A Few Months Ago I Watched: Fast & Furious 6, The East, Scary Movie V

Author’s Comment: Hey everyone! If you haven’t noticed, I’m back to regular blogging after a crazy semester in college. I may not have this much free time in the future, so I might as well make the most out of it. I have yet to post several movie reviews I’ve written before so I’m trying to finish the backlog for now. Rest assured I’ll begin covering recent releases in a few days.

This week I covered the sixth installment of the Fast franchise, the fifth Scary Movie as well as eco-thriller The East. Among the three, the last stood out the most as the other two were rather forgettable.

Fast 6 is disposable cinema at its finest. This is what happens when you have a star-studded cast, a studio in need of a summer tentpole, and an audience whose simple demand is to be entertained. The cars are fast, the action is interesting, things blow up, and the story and dialogue are still dumb as hell. Same old thing, but we fall for it time and time again. GRADE: C+

I don’t mind disposable as long as it’s not utter garbage like Scary Movie 5. You wanna know what type of jokes they hitcha with? Just check the image above. It’s not really funny, and that pretty much sums the whole movie up. The only thing working in its favor is the fact that directors and actors involved in this project are incredibly self-aware that you’re able to laugh at their work without feeling bad for insulting them. They brought this to themselves and while I’m being kind for not giving it an F (because I actually laughed a few times), as a movie it’s something that should’ve never have been greenlighted. Lazy writing and terrible segments destroy it. GRADE: D

At the other side of the spectrum there’s a much better film called The East an inquisitive and intriguing thriller with some minor setbacks. What I liked most about it is its tendency to ask questions about the status quo in our society: should we stay blind and allow the people with power to decide the fate of the world? Or are we going to stand up for what we believe in and make a difference? No matter whose side you’re on: corporations, non-profit organizations, activists, even anarchists, the film allows people to see each other’s perspective. And this sense of humanity helps us in understanding the motivations of each group.

The film, although clearly contrived, is competently written and well-acted. This is my first glimpse of actress Brit Marling’s work and she’s quite impressive. I also don’t see much of Alexander Skaarsgard but he too did a good job. The East faces some pacing issues here and there, but that was not enough to prevent me from liking the movie as a whole. GRADE: B

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This Week I Watched: Inside Job (#414), 300 (#415), Perks of Being A Wallflower (#416)

I’m back and boy did I have a great week at the movies! First I had my initial viewing of 2010’s academy award winning documentary, Inside Job. Then I feasted on the chiselled, greased-up bodies of Spartans in 300 (just kidding). Finally, I took a little detour with a surprisingly mature flick called the Perks of Being a Wallflower. All of them are very good films and I personally recommend them.

To start off, let me just tell you that I’m currently a college student taking up business administration and accountancy, which means that I’d actually be one of those people who’d be excited to catch Inside Job. It gives us a closer look to what took place during the financial crisis in the mid-2000s, and is no doubt a well-thought of, well-directed piece. Going in I didn’t even know much about what happened, and this film was definitely an eye-opener. It’s compelling, informative, and angry. And that rage is what drove the movie to be so much more than a simple inquisitive documentary. It’s so good it’s now on my ‘Top 10 Films of 2010’ list.

Next up is 300, Zack Snyder’s visually-striking medieval blockbuster that I remember liking a lot back when it was first released. I haven’t rated it then but I have to say my repeat viewing was just as enjoyable. War never looked as good as this, and Snyder should receive most of the credit. Compared to his disaster named Sucker Punch, this one actually had a story to tell, and Gerard Butler was brutish and charismatic as Leonidas.

Last but not the least: Perks. I’ve always wanted to catch this but I keep forgetting. But when I finally did I was taken aback by how this coming-of-age story played out. It’s very well done and the things going on in the film hits you hard. Not only does Stephen Chbosky tackle mature themes, he also presents it in an intriguing way. The trio of Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson are entertaining to watch and I can only hope they can continue their careers with even greater roles. The film is not without its flaws (like the cinematography), but one can only complain so much about an otherwise wonderful movie.

Final Grades:

Inside Job: A-

300: B+

The Perks of Being A Wallflower: B+

This Week I Watched: Chronicle (#411)

Had some trouble finding time for movies last week, but I promise you that the next four titles mentioned in this segment are all great and worthy of re-watching. For now let me just say a few things about Chronicle (2012), a film I consider is the only film other than Cloverfield that manages to utilize its found footage gimmick creatively and artistically.

Chronicle is a blend of so many genres: sci-fi, suspense, drama, maybe even horror. You could also categorize it as a superhero flick, but not your usual kind. It overcomes the amateurish feel of found footage with brilliant directing by Josh Trank and Jay Alaimo. They put the icing on the cake by developing a solid premise and utilizing three brilliant young actors to actualize it, namely, Dane DeHaan, Alex Russell and Michael B. Jordan. Each of them delivered splendid performances, but DeHaan exhibits a level of maturity with his acting that makes him so effective in his role here as Andrew. Meanwhile Jordan, like the famous basketball legend, is so charismatic here that it makes me very curious to see how he fares in Fruitvale Station. Other than that I don’t really have much else to say about the film other than the fact it’s very entertaining and well done.

GRADE: B+

This Week I Watched: The ABCs of Death (#407), A Secret Affair (#408)

T is for Toilet, one of the best looking shorts I’ve seen

This week I saw two types of films I rarely try out

So far out of five tries only I, Robot managed to get a grade higher than C+ in my ‘This Week I Watched’ entries. Sadly, with the inclusion of these two, only the denominator only rose up.

F is for Fart, a Japanese entry

For The ABC’s of death, If I’d known which letters showed promise at the start I would’ve skipped a majority of them altogether. It is a nightmare to complete and the lack of quality in most entries in the anthology is so prevalent that I found it incredibly difficult to praise some of the more noteworthy parts. Considering 26 directors had their own take of death, most of them were really obsessed with toilets and sex. And it’s only fitting that one of the best parts involve the letter T which stands for, you guessed it: Toilet. My other fave is Quack, a self-aware comedy about the directors who didn’t know what to do with the letter Q. There were also some thought-provoking entries that I had to revisit to understand its deeper meaning, but they are outweighed by the incredibly weird and stupid segments that you wouldn’t even understand even if you researched on the internet (trust me, don’t even bother). The worst ones were the two Japanese entries, along with Gravity, which was a complete waste of time. Overall, it was about 40% good and 60% horrible, which is enough to consider it a bad film on my terms.

A Secret Affair on the other hand is a steamy, sexy film starring three undeniably alluring Filipino actors, Anne Curtis, Derek Ramsay and Andi Eigenmann. Despite the body count, however, its undeveloped characters and laughable supporting cast makes up for a shallow and uncouth offering. Despite trying to convey a meaningful message by the end, it becomes too little too late to the point that it’s already rendered ineffective.

Final Grades:

The ABCs of Death: C-

A Secret Affair: C