Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Hunt for the Wilderpeople is directed by Taika Waititi, and it stars Sam Neill and Julian Dennison. It tells the story of an 11-year-old kid and his adoptive father as they’re on the run in the wilderness of New Zealand in an attempt to avoid child protective services. This is a smaller film that was released in early 2016, but not very many people saw it, myself included. However, last night I thought it would be a better use of my time than going out to see Resident Evil: The Final Chapter or Gold. So is Hunt for the Wilderpeople a good use of your time?
Hunt for the Wilderpeople was an incredibly fun, heartwarming film that never fails to make its audience laugh. The premise for the film is a little ridiculous, but seeing these two social outcasts go on an adventure together in the wilds of New Zealand was a very entertaining experience.
First and foremost, this film was a lot of fun. From the quick cheesy jump-cut cinematography to the witty dialogue, this film has a personality to it that you don’t see very often. From the very beginning, the tone of this film is one made of optimism and jubilation. While watching this movie, I had a solid smile on my face. It never failed to surprise me with its simple humor and general amusement with the circumstances at hand. The film did occasionally have the guts to get a little sad. There were a few moments where something sad happens, but it never feels out of place. It’s a bit of a jump back to reality from this silly situation. These moments don’t happen very often, but when they do, they feel natural.
Part of what made this film work was the cast. The film takes place in New Zealand, and a majority of the cast were actually from there. They didn’t just bring in a bunch of outside talent to pretend to be Kiwis, they cast genuine people from the islands. The main duo in the film, Sam Neill and Julian Dennison, worked extremely well together. They had a lot of chemistry, and they played off of each other very well. You completely bought into both of their characters and the way that they treated each other.
Sam Neill gave a very good performance in this film, but the biggest surprise to me was Julian Dennison. He played the main kid, and he was absolutely hilarious, but it was in a natural way. It never felt like he was making jokes just for the sake of a punchline. It legitimately felt like something that this kid would say. Dennison pulled off this character extremely well, and I hope we begin to start seeing him in more films because he definitely has some talent.
To sum it all up, Hunt for the Wilderpeople was an extremely fun movie to watch. It’s premise, while silly, was extremely entertaining. The two lead characters both provided for some really entertaining bantering, and they were sold even more by the performances from their actors. The film as a whole feel like a really fun film made by a group of college students, and by that I mean it feels like they were making the movie for the fun of it, not for the money. I would very highly recommend Hunt for the Wilderpeople. If I had seen it earlier, this might have cracked my Top Ten of 2016!
So what did you think of Hunt for the Wilderpeople? Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter! It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
To a movie buff, Oscar-season is almost as exciting as Christmas. Yesterday, the nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards were announced, and that’s something I’d be remiss not to talk about. I’m not going to list all of the nominees for all of the categories here, but you can find them on the official website (link). I wanted to talk about some of the major categories.
Let’s start by talking about the big award, Best Picture. This year, there was a total of nine films nominated for Best Picture. Those films were: Arrival, Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, Hell or High Water, Hidden Figures, La La Land, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, and Moonlight (You can find my reviews for those films by clicking on the titles). I’ve seen six of the nine films nominated this year, and from what I’ve heard of the other three, I think the Academy, for the most part, got it right this year. These might not have been the nine that I would’ve picked, but I can’t make any legitimate arguments against any of these films. If I had to remove one from this list, it would probably be Hidden Figures, as I wasn’t blown away by that film. However, I know that I’m in the minority on that one, so no complaints from me.
One thing that I was glad to see was Viggo Mortensen being recognized for Captain Fantastic in the Actor in a Leading Role category. He gave an absolutely fantastic (no pun intended) performance in that film, and not many people saw it. Hopefully, this convinces more people to see the film because it was a unique little film that I think really deserves some attention. Mortensen has no chance at winning the award, that award will go to Casey Affleck, but I’m glad to see that he was recognized.
I think people are a little too trigger-happy to call something a snub. It seems like if someone thinks something should’ve been nominated, then it wasn’t, people automatically call it a snub. I’m a little more hesitant to call something a snub. Before getting upset about a snub, you should ask two questions: “Did it have any chance at winning?” and “What would you take out for it?”. That being said, there are two things that I might consider to be snubs this year, but they’re not major ones.
The first, and most prominent, snub this year was Amy Adams for Actress in a Leading Role. I’m a little hesitant here, because of the five nominations (Isabelle Huppert, Ruth Negga, Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Meryl Streep) I’ve only seen two. That being said, I thought Amy Adams in Arrival was much better than Meryl Streep in Florence Foster Jenkins. Don’t get me wrong, Streep gave a great performance in that film, but I would rank Adams over her, and I believed she had a legitimate shot at winning this year. I would've also like to see Taraji P. Henson get some recognition from Hidden Figures here, but I'm not sure who I'd remove, as I haven't seen Huppert, Negga, or Portman's performances.
The second surprising thing to me was the complete shut-out of Sing Street. I wasn’t expecting it to get a lot of recognition (Although I would replace Hidden Figures with it for Best Picture), but I thought for sure it would get a nomination for Original Song. Nope, none at all. It was disappointing because Sing Street was wonderful! It was my second favorite film of last year, and I was hoping it would get at least a little recognition.
Before I get to the most exciting thing about the Oscars this year, I want to briefly touch on Deadpool. There are a lot of people legitimately upset that it didn’t get a Best Picture or Adapted Screenplay nomination. They were convinced it would after its Golden Globes nominations, and also its nominations from the DGA, PGA, and WGA, which often foreshadow the results of the Oscars. While it would’ve been neat to see Deadpool get some recognition, I don’t think that it’s necessarily a snub like some people are saying. If you legitimately expected Deadpool to get nominated for Best Picture, you need to consider two things: the kinds of films the Academy likes to recognize, and the quality of nominees this year.
Now to the most exciting thing, La La Land. As many of you know, I absolutely love La La Land. It was my favorite film of 2016, and I can’t get enough of it! So, you can probably guess that I’m pretty hyped to see it get 14 nominations! It was nominated for Best Picture, Actor in a Leading Role (Ryan Gosling), Actress in a Leading Role (Emma Stone), Directing, Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Film Editing, Production Design, Costume Design, Original Score, Original Song (Audition (The Fools Who Dream)), Original Song (City of Stars), Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing! Honestly, I couldn’t agree more with these nominations. Do I think it will win all of them? No, no chance at all. If I had to guess, it’ll win about half of them, which is still seven Oscars! That’s crazy, and very well deserved!
So what did you think about the Oscar nominations this year? Do you think there were any major snubs? If so, what were they? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this article, share it on Facebook and Twitter! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
Split is the latest film to be directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and it stars James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson, and Jessica Sula. When three teenage girls are kidnapped by a stranger after a birthday party, they quickly realize their kidnapper is not an average person. He suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), in this case, he has a whopping 23 different personalities. M. Night Shyamalan is known for his intuitive and thrilling films, but he has made some not-so-great movies in the past. So does Split live up to expectations?
Split was a movie that I was looking forward to seeing. I had heard good things about it, and I was curious to see James McAvoy play this character with 23 personalities. I was hoping that it would be good. What I did not expect, was how great this movie would be. Split undoubtedly lives up to the hype and even exceeds it at times! It was a truly thrilling movie that's not afraid to go in unexpected directions.
The thing that really makes this film great is its lead character. It wasn't any of the three kidnapped girls (although the actresses did good jobs). It was their kidnapper, Kevin. His character was an extremely interesting one to watch, partially because you had no idea what he was going to do next. Over the course of the film, you see the internal struggles that he is having over what is going on. Not internal struggles the way we typically see them in films, but rather his different personalities having different opinions about the situation and different approaches to handling it.
There were several decisions made throughout this film that, had they been made differently, could’ve ruined the film. However, they were well thought out choices and ultimately they added a lot. One decision was to not actually show all 23 personalities in depth. We get brief glimpses of a majority of them, but the film mainly focuses on about five or six of them. Instead of trying to do too much and build up all 23 personalities evenly, Split focuses on these few and really develops them. That decision really paid off because, by the end of the movie, the audience could remember several of the personalities by name and identify them, which is more than some movies can say about their single-personality main character.
This character was only highlighted by James McAvoy’s performance. He played every personality of this character extremely well. Switching between personalities, he did more than just change his voice. His body language changed, his facial expressions would distort, and he would legitimately become someone else. There are several scenes throughout the movie where you see McAvoy switch personalities, and those were some of my favorite scenes. They don't cut away and come back to him as someone else. They let the scene marinate and through McAvoy’s subtleties, you can identify the moment that he has become someone else. It was nothing short of amazing.
Split was a fantastic movie which was made even better by its main character. This film made the smart decision to narrow its focus and not bite off more than it can chew. James McAvoy’s performance was extremely convincing, and the film handles its suspense extremely well. This is by no means a horror movie, but it does have some thrilling elements sprinkled into it. I would very highly recommend Split, especially if you’re a fan of M. Night Shyamalan’s older work, such as Unbroken.
So what did you think of Split? Without spoilers, what did you think of the ending to the film? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter. It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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Hello, fellow moviegoers!
xXx: Return of Xander Cage is directed by D.J. Caruso, and it stars Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen, Deepika Padukone, and Rory McCann. It’s the third film in the xXx series, and it follows Xander Cage as he attempts to stop a conspiracy to hack all of the satellites orbiting the Earth. This is a film that from the trailers looks to be absolutely over-the-top and ridiculous. But is it actually good?
This is a difficult film to review accurately. That’s because it would be extremely easy to tear this movie apart. From the gaping plot holes to the absurd premise, to even things as trivial as the extremely noticeable green screens, from a critical perspective this film is atrocious. However, if the purpose of a film is to be entertaining to the audience (which I believe it is), then xXx: Return of Xander Cage gets a thumbs up from me. This film, while it has all of those flaws I mentioned, was a lot of fun to watch.
The film has many, many flaws, but the action sequences were not one of them. In fact, the action scenes in this film are a lot of what made it a really enjoyable film to watch. Yes, they were over-the-top, they were absurd, and they were unrealistic, but they were incredibly entertaining. It became fun to see how crazy these scenes got. The introduction action scene to Vin Diesel’s character concluded much differently than I was expecting, and while it was a little silly, it was also original and clever.
The best part about this movie, by far, was Donnie Yen, whom you may recognize as Chirrut Imwe, the blind character from Rogue One. He is a huge action star in China, and in this film, he proves why. Pretty much everything about this film is ridiculous, but Donnie Yen fits extremely well into that. All of his action sequences in this film have him doing absolutely ludicrous things, but he sells them extremely well. You believe that he is actually doing these things! Every time he was on screen, the movie got significantly more interesting, especially when he was fighting people. I really hope that we see more of Donnie Yen in the future because he is an extremely charismatic and truly entertaining actor.
As for basically everything else about this film, it’s really stupid. It’s cliché, predictable, and makes absolutely zero sense. This film, in many ways, is the pure definition of a big dumb Hollywood blockbuster. The kind that a lot of Indie film directors rant about. This film is mindless action surrounded by a weak plot, bad performances (save for Yen), and even worse visual effects. In all honesty, I have not seen the other two films in the xXx series, but if there anything like this, I’m surprised they made it to a third film at all.
Above all of that, though, this film is a lot of fun. If you go into this film, turn off your brain a little bit and just take the movie for what it is, you can really enjoy watching this film. If you expect this film to be the smart action Bourne Identity type film, you’ll be let down immensely. In some ways, Return of Xander Cage reminds of the hilariously over-the-top short film Kung Fury that's on Netflix. It’s absurd, but it’s entertaining absurdity.
If you’re looking to just have a fun time watching an action movie at the theater, I would recommend xXx: Return of Xander Cage. The action scenes in this film were extremely entertaining, and Donnie Yen proves that he is can be a great action star. It does have a lot of issues narratively and on basically every other front, but once again, if the purpose of the film was to entertain its audience. Mission accomplished.
So what did you think of xXx: Return of Xander Cage? Was it a little too over-the-top for your tastes? Let me know by commenting on this post! Also, if you enjoyed this review, share it on Facebook and Twitter! It really helps! Don’t forget, I post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so check back then for more movie reviews and miscellaneous movie thoughts!
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