Thursday, March 19, 2015

Insurgent :Defying The Typical Teen Novel Movie

      Teen novels made into movies is nearly as big a trend as comic book movies. Some make a lot of money and others fail. Divergent is profitable. The first had romance, but the society introduced was an intriguing one beyond it's intended age group. Bigger effects, bigger budget, bigger expectations, and Insurgent now hits theaters nationwide. 

Tris (Shailene Woodley) must confront her inner demons and search for her friends. Her relationship with Four (Theo James) continues to grow as powerful forces threaten to tear her society apart. Her world is on the brink of war and Tris will learn if Divergent is a flaw or the key to a better future.

     The cast comes across more comfortable this go around. I like that the plot is simple and doesn't try to do too much. Sequels some times make the mistake of dragging things out causing too much down time. Insurgent doesn't make that mistake. There is a good balance of time between plot and action. I also appreciated that the romance between Tris and Four feels natural. There is chemistry and it's paced well. The special effects are solid and the film doesn't need to completely rely on the them to keep you into the story. The world may be a little confusing to some and there are still plenty of hidden metaphors, but the all work. 

      Miles Teller steals the show. You hate him, but at the same time you love the fact that you hate him. I like him in this,but that will go away in the Fantastic Four reboot. He has plenty of talent and has come along way since Footloose. My one flaw with the film is too much time on Tris and Four. There are a lot of other characters that needed more screen time and development. I won't hold that against the film over all and I was loving the abrupt ending. I believe Insurgent manages a rare feet. It's a sequel that is better than the first. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Chappie: Heart, but not enough of it

    In 2016, crime is patrolled by an oppressive robotic police force. When one police droid, 22, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. Sounds interesting right? The trailer looks cute right? So is Chappie worth the watch? 

    Yes and no. Neil Blomkamp is the director and if you liked Elysium and District 9, you will probably love Chappie. The movie, like all of Blomkamp's, is based in South Africa. Blomkamp is from there and you have to respect his hometown pride. That being said, the film is very foreign in feel. The actors, the environment, the situations. It make some of the dialogue dificult to understand and the area makes it hard to relate. Still, Chappie does have its moments. 

    Dev Patel and Hugh Jackman play rival engineers. Patel successfully creates artificial intelligence, but loses his creation to a street gang that aims to use it to gain millions of dollars. The gang teaches Chappie to shoot guns, use ninja weapons, and talk in very jumbled slang. Sharlto Copley has been in all of Blomkamp's  films and returns to voice Chappie. The story is OK and it's a bit rough around the edges, but underneath the film has something. 

    Watching Chappie get picked on makes it hard to not have sympathy for him. The underlying message of being different is OK is strong. The film has heart and it's moments, but their might not be enough for casual audiences. It's not a summer blockbuster, but it something to have a little fun with and forget about life for 120 minutes.