatable to real life. The reason Transformers 1 had that emotional connection, however slight it may be, is because of the whole boy and his first car element (which was a Steven Spielberg implementation). That’s something that everyone can connect to. The second and third films have nothing for anyone to grasp onto emotionally. It’s just robots beating the shit out of each other. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (I am an advocate for robots beating the shit out of each other lol), but the fact that Bay fails so hard in trying to make you care is really a detriment to the film itself.
What really saves this movie from being a complete redux of the mess that was Transformers 2 is the better action sequences and the top notch special effects. I saw the film in 3D and the opening scene was an absolutely gorgeous 3D space sequence. There is stuff in this movie that you will not see anywhere else, guaranteed.
The last 45 minute block of action is ridiculously insane over the top action. For action junkies, it is a glorious sight to behold. The only area where Michael Bay seems to have improved is with his visual sense during the action scenes. Whereas Transformers 2 was his (failed) attempt at a Paul Greengrass shaky cam style action, this time around the action is clear and shot extremely well, taking advantage of the depth of 3D without being too obvious/gimmicky.
It’s sad to say that there’s not a whole lot of improvement from the Transformers 2 aside from the action. If you go into the movie for a special effects extravaganza and insane action, you won’t be disappointed. Unfortunately, the movie gets bogged down in so much other not worthwhile crap that I can’t wholeheartedly recommend it. This movie is pretty much critic-proof though and you KNOW people will see it, so I will recommend that if you do see it, see it in 3D because this is the way 3D was meant to be used to enhance the movie going experience.
I was planning on writing more but… fuck it, y’all are going to see this movie anyway lol. It’s not a great film, but I think that the experience of seeing all the special effects and action in 3D is basically worth the price of admission.