Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mini Movie Reviews - November 2013 Edition

A lot of great movies came out during the summer time and I was fortunate to see a good number of them. There were also a good number of films I didn't get the chance to watch so I'm fortunate enough to now have time to watch them on Blu-ray so the following are reviews of movies that I've recently watched.  Enjoy.

World War Z
Brad Pitt is wielding a shotgun and looking rather ruggedly handsome with his flowing locks as he fights against a zombie infestation that is spreading rapidly.  While it doesn't have the same doomsday sense of dread as Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, there is a lot of frantic action scenes in the beginning and slow burn suspense towards the end that works surprisingly well in keeping you entertained.  You may not relate with any of the characters (I mean seriously, do any of the UN investigators look as gorgeous as Brad Pitt, flowing locks and all?) but it's a fun take on the zombie apocalypse.
Verdict:  stimulating enough to make your brain more enticing for zombies

Monsters University
Like Temple of Doom before Raiders, like Phantom Menace before Star Wars, you have Monsters University, which serves as a prequel to the events that transpire in Monsters Inc. Here, we see the beginnings of the deep friendship between Mike and Sully during their early years at MU. Like most prequels, it has the extra burden of tying both films together.  Some do it better than others and luckily, MU does a fine job of making the connections make sense while maintaining continuity between the two movies.  But, like some of the sequels that we've seen this summer, it's a capable adventure comedy with characters that we've grown to love from the original but lacks the same amount of heart as the original.

There are certainly lots of Animal House antics and while the second act falls into a generic storyline that eventually reaches a generic climax, you think the movie is over only to find out there is an intriguing third act that adds much to the storyline. What's interesting is that, while I liked the action packed, jaw dropping climax of Monsters Inc., Monsters University goes in the opposite direction and provides a more intimate climax but one where the pay off is almost as good as the original ... almost.
Verdict:  no Boo but more foo-lishness and fun.  May not be the best of what Pixar has to offer but even so-so Pixar is much better than the best of what's out there

Pitch Perfect
Look at the success of American Idol in the past years and Glee in recent years and you'll see how songs are repackaged into something that's easily recognizable but somewhat skewed in such a way that it's not easily dismissible.  It grabs your attention, makes you want more and feel somewhat nostalgic for the original at the same time.  It's an intoxicating mix.  Now add acapella (a difficult feat in itself since you don't have a prearranged track to use as a crutch) and you have Pitch Perfect.

I wasn't really buying Anna Kendrick as a loner-square peg that doesn't want to fit in with the rest of the girls at her college but as her character goes from self-imposed outcast to reluctant leader/hero, she grew on me. The movie really gets into gear when you see the Beca character take charge, trying to pull her group away from being gauzy acapella choir girls to cutting edge acapella singers.  The scene where they sing the Bruno Mars - Nelly remix is inspired.

There are a lot of times where the movie is absurd, coarse and clich├ęd but hey, Pitch Perfect ultimately wins with some standout singing sets that confidently carries a tune.  
Verdict:  it may not reach the same level of coolness as The Breakfast Club but it will make you not want to forget about this movie.

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