Movie review catch-up

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been a lot less active recently in my blogging activity. This is largely due to the fact I have had shoulder surgery and therefore have been somewhat incapacitated, and also because I’ve been a lot busier at work which has taken up a lot of my time. But I have squeezed in a few films, so here are some quick reviews to catch up…

Noah

I had little desire to see this until the reviews rolled in and they were so divisive. Now, I have next to no clue as to what is and isn’t taken from the biblical text so I have no issue at all with what it did in that respect, and not being religious I wouldn’t care anyway.

For me, it was the mythical elements that worked the best. I found the Harryhausen-esque rock monster things actually quite interesting and the more bonkers it went, the better.

However, it was when the film descended into soap opera style melodrama where it lost me a little, particularly in the final third. It asked some interesting questions about how far you should go for your faith, but wrapped them up in contrived drama.

Crowe is decent as Noah but Ray Winstone’s biblical gangster, complete with Cockney accent and rudimentary shotguns is laughable.

A decent adaptation from Aronofsky, who definitely inserts some personality into the story, but it loses its way and by the end undoes much of its good work of the first half of the film.

3 pigeons3/5 pigeons

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

When Sony rebooted the Spidey franchise so soon after Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, many thought it was ridiculous. However The Amazing Spider-Man was actually pretty decent, and although it has some definite issues, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is more of the same comic book fun.

Andrew Garfield reprises his role as Spidey but even though he looks the part, I’m still not convinced by his acting, although that’s definitely not helped by the god awful script that turns the whole thing into a cheesy episode of Dawson’s Creek at times.

There are plenty of decent set pieces throughout and the swinging sections through New York are vertigo-inducingly brilliant.

Villain-wise we have Electro although he feels somewhat underdeveloped, whilst Rhino pops up very briefly and a certain Monsieur Goblin who seems destined to play a much bigger role in films to come. With so many villains, it does threaten to turn into Spider-Man 3 and ensures the film is too long, but fortunately manages to hold it together much better.

It’s clear that the director wanted this film to have a more personal feel with more focus on the characters’ relationships, but at times it does feel at odds with the main story. When key scenes are rushed to make way for more teenage romance then it doesn’t knit together.

Emma Stone and Dane DeHaan deserve a lot of credit for their performances however, the latter in particular excellent as Harry Osborn.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a perfectly fine addition to the franchise but one that doesn’t really tread new ground in any way. Bloated and uneven in tone but if you’re a Spider-Man fan then there’s enough to enjoy.

3 and a half pigeons3.5/5 pigeons

Transcendence

Transcendence

Strong characters and a belief in their actions is essential if a film is to work, and the lack of both of these is what makes Transcendence a truly lacklustre experience.

The idea of being able to upload your thoughts and feelings into a computer isn’t exactly a new one, nor is that of computer AI becoming sentient and rebelling against humanity, and Transcendence does little new to raise it above its peers. See, it’s difficult at any point to actually work out what anyone’s really doing or why they’re doing it, and as such it’s tough to buy into anything the film does.

There’s a germ of an idea, but what starts of as a slow burning, political sci-fi thriller ends up trying to turn into an all-out action film but just doesn’t have the legs to pull it off and burns out long before its lackadaisical conclusion.

Johnny Depp well and truly phones in his performance, whilst Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany do their best to inject some life into proceedings, but they have little to work with in all honesty.

There was some promise here but it has to go down as a miss for first time director Wally Pfister who struggles to give the film any real direction or purpose.

2 pigeons

2/5 pigeons

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41 thoughts on “Movie review catch-up

  1. Marc Winger says:

    Be brave, when you’re told that they have to now remove your arm.

  2. Mark Walker says:

    I’ve been a little distant from blogging myself of late, Chris. Entirely understandable my man.

    I haven’t seen any of these yet and have no real urge to do so from what I’ve been hearing. I will check them out but only when I’m in the mood.

    • Yeah it’s actually been quite nice to have a little break, especially when I have my arm in a sling!

      I don’t think you’d be missing out on too much if you don’t get round to these to be honest mate, plenty of other stuff out there to see instead.

  3. Hope you’re feeling better, man!

    I enjoyed Noah and I agree about not knowing and not caring about the liberties they took with the source material. I liked the film, thought it was very entertaining. I wasn’t a fan of the Watchers, though, but I agree on Winstone. Connelly was superb, though, right?

    I am thoroughly convinced by Garfield’s acting (I’m such a fan), but the writing for TASM2 was horrid! And there are too many villains! I thought DeHaan was solid as Harry but terrible as Goblin. Loved Garfield, Stone and Field, though. And the action was fantastic!

    And about Transcendence, it makes me sad that it didn’t live up to its potential.

    • Thanks mate!

      Connelly was really good, she was probably my favourite part of the second half of the film. I actually quite liked the Watchers, thought they were quite interesting.

      You’re right on DeHaan. It was the Harry parts I really liked but didn’t really buy him as Goblin, although we didn’t really see enough of him I guess.

      Yeah Transcendence had a lot of promise but just didn’t live up to it for me.

  4. Tom says:

    Man, shoulder surgery. Woof! Hope recovery goes well Chris.

    As for these here films: pleasantly surprised to see your high-ish rating of Spidey 2, Noah feels about right (it worked a bit more for me, I really bought into what Aronofsky was doing, all aside from the bit of melodrama on the ark at the end); and so too does Transcendence, which in my book completely sucked. Utter disappointment there.

    I’m actually about to put up my own TASM-2 review. We’ll see if we align any there. :)

    • Thanks Tom!

      Transcendence was naff, wasn’t it? Had loads of potential but it was pretty much all wasted. The Spidey reviews have been very divisive but I thought it was alright. Nothing hugely special but I enjoyed the bulk of it.

  5. ckckred says:

    Hope you shoulder’s doing better…

    I thought Noah was a mess. I didn’t even think Crowe did a very good job. About half-way through the movie I started to like Winstone’s villain more than him.

  6. Hope you recover quickly, Chris! You know, time is pinched and when everyone I admire says a movie sucks, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and wait for it to come out for home viewing. Noah, Superman 2, Transcendence seem mediocre at best.

    • Thanks Cindy! I know what you mean. There’s only time for so many films so I don’t want to waste it! I would only say that Transcendence was a real waste here. The other two definitely have some merit to them, but waiting for home viewing is wise.

  7. ruth says:

    Hope your shoulder continues to get better and you’re not in too much pain, Chris. Well I have to admit I have little to no interest in any of these, and in regards to Noah, I do care about the Biblical aspect or lack thereof I should say. Boy, Transcendence sounds really bad, I was initially intrigued but as it got closer to release date I had a hunch it won’t be good. Still I didn’t think it’d be THAT bad. I might give it a rent, but maybe wait until it’s available on Netflix Streaming so I don’t have to waste a dime on it :)

    • Thanks Ruth, it’s on the mend! Just fed up of having a sling still though!

      If Biblical accuracy is a big thing for you then from what I’ve read you should steer clear of Noah! As for Transcendence, it had a lot of promise and the trailer made it look brilliant, which I guess was its job! A real let down, that one.

      • ruth says:

        Yeah I was talking to a colleague about Transcendence yesterday & pretty much he said the same thing – cool concept, botched execution.

  8. Hope you’re recovering well. Nice to have your reviews back :-)

    We’re on the same page with Noah that final act just went a bit melodramatic for me and Winston well, he just outstayed welcome. Haven’t seen Transcendence yet and I’m not sure I will to be honest. As for Spider-Man, it just seemed too busy for me, lacking the character and story development it needed to feel like a complete film. It’s a shame as I loved the first one.

    • Thank you! :) Not really back fully yet but hopefully more active than I have been.

      Noah just turned really dull in the end and Ray Winstone was laughable as a Biblical Cockney. I thought SPidey was good in places but it did have too much going on. It didn’t have nearly enough focus.

  9. Hey Chris. Get well soon mate!
    I haven’t actually fancied watching any of these to be honest, although I may check out Noah at some point for the same reason you did, as I’m intrigued by the mixed reviews.

  10. Get well soon mate!

    Also, come on! Winstone with the cockney accent was great! It was another weird addition to a weird film and i think it worked

  11. Beer Movie says:

    Boo to dodgy shoulders and boo to day jobs being busy. Yay to review round ups though (and a hearty boo to Transcendence which I saw last night and thought was rubbish).

  12. Great reviews Chris, hope the shoulder is healing well! Haven’t seen the other two but we’re more or less on the same page in regards to Amazing Spider-Man. Really looking forward to seeing a bigger role for DeHaan develop in the next installment.

    Adam.

  13. Jeez shoulder surgery?! That’s tough. Glad that you’re back on WordPress again.

    And I’m glad you went to see all of these movies. Your mini-reviews re-assure me that I made the right decision to ignore all of them! I feel like there haven’t been any good movies out since late January. Bah humbug.

    • Yeah it’s been pretty rubbish! I am indeed back, although probably not full time at the moment as I’m pretty busy at work after being off.

      It quite often feels like there isn’t much out around this time of year, I remember feeling the same last year. Certainly rather slim pickings at the moment!

  14. Jade says:

    I haven’t seen Noah, but the bonkers bit sounds fun, ha!

    Swinging by to see the Amazing Spiderman 2 this week. Great shame about Electro, but I’m excited to see Harry Osborn. Heard nothing but praises for Dane DeHaan, and I love that man in Chronicle.

    About Transcendence, eek! I couldn’t agree more. Still bitter about that wasted potential.

    Great reviews, and looking forward to reading more. Hope your shoulder heals soon!

  15. Nice to see you back my friend. I hope you’re feeling better! Strong work on the reviews; agree with you on all of them. We’ll have to get in with that Blogathon when we both get the time!

  16. Abbi says:

    I think I liked Transcendence even less than you did.

  17. jackdeth72 says:

    Hi, Terry:

    Correct me if I’m wrong. But wasn’t Transcendence previously imagined as the incredibly low budgeted with laughable special effects, cheese fest of the 1950s Donovan’s Brain ?

    See… History does repeat itself!

  18. sati says:

    I read the script for Transcendence and I’m still a bit curious how it turned out, so I’m gonna check it out. As for Spiderman, the first movie bored me to tears so I’m staying away from it.

    Hope you’re feeling better!

  19. No doubt ” The Amazing Spiderman 2″ is the winner….

  20. Nice good catch up and quick reads, hopefully your shoulder is feeling better. Transcendence and Noah look like they are trying to hard to be good, out of the box movies, but unfortunately looks like they failed.

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