Quick Reviews: In Theatres Now
Reviews by Mitchell Burns
Movies Reviewed: Gravity, Captain Phillips, Don Jon, Rush and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
Full Review: Click Here
Gravity stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts on a space mission, when an accident leaves them stranded in space they are forced to fight for their very survival. Gravity is the first movie from Cuarón since his amazing 2006 Thriller Children of Men, one of my favorites. Cuarón still has it, Bullock is a tour de force, and this is the most beautifully shot movie of the year. It must be seen in theatres and it’s the first movie I would recommend seeing in 3D.
Gravity is damn near perfect, a smart, tense, edge of your seat thriller that deserves every bit of praise and respect its director and actors are receiving. If I urge you to see one movie this year, Gravity is it; you won’t be disappointed; you’ll be speechless.
Director: Paul Greengrass
Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, Michael Chernus, Catherine Keener, and Max Martini
Full Review: Coming
Captain Phillips is a thriller and biopic based on the real life story of Captain Richard Phillips. It tells the story of a band of Somalia pirates who high jacked a US Container ship in 2009 and the ships Captains efforts to stop the pirates, save himself and his crew.
Captain Phillips is an extremely tense and exciting thriller; it’s wonderfully shot, putting you right in the action. The story feels so extremely real and greatly textured that you feel the fear emanating from the captain and his crew during their entire ordeal. The Somalia pirates aren’t throw away villains either, each character is unique, with characteristics, interesting stories and good actors playing each of them, especially the pirate Muse, played by Barkhad Abdi.
Overall it’s Hanks who shines as Captain Phillips, his Boston Accent, scared face, and believable emotions make this performance Oscar worthy and his best since Cast Away (Performance and movie). I can highly recommend Captain Phillips as it’s very entertaining and tense; it also follows the true story of Captain Phillips very closely, so it feels as if you’re learning something.
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, and Brie Larson
Don Jon is the directorial debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who has quickly become Hollywood’s Golden boy thanks to 500 Days of summer, Inception, Looper, and The Dark Knight Rises. Don Jon tells the story of Jon Martello (Levitt), a single man who loves his family, church, girls, cars, his pad, working out and his porn. He goes downtown almost every weekend, he gets girls like mad but he can’t deny his love for pornography. One night he meets Barbara Sugarman (Johansson), a solid 10, he pursues her and they start a relationship. Although Jon is with the “Girl of his dreams”, he can’t stop watching his true love: porn.
As you can probably tell, Don Jon is a raunchy comedy, many scenes involve watching Joseph Gordon-Levitt “beat his meat” to women moaning their loudest. Raunchy can be done well though, and Don Jon is sweet and truthful enough to balance out its raunchiness and awkward moments. This movie is very well acted for a comedy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is charming, Julianne Moore is great as always, as a cute, bumbling classmate and Tony Danza is quite funny. Although, It’s Scarlett Johansson who sticks out though, her Boston accent and charisma shine, it may be her best role since Lost in Translation.
Don Jon becomes quite repetitive, it slows down and seems to slump in the third act a bit; I found myself checking my phone and fidgeting. You don’t quite understand where Julianne Moore comes into the story, or why she’s in the script, any scene with her seems unnecessary. The ending seemed a bit trite but I enjoyed it because I felt a connection with the character of Jon. Overall the movie is truthful and hilarious without pandering to many of the Romantic Comedy clichés.
Director: Ron Howard
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve seen Rush and I should have written a full review at the time but I didn’t, so for this review I’m going off of memory and my notes. I took great notes for this movie though and I can remember quite a bit about it, which are both good signs.
Rush, a biopic, tells the true story of James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), Both of whom were professional Race car drivers and had a fierce rivalry in the 1970’s. Hunt is British, he’s a good looking ladies man who is reckless, loud and likes to party, but he’s a great racer. Niki Lauda (a name I will never forget) is quiet, determined, smart and very often unlikeable.
Rush is interesting and exciting, more exciting than any race I’ve seen on TV. The movie delves into these characters personal lives, it delves into the world of racing, and it fully fleshes out both Hunt and Lauda very well. The acting by Hemsworth and Brühl (Brühl especially), is great, they could both be Oscar contenders if this September movie could still be remembered come Oscar season.
The Crash scene that is shown in almost every trailer comes at about the third quarter of the movie, so it almost seems spoiler-ish to show it in the trailers; but the crash changes the tone of the movie, and elevates it into more than a sports/racing movie. There are a couple scenes that come after the crash that are harder to watch than anything you will see this year.
Rush does struggle though, it struggles to be truly emotional even when it should be. When the two leads aren’t together or racing the movie seems to slow a bit, their personal drama becomes almost uninteresting and boring. To top it off, the characters are somewhat unlikeable, so much so that it takes away from the story and the emotion that should come with it. I personally found something to like in both characters and was rooting for each of them by the end.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
Starring the voice talents of: Bill Hader, Anna Hader, James Caan, Terry Crews, Neil Patrick Harris, Will Forte, Andy Samberg, Benjamin Bratt, Kristen Schaal
To finish it off a sequel and an animated movie. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is the sequel to Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, which is based on a children’s book of the same name, a Children’s book which I owned and loved as a youngster. The first movie was good overall, interesting and sweet, lacking some laughs, but overall it was good, quite an underrated animated movie. It’s sequel is better.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 picks up almost immediately where the sequel left off, shuffling back and forth in time to add a character, Chester V. (Will forte) who wasn’t in the first movie. Chester V. is an inventor who runs Live Corp., which feels like an exaggeration of a modern day Apple. Our movies hero, Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader), is noticed for his efforts creating the FLDSMDFR and is invited to work at Live Corp. with his idol, Chester V. When they realize that the FLDSMDFR, that created the giant food in the first film, is still running and creating food animals on their old island, it’s up to Flint and his friends to go back to their hometown and save the day.
Meatballs 2 is like the first installment meets Jurassic Park, with double the humor of the first. While Meatballs 2 disposes of some of the first installments sweetness, it makes up for it by amping up the humor and making this a worthwhile sequel to a movie that didn’t quite get the attention it deserved. You can’t really fault an animated movie for being unbelievable, or over the top but you can fault an animated movie for being boring. Meatballs 2 isn’t boring, but they insert a character into the movie that I found completely uninteresting, that Character is Chester V. (Will Forte). For a movie that kept me completely entertained and laughing, it could have done without such a boring character that literally slows the plot down in several parts.
Thanks for Reading,
Mitch Burns, The Hollywood Persona