Benz Eye View: The Finest Hours

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The Finest Hours

Pros:

The movie does well showing the dilemmas of both the S.S. Pendleton and the CG 36500. Man vs. nature is the conflict in here, and the ocean is pretty harsh to these characters (although, I wish the CG is better).

The Third Act is pretty cool.  Not going to spoil it, but it gives out a combination of dread and hope (although, I have seen better).

The tanker crew is pretty likable.  Although we do not get to know them that well, you care enough for most of them to survive what seems to be an impossible rescue mission…

 

Cons:

…I cannot say the same thing with the male and female leads: Bernard and Miriam Webber.  Bernard is supposed to be an awkward Coast Guard man who is willing to do an impossible rescue task.  However, he is uninteresting.  You can make an awkward character interesting, but Bernard is not one of them.  Miriam barely does a thing with the exception of what happens in the end.  Other than that, she has her own side-plot that is not really needed…

…With two boring leads, it is clear that they are also romantic interests.  Unfortunately, the romance is dull.   Miriam chews Bernard in terms of charisma and attention, thus one character is more interesting than the other and cannot work together.  If the movie makes you wonder why she wants to marry him, then they failed in the romance entirely.

Casey Affleck is the worst actor in the movie.  I cannot buy his performance, because he supposed to be a quiet guy who is forced to be the leader of the remaining members of the S. S. Pendleton, and he looks so uninterested in the role.  It almost feels like he is obligated to be there, and get his paycheck.  Seriously, if you do not like the movie you are in, at least try to look like you care.

Overall:

Based on a true story (which from what I heard, it is accurate), The Finest Hours is…a movie.  I cannot really describe much other than that.  It does what it needs to do, and it does a decent job.  It could have been better…MUCH better.  There are plenty of flaws in this movie that just brings it down.  This may annoy you more than me.  All-in-all, if you do not have anything else to watch and want to be inspired, I guess you can watch this…I guess.

4/10

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Benz Eye View: Brooklyn

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Brooklyn

Pros:

I do enjoy the fish-out-of-water story.  It may start out as typical, but it gets better over time after a certain thing happens…

…Combine that with a pretty good romance, and the film ends up getting better as the main character ends up with more struggles.  It even has a love triangle that is delivered well since the three characters are likable.

Since this is an Academy Award nominated film, of course the acting is going to be great.  However, my favorite actor in the film is a child actor (I do not know his name) who plays a snarky, smart, and cheeky boy.  He is the funniest character out of everyone.

 

Cons:

The romance between Eilis and Tony is a little weak.  It is not that bad, and they do have some chemistry, but the reason why I said that is because I always get a weird feeling that Tony is the type that cheats on his girlfriends.  I was wrong, but you may get a similar impression when you first see him.

Even though the story is well-written, the first half of the film is pretty typical.  It does have great acting and atmosphere, but it starts out as a typical fish-out-of-water story with romance in its mix.  However, it gets better when the second half of the film comes in, and Eilis’s conflicts get interesting.

 

Overall:

I just have one more Academy Award nominated film to go until I determine which film I want to win in this year’s Academy Awards.  Until then, here is a film called Brooklyn is based on a novel of the same name.  Honestly, I do not have much to say other than it is a really good fish-out-of-water film with romantic elements (I think I need to know some words other than good, well done, fantastic, phenomenal, etc., because it is starting to annoy me).  I can say that this film is aimed more for people who are fans of romance and the book (assuming that it is true to the book).  Long story short, go watch it.

9/10

Benz Eye View: The 5th Wave

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The 5th Wave

Pros:

Chloe Grace Moretz does a great job in her acting role.  There are few missteps here and there, but she did a fine performance overall.

It amuses me a bit that some of the child soldiers probably are around twelve years old.  This probably has a deep message, but…I will get to that in a minute.

The first act is excellent.  Not only does it establish a likable main character, but the first three waves of the invasion are great.  It gives despair to everyone on Earth, and are clever ways to take out the human race…

 

Cons:

…However, when the second act begins, everything falls apart.  Not only does the rest of the movie follow the typical young adult movie cliches, but there are several plot holes and boring moments as well.  As much as I like Chloe Grace Moretz, her character got less interesting as it progresses…

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Huh…A main character that has a younger sibling that she is trying to protect…
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Why does THAT sound familiar?

…Especially when they add a dumb romantic plot line.  Not only is the male love interest not compelling, but he is actually pretty creepy.  When a certain twist is revealed about him and he reveals why he loves the main lead, you will understand why I think that is considered creepy.  They do not have a romantic chemistry at all, especially since the actor of the male love interest is not good.

If you think about it, how the aliens plan to invade and destroy the people of Earth is really stupid.  They could not think of any other methods to destroy all humans?  They could have just stick to the first three (or maybe four if you stretch it a bit) waves, and the human race would be gone.  I am not going to spoil this, but the fifth and final wave that is supposed to take out the human race is absolutely dumb.

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How about sending these guys?  They do a better job than the aliens in this movie did.

Overall:

Based on a best-selling book, the Fifth Wave…is a mess.  I am starting to doubt whether the books really suck and marketing team is lying, or the book version is better and the film team just sucks.  It makes it even worse when the first act got me invested only to have them screw it up in the second and third act.  I should expected this since it is a January movie, but what a way to start the new year.  I better catch up with the Academy Award nominated films before it is too late, but until then, you may find some favor in this movie, at least in the first act.  The rest of it may even make the fans of the book cringe.

3/10

Benz Eye View: The Big Short

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The Big Short

Pros:

While the writing for this film is excellent, the one thing that intrigues me the most is its self-aware fourth-wall breaking moments.  Few of the characters speak to the camera (or us) to explain what is going on to the people who do not get the banking business.  There are even a few points where they mention that certain points in the film did not actually happen in the real events.  Cheeky and clever.

I am not exactly of fan of this style, but the cinematography makes this film seem like a behind the scenes documentary.  Since the actual event happened a few years ago, it is pretty clever that it makes the film seem like what is happening behind the scenes like an actual documentary.

The acting has great talent and performances.  The one actor I like to give credit is Steve Carell.  I know he did a few serious roles (i.e. Foxcatcher), but I never seen him do it until now.  This guy is an example of an actor.  Instead of playing the same character except with different clothing (I am looking at you, Seth Rogen), actors play a variety of different characters.  Steve Carell can be a comedic office worker or a serious banker, and that is talented work.

Cons:

Even though the film has brief scenes explaining the business of banking, I still feel like a complete idiot on what they are talking about sometimes.  If you are not an expert of this field, it is very likely that you will come out watching this film feeling like a stupid person.  At least you will understand the drama of the situation.

Once again, I am not a fan of the documentary-style camerawork.  In my opinion, its panning, tilts, zooms, and constant movements are distracting.  If done terribly, it can be disorientating.  Fortunately, the film does not end up like that.

 

Overall:

Two down, two to go.  This film has also been nominated for Best Picture in the Academy Awards.  Based off of the book of the same name that talks about the events leading to the 2008 financial crisis, this film…is excellent.  Once again, I do not object the Academy’s choice for this film as a possible contender for Best Picture (although their current controversy is something I am not going to talk about right now).  This film is very likely going to hit home for many people who experienced the 2008 financial crisis since it just happened a few years ago.  As it stands, it is aware of not only the problems that happened in the banking industry, but also aware of the people watching it may not understand it that well.  Despite that, it tells a compelling story of why it is bad idea to build a house on sand.  It not only hurts the person living in the house, but those around him.  However, in this case, the rich finds a way to surpass this, while the poor and unaware suffer for it.  There are people who are aware, and try their best to stop it.  This film is a must-see, but also a little heart-breaking for many people.

9/10

Benz Eye View: Spotlight

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Spotlight

Pros:

The writing is excellent.  It may not be a character-driven story (for the most part) that I usually prefer , but the story follows clearly (if you pay attention) on what the dilemma is, and how it is actually bigger than what they thought.

The acting is superb.  I buy that these people know what they are doing in their newspaper journalism.  They know when to be serious and silly, and let it be natural for their characters.

If you look a bit closely, there are some deep lessons when it comes to the investigation of the Catholic Church and its sex scandals.  This may be me just looking a bit too closely, but when they mentioned certain things (i.e. some of the characters’ backstories), I found it very intriguing how they correlate between the characters and the church.

Cons:

You have to pay attention to what is going on in this film, especially how the characters are investigating the scandal.  If you do not, you might struggle on following what they are doing specifically like the people they are after or what they are targeting.

I have only heard a few things that are not true from the film compared to the actual events.  At least it is a few things.

 

Overall:

With the announcement of the nominations for the Academy Awards, I think it is time for me to catch up with some of the films that are nominated for Best Picture.  I am going to start with the one of four films that I missed last year: Spotlight.  Based on actual events, the film tells a story about a group of journalists called Spotlight uncovering the sex abuse scandal by Roman Catholic priests in Boston.  In the wrong hands, this film would likely be a preachy movie that has no structure and weight to its storytelling and message.  However, this film is deserving of its Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.  The story and acting is what makes this film very strong.  Also, because it is based on a true story about a sex scandal in the Catholic Church, this makes the film even better.  Even if it is not, I still find it a well-delivered film that is worth watching, and we will see if it ends up winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, but it sure has some challenges ahead with the other films.

10/10

Benz Eye View: The Revenant

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The Revenant

Pros:

I still cannot believe that Leonardo DiCaprio still has not received an Academy Award, because it is films like The Revenant is why he deserves it.  Considering that his character has very little dialogue, his entire performance relies solely on the way he interacts with the wilderness in order to get the man who killed his son, Hawk.  He does a fantastic job playing a man who knows the ways of nature, but has many disadvantages that range from the Arikara to his wounds.

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Speaking of Hawk, maybe he did not die.  Maybe he became an Assassin instead.  Seriously, films that take place in the forest in this timeline reminds me of Assassin’s Creed III.  

 

There has been plenty of excellent things about the production.  From the environment to the makeup, it can range from the beauties and realism of nature to the disturbing and bloody mess that Hugh Glass goes through in the entire film.  From forests to dead animals, this film has a setting that has a combination of beauty and haunting.

The director, Alejandro González Iñárritu seems to be a fan of cinematography, because it is worth noting on its own.  Like his previous film, he likes to create long shots in order to make sure we feel like we are part of what is happening in this film.  There are risks of taking these shots, but he does a fantastic job making the film seem real with his camera work.

 

Cons:

The CG may be really good, but they do stand out.  It feels like they belong in a CG-animated movie or a video game.

This film can be considered slow for some people, so a fair warning for those who want to know.

 

Overall:

Alejandro González Iñárritu has caught my attention with his last film, Birdman.  I was not really a fan of it, but I acknowledge that it is a great film.  Now with a film based on a book that is based on real people (which I do not know if it is accurate or not), The Revenant is surely one of my favorite films of the year (and I will post a Top 10 Films of 2015 pretty soon, so please wait).  Great performances, fantastic camerawork, beautiful settings, and superb directing is what makes this a phenomenal film.  It impresses me that despite having a few dialogue moments, they managed to tell a story through visuals only.  That is great visual storytelling, and I hope to see more of Iñárritu’s work in the future.

10/10

 

Benz Eye View: Concussion

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Concussion

Pros:

The investigation on how Mike Webster died and showing the new disorder to the neurologists and doctors are interesting.  The fact that a person discovers something new that has not been known in any certain areas gives a sense of discovery and intrigue.

It gets a little better when Dr. Bennet Omalu later has to convince the NLA that the discovery is accurate instead of just making the NLA look bad.  The reason why they want to stop him varies from greed, fame, protection of family, etc.  While they mean well (sort of), that does not excuse the fact that the football players are suffering in the process.

The movie does a great job explaining how damaging and painful football is; changing people’s perspective as they watch or play this game.  It is very convincing that the victims of CTE are truly damaged individuals.  Especially Webster since he looks REALLY miserable like he has been like this for years.

Cons:

The romance between Bennet Omalu and Prema Mutiso is weak.  Weak and awkward in the first few moments that they are together.  From the moment they met, you can automatically guess that these two will get together.  As husband and wife, they are fine, but the romance could have been delivered better.

The characters are pretty generic and a little forgettable.  There are some characteristics that make them somewhat stand out, but in the end, that cannot save them from being average.

As I feared, there are some things in this movie that is not true in the actual events.  Some of the events are softened compared to the actual ones, the NFL are made to look not as bad as what actually happened, and some of the characters are not properly realized.  It does manage to at least get the heart of the event, but not all of the true events.

 

Overall:

This movie is not bad.  It certainly has the heart to tell a true story about a man who discovered a new disorder, and he attempts to tell the world what is truly happening, but no one listens.  However, the delivery could have been better.  Everything about this movie screams generic and average.  Watch any movie that has similar themes and messages like this one, and you will realize that is no different than any of the other ones other than it has a different look, setting, and characters.  It does not make it a terrible movie, it just makes it a genre movie.  It is inspirational towards many, although they may learn that they have heard this message before.

7/10