Boyhood: BEST MOVIE 11/10

Grade: A++++++++++++++

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Part 1 contains minimal spoilers. Part 2 contains a lot of spoilers.

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If you’re looking for your usual-sarcastic-Grace review, then you’ll probably be disappointed (sorry… kinda… not really).

Well, let’s begin.

Now that Oscar season is coming around, I’ve deemed it necessary to watch every film nominated for best picture in order to give you guys a comprehensive overview of who should win.

It seemed to be pretty close after the first three movies I watched (The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash). However, then I watched Boyhood.

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When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I was skeptical. I thought it was going to be a regular run-of-the-mill life movie.

And, to be completely honest, I was right. But it was so much more.

Boyhood is based upon an absolutely original idea. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, everyone at this point knows that Boyhood was filmed over the course of 12 years, already making it an impressive feat.

However, filming across the span of 12 years gave the movie a completely unique feeling; you were growing up with the main character, Mason. At least for me, I felt as if I was watching my life being reflected in the main character. Out of all the movies I had ever seen, I had never once watched a movie that reflected life so well.

On a superficial level, the characters were incredibly complex and developed as any person would do. Less superficially, the format of a movie is almost perfect as a representation for life; it shows important moments and seemingly trivial moments through Mason’s childhood. Additionally, upon leaving the movie theater, you won’t remember everything that happened even if you want to; unfortunately, as is life.

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Furthermore, throughout the movie, old characters keep popping up, and it’s simultaneously happy and heart-wrenching to see them again; you almost want to go back and rewatch the scene of the movie with that old character in it, but 1) you can’t and 2) even if you could, you wouldn’t really know where to look.

In addition, the movie bravely explored everything it could. The movie examined controversial topics, such as abusive parents and even the war in Iraq. The movie also explored the imperfections, the checkpoints, and the simple moments of life.

Overall, the movie is beautiful. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, you’d better watch it before it wins Best Picture in the Oscars.

This next section is for people who have finished the movie. You have been warned.

After I finished the movie, I was rather shocked to see that there were actually mixed reviews about it. Common complaints included “the movie was too long,” and “the ending was so abrupt.”

I was pretty disappointed by all these comments, but in the end, I can’t convince someone to like something he or she doesn’t like. However, I’ll provide my interpretation of the movie, and in particular, the end of the movie.

In my opinion, the true wrap-up of the movie begins with Mason leaving for college and his mom’s last speech in the movie, where she reminisces that her whole life has been checkpoints, and says, “I thought there would be more.”

I’ll admit, I cried when she said that.

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(^this gif is legitimately scaring me.)

However, in quick succession, that scene was followed by two other, very important ones. The first one was Mason driving to his college, and stopping by a gas station to take pictures of simple things, like a broken lamp hanging on a tree.

Also my new favorite song was playing during that scene (listen to it): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHeK0Cwr9sg

In my mind, I thought that this scene, with subtle perfection, contrasted what Mason’s mother had said. Maybe life is made out of checkpoints, but it isn’t just made up of that: it’s made up of other moments as well. Mason’s photography demonstrates him capturing the “more,” the other moments in life.

In the final scene, Mason is talking to a girl about moments in life. The girl says that she believes “you don’t really seize the moment. The moment seizes you.” Mason responds with, “we’re always in the moment.” This nicely connects with Mason’s picture taking. In the end, the moments overwhelm us and all we can do is try to remember them.

The movie ends shortly after this, so I understand why people might think that the ending was abrupt.

I had two interpretations about this ending. The first one is life keeps on going, so there isn’t really an ending to anything.

The second one, however, I like better. Maybe the movie ends after the realization that “the moment seizes you,” because realizing that you can’t go chasing after moments, and rather, that you have to let the moments happen naturally, is when you truly become an adult.

But I don’t know. I’m just a teenager after all. 🙂

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The Weekly Suggestion

So I’m going to start something called “The Weekly Suggestion,” and it’s basically what it sounds like. Every week I’ll suggest a movie, TV show, book, and song (or soundtrack) to listen to.

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Movie: Interstellar (it’s still in theaters). Be prepared – it’ll make you cry like a little baby. Well at least it made me cry like a little baby. Maybe you’re just good at controlling emotions.

TV show: The Flash. The show is only on its first season, so you’ll have plenty of time to catch up.

Book: The Book Thief. It’s my absolute favorite book. It made me super emotional as well.

Song: To Build a Home. This is a super depressing song that’ll probably make you cry (again). If it doesn’t make you cry, then I suggest you watch KatrinDepp’s Harry Potter tribute with that song right here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUhPLb_vCkg

This post is just full of tears for me.

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The 72nd Annual Oscar Spoilers Winners: The Movies

Welcome to the 72nd annual spoilers for the upcoming Oscars, where we will be giving the 2nd most valuable award to the people who created the best movies and TV shows of the year.

I know, I know, I should probably be talking about the 2015 Oscar nominees, but as I am late to everything I’ve decided to save the Oscar review until the week of Oscar Sunday.

Besides, there have been enough comments about how all the actors and actresses nominated for an academy are white (I’m not kidding – they’re not even tan).

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But back to the Golden Globes

Unfortunately, as my scope of TV extends only to the perimeter of the fandom-related world, I cannot comment too much about the TV section of the Golden Globes (except that I’m mainly disappointed that Sherlock didn’t get nominated for anything).

It took me a very long time to write this review mostly because I was pissed off by all the awards I felt belonged to different people. However, I’ll try to be as impartial as I can be when I review the winners.

If you don’t agree with me well

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Just kidding. Don’t judge me and I won’t judge you. Or judge me all you want idrc.

Let’s begin.

Best Foreign Language Film: Leviathan, a Russian movie. Unfortunately, I generally don’t watch foreign language films, so I have no idea what Leviathan is about. It is loosely based off of some biblical stories.

Best Animated Feature Film: How To Train Your Dragon 2. After How To Train Your Dragon was wrongfully robbed of its Oscar (but, I mean, I’m biased, because Toy Story 3, which beat HTTYD, was pretty much the greatest animated film of all time I suppose…), I expected Big Hero 6 to win. I mean, Big Hero 6 is legitimately a very good movie, but HTTYD 2 won this time.

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Best Original Song: Glory, by John Legend and Common for the movie Selma. It was a very nice song, but it doesn’t really suit my taste of music. However, the song somewhat captures the courage of Martin Luther King Jr. Hopefully the movie will as well.

Best Original Score: Jóhann Jóhannsson’s score for the Theory of Everything. In my opinion, this was a complete robbery from the genius that is Hans Zimmer’s score for Interstellar. However, I said I would be impartial, so here’s my try. Hans Zimmer’s score creates awe and raw feeling within the listener. It captures the true essence of the movie: the high and low registers of the theme, along with the background music, displays the truly infinite expanse of space and the almost overwhelming feeling you get. On the other hand, the Theory of Everything’s score also captures the movie in a different way. The beginning of the soundtrack displays a sort of naiveté and mysteriousness that surrounds Hawking’s early life. Then, later on, the music becomes smoother and more complex, still with hints of innocence, but less so than in the beginning. The simple theme in the beginning transforms from a piano into an orchestra. In addition, the repetition of the music truly captures how dragging the movie was. Well, I tried to be impartial.

*casually starts listening to the Interstellar soundtrack*

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I’d still recommend the Theory of Everything if anyone still cares.

Best Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu’s screenplay for Birdman, It’s a movie about an actor whose career was once successful, but is now stagnant. I have not watched Birdman, but I hear that there’s a lot of uncertainness about what is reality in the movie, so I’m sure it’s worth a watch. Also Emma Stone is in it so…

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Best Director: I swore to God if Boyhood didn’t win Best Director I would stop watching award shows. Thankfully, Boyhood won, because who in their right mind would take an award away from a dude who literally spent the past 12 years faithfully directing a movie. I mean, if I’m being honest with myself, Boyhood should just win everything it’s nominated for since there has not been a movie in the past that has ever been like this one. All the Oscars for you Boyhood. You go Boyhood.

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette in Boyhood. All I can say is thank you for awarding this woman for her past 12 years of dedication.

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons in Whiplash. Apparently Simmons does a fantastic job portraying a complete madman who emotionally abuses all his students, but at the same can turn himself into a sweet, caring, lovely human being on will. Sounds suspiciously like when your parent is yelling at you and then your friend comes over.

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Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy: Amy Adams in Big Eyes. Amy Adams’ talent itself is probably enough to secure a nomination, and ultimately a win. Amy Adams plays an artist with a good-for-nothing-shit-piece-of husband who decides to steal all her artwork and put it under her name because, obviously, no one’s going to take a woman seriously. This movie once again proves that men are backstabbing liars, and for this reason 1) I will not be watching this movie because I’ll get too pissed off at the husband and 2) I will not get married.

Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy: Michael Keaton in Birdman. Again I’m assuming that playing a semi-crazy / hallucinating person isn’t really easy, so I guess this Golden Globe is well deserved.

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Best Actress in a Drama: Julianne Moore in Still Alice. Julianne Moore plays a woman who’s suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, once again proving that if you play a person suffering from disease, you are destined to win an award. And I’m not saying that because I’m annoyed: characters with diseases are generally more difficult to play.

Best Actor in a Drama: Eddie Redmayne in the Theory of Everything. Another example of a character with a disease… except in this case I didn’t think the win was deserved. This is another source of anger for me, as I wanted the amazing Benedict Cumberbatch to win. Of course, I’m probably biased because I love Benedict Cumberbatch too much. However, to all those people out there who claim Redmayne won due to a more complex character, do you really think that portraying an awkward genius who was struggling to keep his sexuality a secret is less complex? In addition, there’s the complexity of the exhilaration of cracking enigma, followed by the immediate weight of having everyone’s lives on your hands, followed by a complete emotional demise due to estrogen injections – just stop fooling yourself. If I were to compare Redmayne and Cumberbatch slightly more impartially (with difficulty), I would’ve chosen Cumberbatch because he actually has to struggle through the entire movie with incorporating his speech and movement into his acting, whereas Redmayne basically gets to stay silent for half the movie.

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Best Musical or Comedy: The Grand Budapest Hotel. I’m just relieved that Into the Woods didn’t win because the more I think about it, the more that I get annoyed that I actually paid money to see it. However, due to the fact that The Grand Budapest Hotel is a comedy, I probably won’t go see it.

Best Drama (aka what will probably win the Oscars): Boyhood. Well, thank God. I wanted the Imitation Game to win, but at least what won was a movie that I wholeheartedly believe deserved that honor.

In the end, the Imitation Game and Interstellar both won nothing (ugh).

Congrats to Theory of Everything got two very undeserved Oscars… I mean Golden Globes… but like they’ll probably win the Oscars too. Very big congrats to everyone involved in Boyhood for those 12 long years in Azkaban… I mean Hollywood (same thing). Congrats to all the actors and actresses who sold their souls to the criticism of persons such as me. Congrats to all those writers and directors and songwriters and such who decided to play a role behind the screen so that the scrutiny wouldn’t fall as directly on (unless you are M. Night Shyamalan).

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Oscars here we come!

Age of Ultron Trailer: Nobody Even Knows What’s Happening Anymore

Even though I suggested that Marvel already ran out of ideas for how to market Age of Ultron (hint hint my Ant-Man Trailer review), I was clearly wrong.

Be prepared for the fourth trailer of Age of Ultron, which is shorter than the first trailer, shorter than the trailer with the special look, and shorter than the extended trailer.

Age of Ultron features a completely different view to the movie than the last trailer… haha no.

It features the same song, but remixed differently (and worse). It features the hulk struggling to contain himself. It features more explosions, an equally dark premise, and Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver suffering from loyalty issues.

In addition, this new trailer shows scenes extended from the last original trailer. For example, you finally figure out what happens from this scene:

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You also get lovely extended scenes of Hulk vs. Iron Man since we totally want to see the Avengers falling apart further. You also get to see Thor vs. Iron Man. And Captain America: Civil War is about Captain America vs. Iron Man.

Well, when Tony Stark said that he was volatile, self-obsessed, and didn’t play well with others, he wasn’t lying.

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#StopTony2015

And, of course, you get to see the Avengers being destroyed slowly… again. You thought Hulk falling apart was bad? You thought Captain America’s shield cracking was bad? Be prepared to watch Thor being electrocuted by lightning (which, if you don’t know, he can control).

However, probably most ominously, is Ultron’s line in the trailer:

“I’m going to tear you apart. From the inside.”

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Into The Woods: A Tragic Attempt at the Movie Musical

Grade: B

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Despite its all star cast, Into the Woods falls flat on its face with awkward timing, bad special effects, and strange musical numbers which would have been better had it been on stage rather than in a movie.

I went to watch the movie on a day where I had nothing to do, partially because I was bored and partially because the movie had a decent rating.

When I walked into the movie theater, I assumed that Into the Woods would be a perfectly normal movie (if such a thing exists). However, the moment the characters opened their mouths and started singing, my reaction was something like

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And now a brief history on the movie adaptation of a musical: there’s a reason why they were made for the stage and not for the screen.

I’ll admit, however, that in the past most on stage musicals have done pretty well in a movie setting. West Side Story, My Fair Lady, and The Sound of Music only represent a fraction of the fantastic movie adaptations from great musicals. In fact, movie musicals have won a plethora of awards, including many academy awards, in the past.

And then, 2014 came around.

2014 can be hailed as the year where movie representations of musicals fell flat on their faces. What with Annie, which achieved miserably mediocre ratings, and now Into the Woods.

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Into the Woods starts off with a nice, multilayered musical number that introduces all the characters: Cinderella, a maid whose only dream is to go to the prince’s ball; Jack, a rather slow and stupid boy who desperately wishes not to be parted from his cow (yes, very weird); a baker and his wife, who wish to have a baby; Little Red Riding Hood, who steals food from the baker and pretends it’s for her grandmother; and finally the witch, who wishes to be young once more.

The witch promises that the baker and his wife can have a child as long as they collect four items: a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold.

One way or another, all the characters somehow find themselves entering the strange and mysterious woods, with the baker and his wife appearing at every corner to attack each character in order acquire an item.

More characters are introduced along the way, each stupider than the last. First, the two princes, who really show their ignorance in the musical “Agony,” where each prince tries to show that he is in more pain than the other. They stand on the edge of a waterfall, leaping over rocks and ripping their shirts open, proclaiming their deep and unwavering pain. In today’s teenage terms, that musical number is probably closest to the phrase, “the struggle is real.”

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And then you meet Rapunzel, who is totally incapable with dealing with her own life. Honestly, if you want a non-weepy, independent, and cooler representation of Rapunzel, go watch Tangled.

Ultimately, the movie is a complete bust until you enter the last 30 minutes. Then, complexities start to appear and the characters begin to actually go through character development. But at that point nobody’s paying attention to the movie anymore – at that point everyone’s just waiting to get out of the movie theater.

Basically, the entire movie is at least an hour too long. Go watch this movie if you have patience. Or if you want to get bored to death.

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Guest Blogging: The Pengwlings of Madagascar

Well yeah. Clever title done.

Grade: Something between A+ and F

Okay let me explain.

My name is Alex and I actually run Techiturn, however, I agreed I would write a few occasional posts for geekxcritique. I’m super excited, but also a little nervous, which is why i’m not comfortable giving this movie a grade. Although between you and me, I’d say it’s an A-.

Introduction over, let’s get to the movie.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=retX8Wj7JdM

Can I just say that sure Madagascar was pretty amazing, but would it really have been as good without the penguins? No. it would not. Secret Agent Penguins is just funny. Scratch that it’s hilarious. And to be honest, sometimes the best movies are the animated movies that just make you smile and laugh at the insanity of the plot.

So aside from the concept, here’s what makes this movie funny and amazing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GHPNKUMf70

Okay so basically in this video, go to 3:21 and watch. And die of laughter as you see Benedict Cumberbatch epically fail to say the work penguins. Over. and OVER again. And then yeah go back to the beginning of the video because it really is golden.

So of course, Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice adds so much greatness to this movie, but it’s hard not to chuckle when he mispronounces penguins. (and you know, being that it’s a movie ABOUT PENGUINs, that happens quite a lot). It’s absolutely hilarious and it just adds to the humor of this movie.

Sure the movie is aimed towards little kids, but the dialogue contains so many hidden things that older people and parents will pick up on. On ongoing spoof involves the use of celebrities names. For example the command “Nicholas! Cage those penguins!” Other names worked in are Drew Barrymore and Hugh Jackman, and even as the joke is repeated it doesn’t get any less funny.

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Also, what other kids movie begins like a documentary with a cameo (well voice-eo) from a renowned director?

Humor is also found in everyday occurrences such as the difficulty of Skype video chats (especially with older, less techy people) and how messy and loud cheese puffs are.

hmmm. what else makes this movie amazing?

Oh right, It’s just so CUTE. At the beginning it’s a blast into the past of our beloved band of penguins as we see them as cute smushy fluffy balls of fur down in the antarctic. it’s just super cute.

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Of course as an animated movie there are also a few morals thrown in by DreamWorks, but they aren’t overwhelming enough to drain the fun out of the movie. Some of the lessons are pertaining to teamwork, and how every member of the team can offer something important and special.

Ultimately yes this is an animated movie, and yes it is made by dream works. But The Penguins of Madagascar is cute and punny and just fun. Is it going to become your favorite movie? Probably not. But will you enjoy it? I’d say so.

Ant-Man… And Black Widow Doesn’t Get Her Own Movie

Yep. It’s another Marvel movie. In fact, the last Marvel movie that comes out before the epicness that is Marvel phase 3 (if you don’t know what that is, it’s a plethora of movies Marvel is releasing… you should definitely google it).

As you guys probably know, Marvel released an “ant-sized” teaser. Normal humans might think “ant-sized” means a short teaser, but as Marvel is a complete troll (literally making its fans wait until after the credits to see Howard the Duck), fans should be on the lookout.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t, so I was not expecting this:

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You see that tiny, tiny speck in the middle.

Yes my friends.

That was the teaser.

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However, either Marvel finally got its wits back or else some other hacker managed to release the teaser, but finally a “human sized” trailer got out (as shown above). And, as you can see, there’s literally still nothing to be seen. In fact, the actual teaser is coming out in two days, so there’s really no point to this teaser at all.

At this point Marvel has been teasing us continuously about Avengers: Age of Ultron, so I suppose that with the plethora of teasers for Avengers, the excitement ran out for that.

Nice try Marvel, but I don’t really care about Ant-Man. Give me a Black Widow movie.

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