Monday, January 12, 2015

2014 Movies Review


Now that 2014 has come to an end, I feel that it is indeed an obligation for me to do a review on some of the popular movies that came out in 2014. Like my previous movie review post, I will basically be talking about several movies I already watched and I'll tell you just how much I liked (or disliked) them and reasons why.

I don't know why writing movie reviews are becoming such a thing for me, but I think it's practically because I always have a lot to say about movies. I've always been a movie person for as long as I can remember and at the end of every movie, I always have strong opinions on each of them from many different aspects of the movie itself. I enjoy and am quite familiar with the movie industry for some reason, so I'm just taking that to my advantage.

So here it goes! Enjoy my brief reviews on these eleven movies from 2014:

1. Maleficent


I think it is pretty obvious: Maleficent is one of the best movies of 2014, and one of the best Disney movies ever made. There is no denying that whatsoever, how could one even begin? The pure slaying-queen aura that is Angelina Jolie, or the mystifying excellence of Disney's animations, or the beauty and innocence of sweet Elle Fanning? From whatever aspect, this movie does deserve all the credits. Although, I do have a lot to say about this movie. So stay tuned.

I hate to say this, but I did feel like Angelina was practically 90% the reason why I loved this movie. Don't get me wrong, I will forever love Disney and this movie was indeed brilliant, but her acting, her voice, her characterization, her beauty, her presence itself kind of made the entire movie for me. I also did like how they got Angelina's daughter to play little Aurora, and I also liked that they gave a very distinct and great background story to Maleficent. The animations were indeed excellent, and I give credits to the brilliant makeup artist to perfectly construct the face of Maleficent.

Now, I hate to say this too, but even if my heart fell in love with the movie wholeheartedly, my mind still detected several things that made me rethink a lot about this movie, and eventually I didn't love this movie as much as I hoped I would. 

The first and very obvious mistake to me (but apparently almost no one else noticed this) was one made by the costume designer/stylist. In the scene where Maleficent was at war with the king and his armies, Aurora found a way to Maleficent's wings, and basically Aurora crashed the glass and the wings flew freely and found their way onto Maleficent's back, and bam. Wings are back. That part was cool, but what wasn't cool was how I saw Maleficent slowly stand up after regaining her wings in, not a black overwhelming dress or a dark cape, but rather what looked like black leather jeans and a black top to match. Honestly, this ruined the idea of the whole movie to me. This was in an era long ago before our time! We're talking renaissance, Victorian maybe? Explain to me why they gave Maleficent a pair of leather jeans when she was fighting off knights and soldiers with swords in a stone chamber centuries ago. Do explain. I'm sorry, but what were they thinking? You have to stick to the chronology of the movie itself, and the costume that she was wearing in this little scene was the worst to go for. I do hope you guys could understand this.

Another thing that I didn't like was how they basically brought disgrace to Disney's other classic characters in the story. One. Why is Aurora's dad suddenly a murderous crazy evil psychopath? Why is he screaming all the time and ready to go to war? What, why? Reminding you, dear producers, that the one who actually fought with the dragon wasn't the king, but the prince. Whereas the prince, two, in the movie, did not do anything credible. All he did was gaze lovingly into Aurora's eyes and ride a pretty horse and make an attempt on kissing her. Okay, I admit that it was very clever how they twisted the plot and made Maleficent the one to give the true love's kiss. But where was the prince to cut down all the gigantic thorns to get to his true love? Or where was he to even meet the dragon? Three. I have always perceived Aurora as this composed, elegant, classy princess. I think in the original story, Aurora was dreamy and curious, but quite sensitive and mature. Most of the time, she was very calm and never asked for much, and she spoke in soft tones. I love Elle, but movie-Aurora was a lot more childish. Giggling 85% of the time, running around everywhere, a very young face and all. I felt like it was slightly off of what I've always imagined of Aurora. Four. The fairies. The good, good fairies. I know that in the original story, they did have their conflicts, but they were good and thoughtful and sincere and caring. They were basically three different loving grandmothers. This movie made them look like idiots. What was supposed to be the "caring and responsible grandmothers" turned into "idiotic grandmothers with a small case of Alzheimer's". The movie completely ruined the image of these fairies that I loved (even chose the worst set of actresses to play them). I do not want Dolores Umbridge to be the main fairy here.

Whoo, that was a lot! Overall, it's still a very acceptable movie. Very well-put together in other ways, and despite the things I didn't like, plenty seemed to impress me.

2. Robocop


I watched Robocop at the theatres on Valentine's Day with my best friends. Watching a robot movie on a day that's supposedly about love and romance? Okay, not our best decision. But anyway, this movie is kind of spectacular.

The movie kind of talks about how things are in the future, so in it we see major changes in terms of the technology. Already very advanced and modern, so I'm pretty sure the story belongs in about decades from now. The movie basically tells a story of a man who is an officer. He lost most of his body in a very critical condition because of a bomb planted in his car. And then there are these scientists and marketing people who are working to sell the idea of robot technology into America. They take this opportunity and turn the man into a robot cop. Hence, Robocop. 

Honestly, I did like the whole idea, I mean the storyline, the characters, they were all pretty good. It's a good movie, but wasn't as astounding as I expected. Just another "not-quite-there" action blockbuster movie. What really impressed me was one of the actors, his name is Gary Oldman. In the movie, he plays the role of Dr. Dennett Norton, and you guys, his performance was magnificent. I don't know but he should probably get an award. Through the moments of panic and pure genius, every aspect of his performance was very well played. I actually found the other characters quite weak in terms of the acting and the characterisation. The main character himself didn't even seem to break through that boundary, you know? Like how the main character always has to make something of himself, especially in an action-packed movie like this. I felt like he didn't talk enough, or do enough. It was too much robot, not enough human. I get that that is the purpose of the movie, but it kind of leaves me yawning.

But overall, it's a good movie, and if you haven't watched it, that's okay. 

3. Mockingjay Part 1


Okay, so I already did a review of this movie in this post but I felt like I needed to say a bit more.

I simply do not like how the media is seeing this. The movie practically shows Katniss slowly losing herself, then fighting in battle, Finnick expressing his darkest secrets on live television for the sake of the victors, the ruins of District 12, Peeta being beaten and losing his mind, Panem's rebellion, and so many other things. And what does the media have to say about this? So... Peeta or Gale now? I swear I'll hang these people in the hanging tree.

If you haven't read my post with a review on this, I just thought it was a really good movie overall, you guys. Very emotional and overwhelming, and a great movie to resemble the first part of Mockingjay. When reading the book, I felt kind of bored at the beginning of Mockingjay, so to be honest, I had my doubts in watching this movie. But in the end, I was impressed. Well done, Lionsgate.

4. Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb


Can I just say: FINALLY???? I do not understand why they waited five years to make this third movie. Look at his kid, all grown up and wanting to be a DJ in Ibiza and all!

Oh well anyway, I loved this movie! I watched it with my siblings a few days ago and I adored it. It was so funny (including hilarious Hugh Jackman cameos and starring Rebel hell yeah Wilson) and I found it totally amusing. The Hugh Jackman part really cracked me up, and not to mention the very weird romance between Tilly (that's Rebel's character) and the strange Neanderthal (whose name is Laa, by the way). But the kiss with the monkey? No. Didn't like that. They went a little too far with that.

I was quite devastated when I realised that this was probably going to be their last movie ever, considering at the end Larry finally quits his job as a night guard. Also, I was actually hoping to see the museum's gala performance come back to life after the first attempt which was a disaster. Other than that, I also just really desperately want to see Rebecca get back with Larry. God knows where she is now, but it would've been so much better if they reunited at the end. Another thing that made me really sad was seeing Robin Williams on the big screen. It was so overwhelming to me, I started having heart palpitations. Made me miss him even more, like way more. Especially in the scene where Larry technically does say goodbye to Teddy. Someone revive him. :(

But anyway guys, it's a great movie. Totally impossible to pick my favourite characters, but in the movie, it's probably Teddy, Sacagawea, and Attila the Hun. They're quite brilliant. Akhmenrah is also pretty nice to look at, I guess (that sounded a little stranger than I expected). He is a perfect fit for the character! Jed and Octavius, of course, the perfect duo. Loving all the bromance happening in this movie, and I did feel like they didn't put these two guys into enough combat. Practically any combat, really! I really expected to see them fight or something, because that would be great. I do think that they should've cast someone else to play Larry's son (Jake Cherry from the first 2 movies was a lot better in my opinion), but this movie impressed me very much. I am such a fan of the Night movies, and couldn't have asked for a better end game.

5. Annie



No. No, no, no. Just no. Oh dear, no. Oh my, don't. I firstly didn't want to do a review on this movie considering how utterly disappointing it is, but well, here it goes. Okay, here we go.

I spotted the trailer around February of last year, and my sister and I spent the entire year being very anxious about it. Everyone I knew was a bit taken aback about how Annie turned into an African-American girl (they even kept calling her "the black Annie"), but I found that extremely racist. I don't know why, but I honestly didn't mind at all about the race situation. But a lot of things in the actual movie did bother me. And it's not the cultural switch.

One. Please don't force Cameron Diaz to sing. She's an astounding actress and all, but you have to realise she's no Barbra Streisand. Two. The songs were horrible. I really could not wrap my mind around how incredibly disappointing it was to listen to them. They did modify some songs from the original Annies before, and I guess it didn't turn out too bad for a modernized pop version, but then, they started with all these original songs. I hated it. The melodies are way too odd, the lyrics are mostly off-beat, and the verses don't even rhyme or anything. But three, I guess it was funny at the first scene in the classroom where they have this pure-American-little-lady girl with red curls named Annie, then shifts it onto the real Annie that they're making this film about.

I was anticipating a much, much, much better movie, because Annie was one of the peaks of my childhood. Unfortunately, it's the most disappointing movie I've seen, maybe ever.

6. Left Behind


Okay, producers? Directors? Here is a little tip. Don't make a movie that's about the Bible if you can't get it right. In the end, non-Christians won't like you, and Christians won't like you. (Hear that, Noah filmmakers?)

I felt that this movie was a little bland, and not quite there yet. But well, the thrilling action and all that? Terrific. Like the plane landing, everything. It was all pretty astounding. I also did become quite impressed on how they portrayed the part where people go to Heaven suddenly. I am not sure that that's how the Bible meant it, but I think they did really well in picturing how it went down, with all the chaos, children missing, and everything. That part where she hugs her little brother, and then he vanished? It was pretty genius.

What I actually really didn't like about the movie was how they kind of showed that the mother was "crazy" for believing in what she believed in. This movie associated the Bible with God's wrath and chaos and "mysterious ways", and shows nothing that implies that Christianity is actually about a lot of good things that people don't pay attention to. We are taught to love, taught to obey, taught to be wise, and oh yeah but your Bible's gonna kill us all in the end in a supernatural and impossible way yeah sure so screw you Christians. I felt like this movie gave off a little of that message. Movie-formalities-wise, it was pretty cool. I just felt mildly offended by how they made it to be.

7. Lucy


Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman in the same sci-fi movie? Wow I must watch this. That's what I thought when this movie came out. My best friend came to me one day and told me she watched it, and she went on about how it was amazing and very thrilling in her opinion. And so, I watched it with my mom.

So basically, it's about a woman, and guess what her name is! Yep. Lucy. Lucy here is in college  or something (Scarlett Johansson playing a college girl in her early 20s. Pretty odd.) and she has this horrible, seemingly abusive, unintelligent boyfriend who gets deals with mafia bosses and drug dealers and whatnot. He forces her to send this briefcase of drugs to this very rich and dangerous and powerful person with tons of people working for him. Eventually, they take her in and she's forced to carry the drug inside her stomach and send it off to another country. I can't seem to understand how this happens, but she ends up in some other guy's basement, and they're about to take advantage of her sexually (of course, because it's Scarlett Johansson), and when she says no, they kick her and beat her up. Basically, when they kick her in the stomach, the drug kind of pours out of its package and makes its way through her body. It does these supernatural freaky things to her cells (she dissolves and then defies gravity and then goes back to normal and so on), and basically at the end, the drug pushes until 100% of brain capacity is used. A very innovative plot, but in the form of a horrible movie.

At the end of the movie, I was speechless. Except, not in a good way. Okay at the end of it, her brain uses 100% of its capacity, therefore what? She dissolves into space and her cells could control and see everything. Basically, she becomes God. I can't seem to comprehend how exactly that happens, but I guess it's just because I'm not a neurosurgeon and I don't fully understand the biological ways of human cells and metabolisms. But truthfully, it's not a very wise decision to make a movie that has such a complicated concept, you know?

The action is okay, but not really good. There's a lot of beating and guns, but that's basically it. Scarlett and Morgan did their job well, but with two very strong characters like them, and a storyline that is just meant to become a blockbuster, this movie failed to excel. I couldn't really point my finger on what's actually so disappointing about this film, but I really thought that it would be such an astounding production that I would want to watch over and over again with my friends. But in the end, I felt like once was more than enough.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy


Marvel's done it again! Guardians of the Galaxy, aka (as I see it) the-movie-that-they-wanted-to-release-to-just-kind-of-give-the-fans-something-so-that-they-don't-get-too-bored-waiting-for-the-other-Marvel-film-which-is-Avengers-2-aka-the-actual-movie-we-want-to-see.

I actually pretty much enjoyed the movie. It was creative, and a very good production. The animations weren't as astounding as what you would expect from Marvel, but I guess intergalactically, they portrayed it really well. I liked the movie, the characters were great and showed fascinating development (each of them) so I guess that's very special. They each have very distinct personalities so I think that this little team does kind of reflect the Avengers, except this time it's a little more Outer Space than it is New York City.

Quite frankly, on Marvel standards, I did feel like this movie was a bit too nerd convention. I adored it, and I found it hilarious, but the storyline was quite vague and it wasn't really the superhero go-to blockbuster you would expect. We didn't get enough backstory on the characters (not even the main character), and also, it felt a liiiiittle too Star Wars for me. But overall, 7.5 out of 10!

9. The Fault in Our Stars


I read The Fault in Our Stars novel by John Green a very long time ago. My cousin recommended it for me and so I read it and immediately fell in love. The book wasn't very popular back then, so I didn't put much thought into it. Although, I did find it very beautifully-written. It was emotional, beautiful, and romantic (perfect recipe to create the best, heartfelt novel for teen girls around the world, right?) Basically, I adored the creative aspects of how John Green created this book. The characters, storyline, settings, and everything was so in sync and it became one of the best novels I've ever read, and surely it's easily one of John's greatest works (besides Looking for Alaska).

In the standards of a novel-based movie, this one clearly was pretty satisfying to watch. I liked that the producers of this film put John right in the middle of the production itself, and I think that's why the film turned out to be so great. It's because no part of his vision is lost. John even made a cameo in the movie and that was purely brilliant of course. All the details went into the film, even the orange tulips and basketball jersey and just about everything else. Even the Literal Heart of Jesus.

I think there are, of course, some parts missing from the book that I kind of noticed here or there, but overall it was a beautiful film. I liked that they even infused John's beautiful writing style into the movie itself, even with the dialogues. It isn't surprising, therefore, to see all these movie-goers saying how odd it is that Hazel and Augustus talked like old people with a thing for ancient literature. I think this actually makes the movie a little more special than the others.

Isaac and Augustus were both very well-played roles in the film. Nat and Ansel seriously stepped up their game and I think they perfectly brought life into these characters. Remember the trophy scene? That, was quite impressive. However, do I think that Shailene is the best actress to play Hazel? Not exactly. I totally understand that she is beautiful and they will need a popular, pretty, and young actress to play our dear Hazel, and I'm not able to think of anyone who should've played this role, but I felt that she was just not quite what I was hoping (especially how it's the same lead actress in yet another movie aka Divergent) In the movie, Hazel sounded like a total downer (constantly talking about death and being depressed) In fact, I didn't feel like it was the same Hazel from the books. Although, I do have to give her a little credit because she performed very nicely in the scene where she finds out about Gus.

But aside from all of it, I loved how the movie turned out, and it couldn't have gone any better. I cried (maybe 3 times) during watching this movie, so the producers really did good! Very happy for John's hard work paying off into this astounding movie, and hopefully (even though I highly doubt it) they make a good movie out of Paper Towns as well, which is at work.

10. The Giver


A lot of things could be said about this movie, but about 90% of those things aren't quite good things. Okay, I didn't actually read the book so I apologize if you have read it and disagree on a few things.

But okay, I'll be totally brief, but I did not like this movie at all. I found it boring, and bland, and even though I didn't read the book, I know for sure that this movie probably didn't do any justice. I felt like it must be a really good book, looking at the plot and whatnot, but the movie went into such a strange approach towards it. I think this movie could have been very impressive, but the producers really went wrong. Like they just, you know, settled.

 The few things that got me excited was how creative the story's setting was (but that goes to the author, not the producers), Brenton Thwaites (because wow he is one attractive face), and Taylor Swift (because Taylor Swift). I think the whole concept of the book is very innovative and intriguing, if only it didn't show the "our-world-in-the-future-overrun-by-psychotic-government-laws-who-are-keeping-a-lot-of-things-from-us-as-well-as-creating-a-brand-new-system-which-everyone-mysteriously-agrees-to" aspect (like, oh I don't know, Hunger Games? Divergent? Everything?) It is a beautiful plot, but the movie was just put out in a slightly bad timing. 

I enjoyed this movie mildly, because I really liked the idea of these adventures and stories put together, as well as the nicely developed characters. Also, the part with the black and white, fused with colour and whatnot? That was cool. Although, I still felt like it was very disappointing. Especially the ending??!! Yes that is a pretty cool house and you have the baby and all but THEN WHAT? *cough* Yeah.

11. The Theory of Everything



Last movie, guys! *phew*

Alright, I watched this movie a while ago, and basically, if the title seems a little vague to you, that's because it is. The movie actually shows the life of the well-known genius in the world of physics named Stephen Hawking. It starts from his youth (the times when he was still working his way through one of the best universities ever, already being a total genius that his professor loves and his friends despise), and goes all the way to him meeting Jane Wilde (beautiful lady), and long story short, they get married and have kids, and Stephen gets more and more paralysed.

The thing that really impressed me about this movie was obviously Eddie Redmayne's performance in the film. It was absolutely outstanding. This might sound odd, but it seemed like he mastered entirely the art of acting paralysed. In an interview, he mentioned that he had to go to several coaches and dancers and even neurosurgeons, and spent so much of his time studying about this disease, just so he could give his best. I admired Eddie in Les Miserables, but this movie should be the peak of his career. He deserves every possible award for this role, and I mean it. I couldn't imagine how exhausting it must have been. But from the actual physical resemblance, to the behaviour and the flawless body language? Brilliant!

I really liked this movie. I don't have a lot to say about Stephen Hawking, but the producers of this movie really have outdone themselves. The storyline was portrayed beautifully, and the characters could not have been better. The settings were gorgeous too, of course, because it is Europe. But wow, I admired this movie a lot. I might just give it a 10! Totally recommending this for you guys!

So that's all for my movie reviews! These are just 11 movies that came out in 2014 that I felt like I should do a review on. Unfortunately, as much as I am interested in watching "Into the Woods", it hasn't come out in my country yet. Sad face. It's probably a little late because we are 12 days into 2015 already, and this is basically a 2014 movie recap, but the reviews obviously took a lot of time because there's a lot to say and a lot of movies too.

Anyway, I hope you guys enjoyed this! Let me know what you think about these reviews in the comments below. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Have you watched these films listed above? Tell me all about it in the comments below, and I'd love to hear about what you think!

Thank you guys for being so patient, and please don't forget to follow me on my Twitter page! Wishing you a beautiful week ahead!




11 comments :

  1. Great review! Personally, I loved "Mockingjay Part 1" and "The Fault In Our Stars" :)

    Monika
    https://365affairs.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't usually watch films but now I really want to watch Maleficent! It looks like an amazing film and Angelina Jolie is a great actress. I read The Fault In Our Stars and I haven't got around to watching the movie. The book was really good so I'll definitely watch the film :) Great reviews. xx

    Beyond the Velvet | Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blog

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved Maleficent! Angelina Jolie was so good! Finally a strong, complex female character in a Disney Film.
    www.aveclui.com - KL

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wanted to watch Maleficent before your review and now I want even more. Great post Joanne!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Congrats on being nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award! You can view your nomination here: http://thekitchenrevival.com/2015/01/12/fishtacobowlsandonelovelyblogaward/

    ReplyDelete
  6. omg!! this is gonna be a great list for a movie marathon!!! i still wanna see theory of everything!!!

    Animated Confessions

    ReplyDelete
  7. wow, from your selection I'm quite behind since I've only seen Maleficent (and loved it!)

    xXx
    Blog: http://unspeakablethoughtsunspoken.blogspot.com
    Shop: http://unspeakablethoughtsunspoken.tictail.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I so want to see The Theory Of Everything.. and The Giver sounds amazing as well!

    WritingMonique

    ReplyDelete
  9. fun movie review. I still need to see The Theory of Everything. I def fell behind on my movie watching this year! I have better years than others sometimes. hehe
    xo,
    nancy

    http://www.adoretoadorn.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really want to watch the theroy of everything. I have to agree with Maleficent- it was a really great movie!

    ReplyDelete