400 And Counting: Week 13 (Shots!)

January 23, 2015

In last week’s post, I talked about my first 25 years and what I wanted to achieve in life. This week I just watched some movies.

X-Men: First Class (2011)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
2:02:00 (Completed)

Now this is what an X-Men movie should be. Vaughn’s reboot tells the tale of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Professor X (James McAvoy) as they came into their powers, met, worked together and clashed. It’s also a period piece (of sorts), as it is set during the 1960s and the Cold War.

Fassbender is incredible as Erik Lensherr / Magneto, who begins the film hunting the Nazis that tortured him during WWII. Fassbender has a great chemistry with his co-star McAvoy. Vaughn knows how to make a great Hollywood tent pole blockbuster and this is no exception: Great script, great cast and an all round great movie.

American Sniper (2014)
Director: Clint Eastwood
2:02:00 (Completed)

This is a tough one. It’s been almost a week and I’m still not sure if I like American Sniper.

Eastwood is a decent director, so the pacing and the direction is fine. I like Bradley Cooper, I think he’s a good actor and leading man. The problem lies in the story. Cooper plays Chris Kyle, an American Navy Seal who, you guessed it, is a sniper during the recent ‘War on Terror’. Kyle is credited as the most lethal sniper in America’s history, and that’s where the problem starts.

Much of the film felt like it was trying to justify his actions, that his kills were all insurgents and not civilians. They enough throw in an Enemy at the Gates-style sniper vs sniper storyline, which doesn’t work because the other sniper wasn’t a horrible Nazi.

So yes, it’s a well made film but I didn’t get a lot out of it.

Into the Woods (2014)
Director: Rob Marshall
2:05:00 (Completed)

Into the Woods is a musical about fairy tales: Dark and slightly twisted fairy tales (less dark and twisted than the actual musical this film is based off, but whatevs…). There are a bunch of characters, many from famous tales (Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Rapunzel etc), many of them played by an impressive cast list; Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp and Chris Pine to name but a few.

I enjoyed the first half, where we see the intersecting moments of these well known characters, the bits in between the fables. A couple of the songs were really well done as well, ‘Agony’ being the big showstopper. The second half seemed rushed and fell apart for me. The story wasn’t very strong and the character intersections felt incredibly forced.

Despite that, the first half was fun, and if you like fables you…should read the Fables comic (it’s far better than this movie) but you should also check this film out. It made me want to see the stage show.

Teenage Paparazzo (2010)
Director: Adrian Grenier
1:34:00 (Completed)

What better way to prepare for the Entourage movie than to watch Adrian Grenier’s (aka. Vince) doco about the paparazzi. The film focuses on 14 year old Austin Visschedyk, a young paparazzo who snaps Adrian at an event. From there, the film follows Austin as Grenier tries to understand the paparazzi and today’s celebrity culture.

I found the film fascinating (this is my second viewing), Austin was good subject and a good window into the culture and profession. I’d be interested to see Adrian Grenier do some more docos.

Birdman (2014)
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
1:59:00 (Completed)

I’ll just say this now: Birdman is going to be my film of the week. Birdman might even be my film of the year — it is that good. The script is so tight and well written, the actors are at the top of their game and the way that it’s shot is incredible; it’s shot in such a way that it seems to be one long shot. I don’t want to talk too much about the plot, and just say that you should watch the trailer below and see this film now!

Need for Speed (2014)
Director: Scott Waugh
2:12:00 (Completed)

I’d seen bits and pieces of this film when it was out of cinemas and thought it was horrible: Bad dialogue, terrible acting and editing that made car chases and stunts boring. Then I watched the movie in full. Yes, it’s not very well written, and yes the pacing isn’t great. The actors aren’t doing much with their lines or characters…but I had fun.

It’s a big, stupid, fun movie. There’s car races, there’s a revenge plot, the characters play the actual Need for Speed game in the film, and the stunts are cool; I guess that’s what happens when the director is a former stuntman.

They could’ve made a much better adaption, but it could’ve been much worse as well.

…Why aren’t you watching Birdman, already?

Film of the week: Birdman
Movies watched this week: 6
Did Not Finish (DNF) this week: 0
Time spent this week: 11:54:00
Total movies watched: 68/400
Total DNF: 2
Total time: 128:41:32

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