VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW:o How I Live Now (2013)

Claire: 2.4/5 stars, 6/10.
Carolyn: 3/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.1/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

War sucks.
Purposefully living through it unnecessarily is stupid.
You’re stupid.

Lots of walking.
All for romance.
You’re still stupid.

Well. I thought I was liking this movie as I watched it, but in retrospect, I was just interested in what would happen next because I like end-to-end stories and never watch things in parts. Perhaps if I was the kind of person to turn a movie off mid-movie, I’d have turned this one off.

It kinda dragged on, and I lost interest somewhat–Although parts of it were exciting.

For the most part, it’s just a chance to see Saoirse Ronan with platinum blonde hair and emo-ish makeup, being a bitch, then not being a bitch.

I really didn’t like how her character changed from not wanting to be there at all–and being a bitch–to suddenly wanting to be there so much that she would do stupid fucking things like not leave a country in the middle of a fucking war. It was an almost instant transformation to retardation, and it was based on romance they barely showed or developed.

Was it because he nursed that bird back to life? Jesus fucking christ.

In the end, her personality is like Bella from Twilight: Taking ridiculous risks for a love that had yet to actually mature. At least Edward Cullen has the promise of eternal life and saving you from fucking werewolves and evil vampires and shit. What the fuck can some douchebag in the middle of a country at war do? Shortern your life? While you’re at it, why not date someone who causes you to get killed by werewolves? Stupid bitch. (I love you Saoirse!)

Carolyn’s thoughts: I agree they really glossed over her transformation from elusive bitch to “I will give up everything just to be here.” It was covered as a quick montage, which was just too rushed. Then it delves into the war stuff which just shows how much it sucks and without hope, what’s the use of going on?

Directed by Kevin Macdonald.

Written by Jeremy Brock, Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas), and Penelope Skinner.
Based on a book by Meg Rosoff.

Starring
Saoirse Ronan (Violet & Daisy, The Host, Hanna from Hanna, Byzantium, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty) as Daisy.
Tom Holland (The Secret World Of Arrietty) as Isaac.
George MacKay as Eddie.
Harley Bird as Piper.
Danny McEvoy as Joe.
Anna Chancellor (St. Trinian’s (2007), The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) as Aunt Penn.
Corey Johnson (X-Men: First Class, Kick-Ass, The Bourne Identity 2-3) as Consular Official.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1894476/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Violet & Daisy (2011)

Claire: 3.6/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Carolyn: 3.6/5 stars, 7.4/10.
Native ratings: 6.2/10 IMDB. Doesn’t seem to be on Netflix.

This was interesting and somewhat quirky black comedy about a pair of female underage BFF assassins. However, one is very alpha, while the other (Saoirse Ronan) sort of follows along. There are interesting dynamics between them, and things only get more interesting when they are awarded what turns out to be the most challenging hit of their careers. And not at all for the reasons you would think. Not at all.

It wasn’t that action-packed, but then again, it wasn’t an action movie. It kind of meandered a bit with the cryptic dream sequences, but for once, such an endeavor did not detract from the story. They were short, they were over, and they could be ignored if you chose to.

Watch this for one of James Gandolfini’s last performances before his death. He’s quite a different character from Tony Soprano here.  But also watch this if you are a Saoirse (“Seer-sha”) Ronan fan. That girl keeps growing on us. She’s only 19-20 and we’ve already seen 5 of her movies now.

This has a sort of indie feel to it, in that the plot isn’t as realistic, and the ending/meaning is slightly pretentious. I’m okay with that. We were entertained, and it was interesting, as well as having a lot of laughs. It earns the “comedy” in “action-comedy-crime-drama-thriller”, and comedy deserves to be the 2nd genre mentioned there. Though the comedy does thin out a bit near the end.

Written & directed by Geoffrey Fletcher.

Saoirse Ronan (The Host, Hanna, Byzantium, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty) as Daisy.
Alexis Bledel (Gilmore Girls) as Violet.
Danny Trejo (Breaking Bad, Predators, Harold & Kumar 3, The Haunted World Of El Superbeasto, Eyeborgs, Fanboys, Smiley Face, The Devil’s Rejects, Anchorman,Trojan War, Enrique on King Of The Hill, Machete in Spy Kids 1-3) as Russ. He gets around!
Marianne Jean-Baptiste (The Cell) as Iris.
James Gandolfini (Tony Soprano in The Sopranos, Where The Wild Things Are, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Get Shorty) as Michael.
John Ventimiglia (Artie Bucco in The Sopranos) as Man #1. Claire recognized him immediately from Sopranos.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1634136/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: Byzantium (2012)

Claire: 3/5 stars, 6.6/10.
Carolyn: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Native ratings: 3.2/5 stars Netflix, 6.5/10 IMDB.

Claire’s thoughts: A “vampire movie”, but the vampirism was less overt than in most vampire movies.  I’m kinda disappointed, actually. Like, they didn’t really fully explore the idea of what would happen if people believed her. I felt like the movie built up a lot, without having a payoff worthy of the build-up.  While the flashback scenes did help demonstrate how the past shaped the present, for the most part it was a lot of screen time away from the “now” plot. I think they should have just done the past at the beginning of the movie and been more straightforward. The repeated-flashbacks gimmick just didn’t pay off for me, and really detracted from the whole movie.

Still interesting. And Saoirse Ronan is great, and getting greater. But ultimately this was a very calm and slow vampire movie. Not my favorite pace.

Carolyn’s thoughts:  This seemed like a generic vampire movie that didn’t have that much going for it, and it was somewhat predictable.  It became ever so slightly more interesting near the end when there was a bit more action, but then it petered out again and was just like “Yep.”

Directed by Neil Jordan (Interview With The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, The Crying Game).
Written by Moira Buffini.

Starring Saoirse Ronan (The Host, Hanna from Hanna, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty, Violet & Daisy) as Eleanor.
Gemma Arterton (Prince Of Persia: The Sands Of Time, St. Trinian’s, The Boat That Rocked, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) as Clara.
Caleb Landry Jones (Antiviral, Banshee in X-Men: First Class, boy on bike in No Country For Old Men, fraternity guy in The Social Network, 2 eps of Breaking Bad) as Frank.
Daniel Mays (Mr. Nobody) as Noel, the hotel owner.
Barry Cassin (The Count Of Monte Cristo) as Robert Fowlds.
Sam Riley as Darvell.
Warren Brown (The Dark Knight Rises, Dead Set) as Gareth.
Thure Lindhardt (Angels & Demons) as Werner.
Uri Gavriel (The Dark Knight Rises) as Savella.
Jonny Lee Miller (Dark Shadows, Aeon Flux, 8 eps of Dexter) as Ruthven.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1531901/combined

VIDEO: MOVIES: REVIEW: The Host (2013)

Clio: 4.6/5 stars, 8.6/10.
Carolyn: 5/5 stars, 9/10.
Jesse: 3.4/5 stars, 7/10.
Evan: 4.1/5 stars, 8/10.
Native ratings: 3.7/5 stars Netflix, /10 IMDB.

Written & directed by Andrew Niccol, which had me hyped up to see the movie! We’ve seen every movie he’s directed (Gattaca, Lord Of War, In Time, S1m0ne), and also half the movies he wrote-but-didn’t-direct (The Truman Show, but not The Terminal). It is all excellent stuff, though we enjoyed some (In Time) more than others (Lord Of War, S1m0ne).

This movie, strangely, is based on a novel by Stephenie Meyer, the woman who wrote the Twilight Trilogy. Really?? This knowledge alone causes a lot of people to hate on the movie without watching it. Such sheep behavior is sad to witness.

This is Twilight-esque in the sense that teen romance is inserted into a genre that it is not normally so prevalent in. Is that a crime? Is mixing genres a crime? Should an action movie have no comedy? Should a comedy movie have no romance? Should a horror movie have no comedy?

So yes, this is a sci-fi movie about parasitic symbiotes taking over the planet by taking our bodies from us, but it is focused more on a few specific characters, and the love story that ties them together. There are no explosions or big gun fights. It’s about a race taking over humans and controlling them. They aim to live along with us and bring us further than we would get left to our own devices, but they also basically genocide us by killing our consciousnesses and replacing them with their own.

But some of us resist. The alien parasite hears the voice of the original human in their mind. It’s rare. And that is the case here.

Apparently a lot of people just reduce that to “watching a girl talk to herself”, which is a sad reducto absurdum applied to an idea that is actually far more interesting than that. I think it requires a litte bit of empathy that some people don’t have. I don’t find it a valid complaint.

There is REALLY a lot of hate here. The anti-Stephanie Meyer bandwagon is kind of pathetic. It’s like they are scared that someone might like something she’s involved in, because it would invalidate their own opinions — which are often themselves based on groupthink and expressed by people who have never seen one of her movies or read one of her books.

Fuck those guys. This was a great sci-fi, and had an unexpectedly interesting emotional/relationship angle, that most sci-fi movies don’t have. Good for Andrew Niccol — keeping his track record intact. Good for Stephanie Meyer — improving her track record, which needs it.

Evan: “I really liked the concepts and the story was good, but I’m going to have to knock it down a bit for the cheesy teen-movie moments.”

Saoirse Ronan (Hanna from Hanna, the voice of Arriety in The Secret World of Arrietty) as Melanie Stryder / Wanda.
Diane Kruger (Adult Anna in Mr. Nobody, Inglourious Basterds, National Treasure, Helen in Troy) as The Seeker / Lacey.
Chandler Canterbury (Repo Men, Benjamin as age 8 in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) as Jamie, Melanie’s little brother.
Jake Abel (Luke in Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief) as Ian O’Shea, [highlight for spoilers] Wanda’s love interest.
Max Irons (Dorian Gray, 9 eps of The White Queen) as Jared Howem, Melanie’s boyfriend.
William Hurt (The Village, The Incredible Hulk, Dark City) as Jeb, Melanie’s uncle.
Frances Fisher (Sex & Death 101, 1 ep of Childrens Hospital) as Maggie, Melanie’s aunt.
Scott Lawrence (The Social Network, Avatar, Cloverfield, Star Trek Into Darkness, 2 eps of 24, Darth Vader in a bunch of Star Wars video games) as Doc.
Rachel Roberts (Simone in S1m0ne, In Time) as Soul Fleur.
Marcus Lyle Brown (Snatched) as Healer Fords.
J.D. Evermore (Django Unchained) as Trevor Stryder.

LINK URL: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1517260/combined