17 August 2013

Kick Ass 2 (2013)

          Essential plot rundown:  Chris D'Amico seeks revenge for what happened to his father while Kick-Ass and Hit Girl try to balance being a superhero with their daily lives.  I really liked the first one, so obviously I had to see the sequel.

          This was a great film.  I was pretty much pleased with most everything. However, I have only seen Kick-Ass once, so I can't really compare the films in their style, seeing as they are directed by two different people.  There seemed to be some disconnects between the two films.  But, that could just be because I'm remembering the first one wrong.  And Todd, who is in the first film, is played by another actor here.  So, that threw me off.

          I thought all of the characters were interesting.  I liked the group that Kick-Ass joins with.  I thought they all gave solid performances.  And their reasons for wanting to fight crime made them all realistic and relatable.  But, by far the best was Col. Stars and Stripes, played by an almost unrecognizable Jim Carrey.  I really liked his character and what he was doing and wanted to get to know him more.  While he does have a decent amount of screen time, it wasn't enough.  I wanted to see more of him.  I was surprised to also like John Leguizamo's character.  I wasn't expecting much from him.  Though, in all fairness, I only know him from Super Mario Bros, Spawn and the trailer for The Pest.  Basically, I liked all of the characters.

          As far as the plot goes, it is good.  It was intriguing to see how both Kick-Ass and Hit Girl try to deal with being superheroes.  The only problem I had was when Hit Girl makes a promise to Marcus and then devotedly follows it.  It is in complete violation of a promise she had previously made to her father, Big Daddy.  And when Kick Ass confronts her about this decision, she says that she never breaks an oath.  But you just did by making that one to Marcus.  It seemed off to me.

          There were really only two other things that bothered me.  One was a scene where these people begin projectile vomiting and pooping themselves.  It was too over-the-top and comical; it felt out of place in the movie and didn't really add anything.  The other thing was that at the end of a very dramatic scene, someone would say something funny/stupid and would totally ruin the mood.  This happened a couple of times and was annoying.

          But the best part of Kick-Ass 2 was the emotions it evoked; and it was able to do that because of the compelling plot and relatable characters.  I cried multiple times throughout the movie.  Sometimes I could feel the passion the characters had in what they were doing and found it very motivational; and it moved me to tears.  Other times I was just afraid that someone would die or they did die that I cried because I was sad.  For me, one of the signs of a great film is its ability to elicit emotion in the audience, whether it be happiness, fear, apprehension or sorrow.  If I'm feeling something, the movie is doing it's job.  (Though, not all great films have to do this).  And Kick-Ass 2 was able to make me cry.  So props to the filmmakers.

          So, overall, Kick-Ass 2 was a great film.  I want to go see it again, now. It had relatable/likable characters with a persuasive storyline.  It would be interesting to see if they make a third, but I think they could end perfectly with the second one.

     But that's just my opinion...

     *author's edit (19 August 2013)

          I've been thinking a lot about the movie ever since I saw it.  And my thoughts keep returning to a pair of scenes involving Kick-Ass and his did.  In the first scene they get in an argument.  And as I was watching it, I totally sided with Kick-Ass.  I agreed with his motives.  I understood and rooted for him.  However, a few things happen and they later confront each other again, finishing the argument.  But this time I totally sided with his dad; I sympathized with him.  His motives for doing what he did made sense.  As I watched this argument span these two scenes, I could see a little of myself and my dad in the characters (though, not nearly as extreme).  They were very relatable.  I loved these scenes; I found them effective and moving.  Whenever I thought about them, I kept getting choked up, which is why I wanted to write about them.  They were great story telling.

10 August 2013

Elysium (2013)

          Essential plot rundown:  A poor guy from earth must fight his way to the rich space station above to save his life.  This is from the same writer/director of District 9, which I thought was really good, so I had to go see it.  And I had nothing else going on today.

          I really liked Elysium.  However, I do have to say that it started off a little rocky, but was rolling smoothly by the time it was over.  The biggest problem for me was how some of the characters were introduced; it felt too rushed.  The audience is blatantly told that the villain is bad, instead of being shown he is bad.  And when Matt Damon's buddy is introduced, I just thought he was just some random guy.  But it turns out that he is kind of a big shot; I didn't get any of that when he was first introduced.  (And on a similar note, the story that the little girl tells Matt feels shoehorned in there and rushed.)

          But those were really they only complaints I had.  I thought Neill Blomkamp did a good job building worlds; this was a believable and realistic (as realistic as a futuristic sci-fi flick will be) environment.  I believed and felt for the poor living on desolated Earth and I believed that a space station exclusively for the rich existed.

          Speaking of believability, the SFX were amazing.  The spaceships look real, the robots looked like real characters.  Everything was seamlessly put together.  It all looked great.  (Interestingly enough, the director graduated from film school with an emphasis in animation and visual effects.)

          Actually, I did have another complaints: some of the accents.  I found Kruger's accent distracting (yes, I know he's from South Africa).  And I had a hard time understanding Spider at times.  So I was a little confused on occasion when I missed some expository dialogue.  However, I liked Jodie Foster's accents and felt it added a little to the character.

          Right before I wrote this, I was looking through the message boards on IMDB.  And most of them were political debates.  Yes, this movie does have a moral; but I when I saw it, I didn't see the 1% vs the 99% or Wall Street vs Main Street.  I saw it on a personal level.  And I personally liked it.  But there is much a heated debate on those message boards.

          Overall, I really liked it.  There were a few things that bothered me and a couple of plot-holes.  But it is entertaining and it does give you something to think about.  Also, Neill must like blowing people up because in Elysium and District 9 that happens a lot.

     But that's just my opinion...