Lion: A Minute Review

If Lion taught me anything, is that I underestimated the impact of honesty and rawness in a film.

Of course, there are many great dramas in the realm of cinema. But an overbearing Hollywood sensationalism of these films can often take the authenticity away. Lion, however, is grounded in reality. The film is directed in such a way that makes every moment on screen feel relevant and real. The performances in Lion are completely engaging, with Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman both delivering award-worthiness. Patel exhibits a fantastic blend of normality and despair, whereas Kidman portray a mother feeling disconnected from her kids with brutal honesty. The supporting performances also help strengthen the emotional impact that Lion has. It is a necessity to praise Sunny Pawar, who portrays the child Saroo, for almost single-handedly carrying the first act of this film.

Whilst the direction and amazing performances boost the story, it’s incredibly strong on its own. Simply, Lion is emotional and tear-jerking. Because of the choice to direct this film in a grounded manner, there’s no detraction or distraction from the rawness of the narrative. And, despite its simplicity, the cinematography is stunning. The choice of wide angles to capture the Indian and Australian landscapes brings a sense of joy and hope into the film, which in itself has themes of both despair AND hope.

What else needs to be said, except for the fact that there is a dryness in Hollywood and the film industry for films like Lion? When a film is crafted in honesty and rawness, that’s when it touches hearts the most.

Rating: 4.5/5.

If this style of review tingled you in a positive way, share it with those you love dear. If you don’t love anyone, share it anyway. And stay tuned for more to-the-point reviews. Deuces.

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Monster Trucks: A Minute Review.

I was immensely excited to see Monster Trucks. I was waiting in sweat-inducing anticipation…so I could tear it a new one. Funnily enough, Monster Trucks isn’t THAT bad.

As long as you switch your brain off for two hours, you can bear the experience of Monster Trucks. I found myself slightly excited and fuzzy when the monster truck action sequences took place. Don’t get me wrong, they are indeed ludicrous and mind-blowingly silly. But there is definitely a competent direction behind them. There’s also a sprinkle of chuckle-worthy jokes. Looking at this film, it’s easy to identify that it at least has a little slice of charm and wit.

However, Monster Trucks commits the sin that’s present in family action films these days. The writing often reverts to conveniences and laziness. Random character motives and certain objects are forced into the script to keep the story moving. It truly is eye-rolling. In the first act of Monster Trucks, the love interest is written terribly. She pursues Lucas Till’s character relentlessly and affectionately, even though he kinda treats her like a dick. It made the character feel fake, but luckily she evolves. And considering Monster Trucks is a film about ALIEN CREATURES DRIVING MONSTER TRUCKS, many of the characters show the slightest of shock at discovering these creatures. I also held a personal ‘In Memoriam’ for the people who quite possibly died in this film, but of course brushed aside and completely forgotten about.

But don’t get me wrong, Monster Trucks is a reasonably decent family film. If you take your kids to see Monster Trucks, you won’t hate yourself for doing so.

Rating: 2.5/5.

If this style of review tingled you in a positive way, share it with those you love dear. If you don’t love anyone, share it anyway. And stay tuned for more to-the-point reviews. Deuces.

Ballerina: A Minute Review.

Yes. I am an adult man. Yes, I went to see Ballerina in theaters. Why do I do this to myself?

In the latest addition to the array of brainless ‘family’ films, Ballerina shows that the days of classic animation are numbered. I’ll give it credit where credit is due. The film does feature enthusiastic voice performances. I was pleasantly surprised with the effort that this cast placed in this film. This is an ultimate pity, because the surrounding film is nonsense.

The majority of the characters in Ballerina have immensely unlikable traits. They’re either dopey, bitchy, over-exaggerated or weak. With fantastic characters in films such as The Lion King and Wall-E, it proves that character connection is just as important in animation, which this films lacks completely. Ballerina is also riddled with every modern animated trope. Its predictability knows no bounds. With so much room for potential imagination, Ballerina throws it all out the window, and instead replaces it with the cringiest melodrama imaginable. Aside from the main story featuring the whole ‘ballerina dream prospect’ thingy, you have so many convoluted side narratives that lead for a crappy, bloated experience.

There’s a certain ‘caretaker’ character in Ballerina that felt like they actually had a tragic backstory. I would have much rather seen this story played out on screen, as opposed to a boring film that feels much too long and is designed to insult the intelligence of kids. Parents, I IMPLORE you. Show your children Toy Story 2, and they’ll grow up to be much more intelligent, less spoiled and more creative.

Rating: 1/5.

If this style of review tingled you in a positive way, share it with those you love dear. If you don’t love anyone, share it anyway. And stay tuned for more to-the-point reviews. Deuces.

Adventureland: A Vintage Review

Sometimes, when you want to invest yourself in a film, you don’t require orchestral scores, heavy plot lines and the ‘one tear’. In some cases, a down to Earth film gives you the fuzzies, and that’s exactly what Adventureland accomplished for me.

The main stars in the film, whether it was Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Ryan Reynolds or Martin Starr, blew me away. They give grounded, honest and believable performances, and that’s really what the main driving quality behind Adventureland is. Whenever these main characters emote, it doesn’t feel Hollywood-ized in the slightest. Their actions seem justified and true to the story that was presented. How these characters fall into certain positions, or how they undergo a problem a certain way, this all makes for great relatability with the audience. And of course, for a film set in the 80s, who can’t love the supporting soundtrack?

If anything does detract from this film, it is the surrounding characters. You sense certain archetypes that do in fact feel real and true, but often times they are over-exaggerated to the point where the film loses its believability. An example of this is Bill Hader’s theme park manager character. It’s still quite entertaining to watch, but unfortunately does slightly contradict what makes the film feel so special.

Nevertheless, Adventureland is one of those under-the-radar films for me that I can see myself recommending highly to my friends in the future. There’s something so joyful about sharing a film with others in which the character’s personalities parallel their own.

Rating: 4.5/5.

If this style of review tingled you in a positive way, share it with those you love dear. If you don’t love anyone, share it anyway. And stay tuned for more to-the-point reviews. Deuces.

Assassin’s Creed: A Minute Review

Assassin’s Creed was one of my very first games. And then Assassin’s Creed 2 came around, a game that elevated the action genre to a whole new level. It’s a shame to say that none of the excitement that is a staple in these games is found in the Assassin’s Creed film. I’ll give the film credit; the stunts are very well choreographed and do add a little adrenaline into scenes that require any sense of life. However, the story around this impressive feature is not cohesive in the slightest.

The script manages to perform the task of trying to be overly ambiguous, and yet lazy at the same time. Its most unfortunate feature is its dialogue. It lacks charisma and timing, leading to many interactions between characters that had the audience unintentionally giggling. With Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons making up a great cast, they are forced to churn out bland delivery, with often times laughable performances. Not to say it’s their fault. The script truly brings Assassin’s Creed down. For instance, the soul of the games was the sequences which were set in the past. But for a strange reason, this aspect makes up a defining minority of the film’s story. The Spanish Inquisition should be a driving force in the movie, and NOT support what is three quarters of this film: an oddly-paced and boring Abstergo plotline.

Assassin’s Creed lacks a tightened script and manages to both lack fan service and try too hard. For this, you can take a Leap of Faith and avoid another misstep in the video game adaptation realm.

Rating: 1.5/5.

If this style of review tingled you in a positive way, share it with those you love dear. If you don’t love anyone, share it anyway. And stay tuned for more to-the-point reviews. Deuces.