Average User Score: 8.6Jun 16, 2014For starters, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” has a very mature and rich story that is filled with emotional and dramatic depth. It grows our characters from the first film and really feels like a continuation of the series and not just some cash grab. We see how Berk has changed and how the lives of everyone on the island has become better, I really love how the film tackles darker subject matter like remorse, forgiveness, and redemption, while at the same time touching on themes of love and loss. The screenplay is filled with moments of pure heart and we really see the bond between Hiccup and Toothless expanded upon. Not only is this a great screenplay, but also Dreamworks’ best since the original “Shrek.”
The characters and voice actors are perfect. I love how the characters have grown and their personalities have been enhanced. Hiccup takes a more proactive role in this film and we really see that he’s matured a lot from the first film. His and Toothless’ relationship is expanded on and it really is still the core emotional center of the film. The side characters like Astrid and Snotlout get more screen time this time around and they actually do more with the film. They aid with the comic relief to keep the movie a little lighter than the extremely dark tone that it’s going for. There are a few new characters introduced into the universe like Valka, Eret, and Drago Bludvist. Valka is a great character and she’s another great female addition to the roster. She has a great emotional ark and not only that, she is a strong character and a better dragon master than Hiccup that really holds her own. Eret is a nice addition to the cast as he is also comic relief, but also a interest side villain character. Drago is a fantastic villain and is really a cold hearted murderer. His method of mastering dragons really differs from Hiccups and its a great contrast that shows the different types of people that are in this world. I love how they build him up before actually revealing him.
The animation and visuals are probably amongst the best I’ve seen from any CGI film to date. It is just breathtakingly gorgeous. The character’s movements are so fluid and each character has their own way of moving. What I found really impressive is the facial animation. There are so many intimate moments in this film that require no dialogue and we can sense exactly what the characters are thinking from their expressions. There is always something happening in the foreground as well as the background and it’s unlike anything that I’ve seen before in the medium. Characters could be taking in front of the camera, but in the background there could be an epic battle taking place. There is a lot to take in, but the director, Dean DeBlois, knows how to balance the visuals with well paced story. The layout and environment are also quite impressive. Every blade of grass, powder of snow, and water particles are just amazing to look at.
The score from John Powell impresses again and really enhances the already great score of the series. It’s bombastic, epic, touching, and moving. There is something about the score that really makes the film so much better than it already is. I was literally left in tears because of the score and how beautiful it is.
I’m gonna come out and say it. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is a MASTERPIECE amongst modern films and a revolution in animation. It is a film that is going to push animation further and allow the medium to be taken more seriously. For a major studio production, it goes to places that the medium has only thought of, but couldn’t really pull it off because of limitations set by studios and audiences alike. It is almost a near perfect film and I award it the highest 5/5 that I can.… Expand
Average User Score: 7.1Jun 10, 2014"The Fault In Our Stars" is an incredible ride of emotion from start to finish. It’s a touching love story that really pulls on the heartstrings and manages to make prolific statements on life and what we as humans should do with such an amazing gift. That we are not bound by the life we are given and we can do whatever we want so as long as we don’t let our circumstances bind us.
I am really impressed by this films script and how thought provoking and heartfelt it is. The relationship and the genuine emotions are so well written that not for a second I don’t believe what they are saying or feeling towards one another. I also enjoy how it doesn’t take a strong sentimental or sappy approach on the subject matter, as these characters are really sick and it could have come off as trying way too hard or manipulative. The script instead focuses on celebrating life as apposed to the darker side of death.
The director, Josh Boone, does a good job with handling everything that is going on and directs the cast well, as they are the strongest parts of the film. I really enjoy some of the stylistic approaches in the film, such as how they show the text messages. One small fault in his directing is that the film gets a bit conventional near the end and it manages to lose some of its magic. The soundtrack is well used and really drives the movie home. It’s filled with upbeat and fun songs that really makes the film feel like a celebration of life.
The cast is top class and they truly give some wonderful performances. Shailene Woodley gives a magical performance that conveys genuine happiness and heartbreaking sadness. She easily portrays so many emotions realistically and convincingly. Ansel Elgort plays Woodley’s love interest and if not done by such a good actor, he could have come off as annoying and in your face. His character is a bit loud and egotistic, but he is a nice guy and really loves everyone, who he encounters. Woodley’s and Elgort’s onscreen chemistry is incredibly good. I really bought their relationship and felt every pain that they felt. The actors are a true highlight of the film.
Overall, “The Fault In Our Stars” is a really good movie that is a fresh of breath air in this summer blockbuster season filled with high octane action and ridiculous special effect. It’s a emotional ride that does not force it’s message or manipulates its audience. It is a genuine movie that shows a brighter side of life and death. While the film does get conventional in it’s third act, it still ends on a high note. I give it an incredibly high 4/5… Expand
Average User Score: 8.5Jun 1, 2014From the very beginning, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” had me hooked. It tells an endearing story of the struggles of survival for these mutants as they are picked off one by one by the monstrous and vicious Sentinels. The X-Men have to work together with their past selves, in order to secure their future. It is a fun and highly well told story that pays of not only in the action, but also emotionally.
Bryan Singer is at his best as he directs a large cast of mutants through an emotionally endearing story that will leave viewers in awe of what is happening and what is to come for the franchise. I really appreciated a lot of the stylized directing, it really made the film that much more fun. The visuals are used impressively and the action sequences are directed incredibly well. I was literally at the edge of my seat every time the characters were in combat as I literally felt that they might lose their lives. The script is packed with great character moments and we get to learn a lot more about our favorite mutants. The time traveling is handled incredibly well and as long as you don’t try to break it down, it is satisfyingly well handled.
The cast is great and they really own their characters. Fassbender and McAvoy are great replacements as Magneto and Professor Xavier, respectively. They provide great emotional performances as well give us some great character moments. Jennifer Lawrence has come a long way from her first performance as the blue shape shifting femme fetal, Mystique. She finally fits the role perfectly as she is sleek, sexy, and highly unpredictable. And as always, Hugh Jackman is just spot on as Wolverine.
Overall, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is a the quintessential summer blockbuster this year. It has everything from amazing action, thought provoking and emotionally satisfying story that delivers on all cylinders, and a great cast of talented actors. This not only is the best movie of the year so far, it is also the best X-Men movie yet and personally it’s in my top 3 favorite comic book movies of all time list. I give it a incredibly high 4.5/5.… Expand
Average User Score: 6.4Jun 1, 2014"Neighbors" is a funny, entertaining and surprisingly thoughtful film. It’s about old vs. new generations going at it, but at its core, it’s a film that’s about learning when to grow up and take responsibility. The script is infused with hilarious jokes, ridiculous pranks and situations, and intelligent pop-culture references that bridge generations. The story itself is quite enjoyable, even though at times the movie can feel a bit unfocused.
The characters are colorful and likeable and the actors give some great comedic performances. Seth Rogan is hilarious and provides most of the laughs. His shameless attitude really allows for some awesome and gut wrenchingly funny moments. Zac Effron proves yet again that he is a born star, who will be one of the biggest stars in the near future. His comedic timing is impeccable and he is just so great to watch. Dave Franco is also no short of awesome as well as the rest of the cast.
Overall, “Neighbors” is a really hilarious film that is not short on laughs and also some valuable life lessons. It has a fun soundtrack and the direction, especially for the party scene are well done. Probably the best comedy of the year and really worth checking out. I give it 4/5… Expand
Average User Score: 6.1Apr 30, 2014I’m not a huge fan of the first “Rio,” as I think it is a very straight forward movie with little to offer. It’s fun and all, but lacking in emotional punches.
“Rio 2” on the other hand is a far stronger movie than the original. It’s cast is superior and well balanced, the story has a few nicely done emotional sequences, and the animation is gorgeous. While I find the songs weaker than the highs of the first film, they are more consistent in terms of quality. The real highlight of the film is its script, which I think is Blue Sky’s first or second best script to date. It is well balanced with a fish out of water story, a well handled environmental message that isn’t being shoved down our throats, and well rounded humor.
Overall, it’s a fun experience with gorgeous animation. The first third of the film is a bit conventional and rather boring, but the second they get into the Amazon, the film really takes flight and gets better as it progresses. 3.5/5… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Apr 9, 2014"Captain America:The Winter Soldier" is a really good movie that is leagues better than the initial first film, which I was not a fan of. This new story of The Cap is brought into the modern world and it’s fun seeing him deal with how much the world has changed, but at the same time how much it has stayed the same. The script is well written. It is filled with great relevant social commentary about our government and major organizations and how they preserve freedom by reistricting it. However, while the script is fairly heavy, it does manage to have enough fun Marvel humor that we’ve all come to love.
One thing in particular that I love about this movie is that it gives a lot of respect to its characters. The Captain himself is show to be more than just a leader. He can hold his own, but is also a great human being. Chris Evans has finally owned the character and it’s hard seeing anyone else play him. We also get more backstory to Natasha a.k.a Black Widow. It allows the audience to connect with her on an emotional level. Same goes for Nick Fury. The Winter Soldier is a pretty awesome villain, who I believe to be the best villain from the Marvel Cinematic universe only behind Loki.
Overall, “Captain America:The Winter Soldier” is a fairly entertaining and surprisingly thought provoking movie that is stepping up the quality of the modern superhero movie genre. It has everything from great characters, to an engaging and honest story, to some of the best action we’ll get this year. My only gripe with the film would be the heavy use of shaky cam during the action sequences. Other than that, it is a a movie that you go and see in theaters today. Also, stay after the credits there is a big reveal that will surely get everyone excited for The Avengers 2. I give 4/5… Expand
Average User Score: 8.3Feb 8, 2014"The Lego Movie" is one of the most frantic movies I have ever seen, but also one of the most creative and funny. It is filled with charm, intelligent humor, and more importantly heart.
The writing is incredibly strong. There are a lot if play on words and unpredictable moments that really surprise the viewers. I love the themes about conformity and being special. It’s quit unique as it says that anyone can be special regardless of their creativity or need to be different.
The characters Vitruvious, Lucy, Batman, and Lord Business are all great. Their voice actors do a great job and they deliver their jokes perfectly. Emmet is the main character and probably the best because he is so relatable and a very atypical hero. There isn’t anything really special about him, but he’s a great every man and Chris Pratt brings the right amount of humanity and charm to the role.
The animation is beautiful and incredibly creative. There are a lot of great sight gags and visual effects. I really lije the stop motion look the movie achieves even though the first few minutes are jarring.
Overall, “Everything is Awesome” and this a beautifully crafted and intelligently written film that packs the right amount of humor and heart. The animation is great and incredibly creative. I really like this film and I highly recommend it. I give is 4.5/5… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Dec 30, 2013"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" is a celebration of life. It’s a feel good movie that not only inspires, but motivates its viewers to go out and live life to the fullest. Don’t let anyone, especially yourself, stop you from seeking adventure and making the best of this precious gift of being alive. It is a fun and heartwarming tale that is worth watching.
The story and screenplay don’t necessarily excel or surprise in the narrative department, but they provide a emotionally satisfying experience nonetheless. However, this film really shines from a directorial stand point. Ben Stiller does an excellent job of balancing the fantasy and real world moments in the film. I really felt like I was watching a person’s daydreams when Walter would zone out. It’s exciting and beautifully executed and when the character snaps back into reality, it is very much like me when I daydream.
The cast does a solid job, but nothing really stands out performance wise. Having said that, I find Walter to be an incredibly likeable character. He’s odd and a bit awkward, but he never feels hopeless so we can always root for him when things don’t go as planned. And Ben Stiller’s natural charisma adds to the character’s likability.
Overall “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is an enjoyable feel good movie that will warm your heart and make you appreciate life. The film doesn’t excel in any one particular area of film making, but it does hit you were it counts. Accompanied by a great soundtrack/score, this is a movie that is worth watching and you’ll come out of it with a new found appreciation for life. I give it 4/5… Expand
Average User Score: 8.0Dec 28, 2013"The Wolf of Wall Street" is infectiously entertaining. It is probably the funniest movie I have seen all year with witty dialogue, over the top characters, and filled with energy that bleeds off the screen. Between all the fun however, there is also a story about addiction and how it can cause a downward spiral in your life whether it be drugs, money, or power.
Acclaimed director Martin Scorsese does a wonderful job keeping this movie at a high at all times. Never once does this movie lose it’s energy or sense of humor much like the drug induced characters. There are a lot of quick cuts and edits to keep the movie feeling as If you are on drugs as well as playing high energy music in some of the more serious situations.
The cast brings their “A” game. The stand out is obviously Leonardo DiCaprio, who pretty much owns and excels any scene he is in. This film really showcases his diverse range.
Overall “The Wolf of Wall Street” is a full on adrenaline ride that never loses momentum. It’s directed with a lot of flair and energy and has an incredibly well written script that gives it depth and a ton of laughs. The cast is fantastic and DiCaprio gives his best and most fun filled performance to date. I really enjoyed this movie and think it’s the funniest movie of the year 4.5/5… Expand
Average User Score: 7.7Dec 25, 2013"Saving Mr. Banks" is easily one of the best movies to come out this year. It tells the tale behind the making of Disney’s beloved classic "Mary Poppins," but it is so much more than just a typical ‘making of a movie’ movie. While many of these types of films aren’t as good as the movie they are about, this one is different. It feels like a companion piece to the beloved classic. It allows us to appreciate the trials and tribulations Disney had to go through to make his magnum opus. However, it is also more about P.L. Traverse and why she loves her character so much and why Mary Poppins holds such a special place in her heart.
Director John Lee does a great job of making this film something truly special. He balances witty humor with emotional depth, but does so without being too sappy or melodramatic. The film is also well written by being more personal than just being a movie about making a movie. The themes of letting and moving on are handled well and really becomes relatable to anyone watching.
The performances are top-notch. Tom Hanks makes a pretty good Disney and he isn’t sugar coated either. The real standouts are Emma Thompson and Colin Farrell. They give strong dimensional performances that makes us truly care and sympathies with the characters.
Overall “Saving Mr. Banks” is a truly great and beautifully told film. Its individual parts may not be the years best, but as a complete film it is the whole package. It’s a movie that exemplifies why we go to the movies and what Disney stands for as an entertainment corporation. It is a movie that is equal parts heartfelt, witty, charming, entertaining, and emotionally satisfying. I give it 5/5… Expand