Benz Eye View: Creed

Creed_poster.jpg
Creed

Pros:

There is a great chemistry between Rocky and Donnie.  They give out not only a mentor-student relationship, but also a father-son-like friendship that fits for both of these characters.

It may be good to see Rocky Balboa again, but the film acknowledges that it is not his story; it is Donnie Creed’s.  The filmmakers did an excellent job making a film about this character and his struggles with Rocky Balboa going along with the ride.

The cinematography intrigues me, particularly in the fight scenes.  They consist of plenty of long shots which work on the fight scenes, because it makes you feel like you are part of the audience seeing the action.

 

Cons:

Keep in mind of this: This film is slow, especially on the second act.  I will somewhat excuse this since the first Rocky did the same thing, but there are a few scenes that do drag on for a bit too long.

The romance between Donnie and Bianca is not bad, but not that great when compared to Rocky and Adrian.  The two from the original film had their own plots (Rocky has to prove he can beat Apollo, and Adrian has to overcome her shyness), while Bianca’s plot is not really that interesting, and later gets tossed aside.

I wish I got to know the main antagonist: Conlan a little more.  His characterization is shown through a news report and a brief scene, but other than that, he comes off as a stereotypical stubborn heavyweight boxer.

 

Overall:

The Rocky film series is one of my favorite film series of all time.  The first Rocky is an instant classic.  Rocky II is a great successor to the last one.  Rocky III may not have been good as the other two, but still delivered an interesting story.  Rocky IV may have terrible writing, but made it up with plenty of fun moments (and my favorite song of the Rocky series over Gonna Fly Now: Heart’s on Fire).  Rocky V was not that bad in my opinion, but it did suffer with its own problems.  Rocky Balboa is a great film that brought back Rocky into the modern world, and it is a story worth telling.  Now we have another sequel that is not about Rocky Balboa, but about the son of Apollo Creed, Donnie Creed.  I was excited and worried about this film for it may not be that great.  I am proud to say that this film is fantastic, and worthy of the Rocky film series.  It may not be about Rocky, but it does make a great film with legacy as a perfect theme for not only Donnie, but also the Rocky series as a whole.  Makes me want to look back and watch the old films.  Go and watch this film, especially if you are a Rocky fan.  It is a great tribute to Rocky, while making its own story about another character that is worth telling.

9/10

I will leave you with this song from Rocky IV; a perfect metaphor on how I felt when I watched this film.

Benz Eye View: The Good Dinosaur

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Here is a little Thanksgiving treat just for you.

The_Good_Dinosaur_poster
The Good Dinosaur

Pros:

The animation is excellent as usual.  This is Pixar after all.  Even in their worse films, they still manage to have great animation.  In this case, the dinosaurs are very life-like, especially Arlo.

The greatest technical marvel about this movie is the environment.  I cannot describe how realistic and fantastically-made the environment is.  If you just look at the environments alone, it would like an actual real-life forest.  It is that amazing, and it is what got me to watch this movie in the first place.

The relationship between Arlo and Spot is beautiful.  The best moments in the movie is when the two have quiet moments (i.e. the discussion about their families).  As a certain quote says, “Action speaks louder than words.”

Cons:

This is not that bad of a con, but the dinosaurs do not exactly fit into the environmental setting.  Compare to the realistic setting and the cartoon-like dinosaurs, and you will probably get what I am talking about.

I do not feel like I explored the world of this movie enough.  The main characters do meet a few dinosaurs (who are not memorable), but despite the realistic-looking world and characters, it makes the movie feel isolated.  I know that is the point for Arlo, but I feel like there should be more dinosaurs around, especially when there is not that many varieties.

The villains (yes, there are villains in this movie) feel like last-minute additions.  There is nothing that stands out towards them other than they are crazy.  There is probably a symbolic reflection between Arlo and them, but there is no charm for them at all.

 

Overall:

With Pixar’s last film Inside Out that was released a few months ago, I was ecstatic to check out this new movie.  I love Inside Out so much, I could not wait what the next one has in store.  Well, The Good Dinosaur is pretty good.  That is it.  It is a fantastic-looking movie with great animation and environments, but the story has been done before.  It does pretty well make you care for Arlo and Spot, but it does not reach the same emotional level with any Pixar film (i.e. Inside Out).  This makes me feel like that they are showing off their animation instead of making a fantastic story.  It is serviceable, but you can find better films that deal with the same or similar themes as this one.  I do recommend it for everyone, but it would probably make you feel like watching Inside Out again.

8/10

For Pixar’s new short, Sanjay’s Super Team, I really like it.  Not only does this short have fantastic animation, but also an interesting look at a child who wants to follow his imagination of superheroes, but has to follow his family’s traditions/religion.  I enjoy it.

I also like to spend a little time saying that I am thankful for the people who are actually reading my reviews in this blog.  I am glad that you are enjoying my reviews, and I like to keep doing this for you guys.  Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Benz Eye View: The Night Before

TheNightBefore2015poster
The Night Before

Pros:

There is a great friendship dynamic between the three main leads.  I can buy that these three are best friends; buddies that have been with each other since Ethan’s parents died.

The few emotional moments are actually decent.  Since it takes place on Christmas, those moments have meaning and heart to it, making it a bit more powerful.

Ethan’s (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) plot is the most investing of the other plots.  He has more emotional conflict than the other two, at least in what he has to lose, and the scenes that are shown on what he is going through is gripping.

Cons:

Unfortunately, everything goes downhill by the second act.  What was once endearing and understandable for the characters in the first act ends up being boggled with…well…

…The mugging comedy that never works when the entire movie does it most of the entire run.  Seth Rogen’s character panics about finding his phone for plot reasons, and Anthony Mackie’s character want crack for whatever reasons.

Most of the second act is just Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie running around to get their subplots to progress to the third act, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s more interesting plot does not really pick up that much until the end of the second act.  He is more interesting than the wack-jobs running around like a bunch of maniacs, especially when they have to use disgusting humor in the process.

 

Overall:

I feel pretty down after watching two movies (one that is dark yet greatly made, and another that is depressing yet poorly done) and a Netflix series that is great yet grim.  I feel like I need to watch a comedy; I want to laugh out loud in a movie that takes place during Christmas.  Instead, I only got a few giggles at best.  This movie disappoints me, because I see plenty of potential in it.  Three friends hang out at Christmas time when one of them lost his parents, and they search for a secret party area to hang out in their last Christmas hangout.  That seems like a good idea, but the execution is just filled with dirty and disgusting jokes with barely any time to be emotionally invested on the character with dead parents.  I would have probably loved this movie if it had went for its premise, but they went for Seth Rogen’s preferred comedy instead.  Excuse me while watch Home Alone, Die Hard, or any the other movies they mentioned that works much better than this mess of a movie.

2/10

Benz Eye View: Marvel’s Jessica Jones

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Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Pros:

Most, if not all the characters are very interesting, and compelling.  They all have their own reasons why they do what they do, and good motivations to reinforce their actions.

There are some amazing acting going on this Netflix series.  The best actors of the bunch are Kryistin Ritter as Jessica Jones, and David Tennant as Kilgrave.

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I mean, come on!  You got the Tenth Doctor to play one of the most terrifying villains I have ever seen.  Also, his performance is a great example of acting.

There is great tension and a real sense of danger throughout the entire series.  There are even moments where you cringe, because they are really disturbing and dark.

Cons:

Jeri Hogarth’s subplot is the only one that I do not really care about, especially since I do not like this character (you will see why when you watch it).

Just like every Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-ins, there are some foreshadowing on what is going to happen in future installments (i.e. Jessica Jones’s origins of her powers is not fully explained), and that may not make some people happy.

The ending is a bit anti-climactic for me.  I understand what they are doing, and how the climax is meant to happen, but I kind of hoped that it would have been a bit better.

Overall:

Marvel’s Netflix series is certainly doing well, especially with Daredevil being such a huge success.  Now, here is the next installment of the series that just came out yesterday.  With a dark and brazen tone, fantastic yet disturbing story, wonderful yet grim characters, and powerful yet understandable villain, Jessica Jones is another great addition to Marvel’s Netflix series if not the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  However, this IS a dark series.  How dark?  Dark enough to make me want to watch Daredevil again, because that series pales in comparison with this one.  Despite that (and some of its themes that I question), Jessica Jones is a fantastic Netflix series, and probably the only female superhero to do well in TV/film media (correct me if I am wrong on that).  Keep in mind, this IS very dark, so this is not for everyone.  I only recommend it to adults, and people who can handle its themes.

For those who are new, I rate TV series differently (if I do TV reviews at all).  The ratings will go on like this: Pass, Occasional Viewing, or Watch It.

Watch It

Benz Eye View: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2

Mockingjay_Part_2_Poster
The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2

Pros:

The action scenes (the few that are in this movie) are very tense, and adrenaline fun.  These are my favorite moments of the movie (you will see why in the cons).

The costume and setting designs are great as usual…that is about it.

I like what direction that they are going for in this movie.  Instead of an arena where the players kill each other, the environments, traps, and Panem are after the rebels: an alternate version  of the Hunger Games.

Cons:

There is so much exposition in this movie, and it is barely interesting.  To sum it all up, it is pretty much like this: “We have to kill Snow.  Oh, wait.  There are traps in the entire city.  Be careful.  We don’t want our red-shirts to die…Oh, wait.  They’re dead.  That sucks.  Let’s go.”  It can also be like this: “Do you love me?  I don’t know, do you love me?  I do.  OK, whatever.  We’ll resolve this in the end of the movie.”

The pacing is unbearably long and poor.  The reason why I said the action scenes are my favorite parts of the movie is because the rest just drags on with very little interesting moments.  I get what is going on, just either cut the scenes short or remove them completely.

This leads to the biggest problem with the movie: the writing.  Screenwriting 101: make sure the scenes have purpose.  While it is arguable that the scenes in this movie do actually have purpose, another good screenwriting advice is that they do not drag on to the point where we have to look at our watches and say, “Is the movie over?”

 

Overall:

The final movie of the Hunger Games Quadrilogy, and it has been a good run, right?  Well, let me see what I think of the other Hunger Games movies: I like the first one; I like the second one as well, but I thought it is a bit too similar to the last one; and the third one was slow, but I accepted it due to interesting tensions.  The last movie, on the other hand, I did not like.  I thought it was an uninteresting and boring way to end the series.  Some of the elements I did not like from the other movies (i.e. the romance) appears here, and it did not improve.  I can tell that many of the characters (some are introduced in this movie) are red-shirts waiting for their moments to die.  I do not know if this is close to the books or not, but I did watch with a few friends of mine, and many of them like it (mainly because they read the books).  If I have to recommend this movie to anyone, I say the fans of the books.  Any other person should just watch the Harry Potter movies instead.

4/10

Benz Eye View: Sicario

Sicario
Sicario

Pros:

The suspenseful scenes are done very well.  With a combination of tense music and lack of the idea of who and how many are there, those scenes provide well done moments of mystery and fear.

The third act is the best one by far (especially considering one certain con).  It may not be a hard-boiled action scene, but it is great action scene that is subtle, and an idea that the antagonist brings up that may make some people think of their actions like this one (maybe…).

This film is not for the faint of heart, because it has disturbing imagery that makes it great for its grim and depressing tone.

Cons:

This may be a great film, but it can be considered slow for some people.  If you are expecting a high-thrill action movie, you are not going to find it here.

With the exception of Alejandro Gillick, none of these characters interest me.  The actors may have played their parts well, but it is not enough to make me like them enough to care.

Overall:

I apologize that there is no new movie that came out this week that I did not review.  None of the new movies this week interest me, and I heard plenty of things about this one.  Maybe I will get to those new movies, but that is unlikely.  Anyway, how about Sicario?  A film that came out a couple of months ago that received a great amount of praise.  I agree with them.  It is indeed a great film about how people have to break the rules in order to stop the enemy, but it comes at a cost.  While I do recognize that this is great, it is one of those films that I prefer not to watch again.  It is a little too slow for me, and these types of films are not really what I prefer to watch everyday if I wanted.  Anyone looking for a really grim film about agents breaking the law in order to stop the bad guy, this is for you.  However, if you are like me, watch something that avoids the completely depressing, like The Peanuts Movie.

Yeah.  Watch a movie about a boy who lacks self-confidence, and is constantly depressed.
Yeah. Watch a movie about a boy who lacks self-confidence, and is constantly depressed.

9/10

Benz Eye View: The Peanuts Movie

The Peanuts Movie
The Peanuts Movie

Pros:

This movie has great 2.5D animation (if that term exists in the animated realm).  It manages to have 3-D animation, but keeps the spirit of the original cartoons and comic strips alive with the characters moving in a 2-D fashion despite being in a 3-D world.

For anyone who is worried that they changed many things in the Peanuts universe, do not fret, because this movie does a fantastic job living up to the Peanuts universe.  You will remember who these characters are, how they interact, and what they do.  Any newcomers will end up being interested in this (unless if you hate kids).

Plenty of great jokes here.  There are great visual and dialogue jokes that work well for everyone, especially children.

Cons:

The Snoopy subplot, while entertaining, is distracting.  It may have been rooted by the main plot, but the subplot does not affect it in anyway other than they interact with each other.

Charlie Brown’s voice actor: Noah Schnapp is the weakest out of all the other voice actors.  I understand that his character is supposed to be pessimistic, unconfident, and unsure of himself, but it sounds like he does not have that much emotion.  Noah does fine, but he does stand out with the other voice actors (then again, that may be the point).

I have a problem with how the main plot is resolved.  I am not going to spoil what it is, but let’s just say if “that” character actually interacted with Charlie Brown throughout the time that has passed in the second to last act, the movie would have been resolved in a much better way (albeit kind of short, but better).

Overall:

The Peanuts.  Remember them?  It has been such a LONG time since I seen them.  Remember the Great Pumpkin?  The time when Charlie tried to kick a football, but Lucy moved it in the last second?  Remember the Christmas Time?  Man, those were such great cartoons and comic strips.  How about the recent movie that came out?  It is just as I remember these characters.  Besides the nostalgia, how does this movie hold on its own?  It does so pretty well.  With some exceptions (i.e. the main plot’s resolve), The Peanuts Movie does a solid job on telling a visual story about a boy who lacks confidence, but has a crush on the new girl in school.  It may have been done before, but one thing I do like is that these are child characters, and they do act like children, not adults (in fact, you do not actually see the adults other than their Wah-Wah-Wah voices).  Show this movie to your entire family, not just for nostalgia, but for an entertaining movie about a boy who gathers courage just for a girl.

8/10

As for the Ice Age short, Cosmic Scrat-tastrophe, it is an all right shenanigan thrill ride, but how it ends…I think it is time to say goodbye to the Ice Age series.