August 10, 2014
I've seen a couple of movies recently and wanted to jot down some quick thoughts.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Yes, it is a great film. I can gush about it for hours. I love this film. There were two Marvel films for 2014, I loved both and both are on the top of my favorite movies of the MCU list -- but for different reasons. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was exciting, serious, and enjoyable -- and had an excellent twist.
Guardians of the Galaxy is plain fun -- this film will be the Star Wars (Episode IV) of this current generation. A space opera full of characters that are lovable (Drax having the best lines, Rocket being the most rambunctious and Groot the most lovable) and adventure to places beyond our imagination. The soundtrack, not the film score, is wonder and fit the film perfectly (the film score is decent, but not very memorable). If you haven't seen Guardians, do yourself a favor and go see it.
My wife read the book series and was looking forward to this movie. I watched without any knowledge of what happens in the books. I rather enjoyed the film and liked the world building that they did. The plot was a bit predictable and some of the characters cliched (Jai Courtney's character most especially).
Shailene Woodley is miscast for the main character -- she doesn't have the onscreen presence for the role that she is given. I could not completely buy into her being the tough, brave, smart, and kind person that represents her character Tris.
I did enjoy the film score by Junkie XL.
Need for Speed
I grew up playing the Need for Speed games and liked most of them -- except the ones that embraced the corporate image of what a racing underground would look like. The games by Criterion were exceptional. I came into this movie with low expectations of the story, but high expectations of the vehicles and stunts.
I was not disappointed by the vehicles and stunts. Having a director that understands that stunts using real cars, real on reel is more exciting than CGI cars... well, that makes for a world of tension. The race scenes were exciting and fun to watch. The cars in the film were gorgeous and well shot. There were some shots in the film that were distracting, most especially the ones that simulated the first person view point. When I watch a film, I don't want to feel that I am watching someone play a videogame. I wish that director Scott Waugh did not utilize this style of shooting -- it is something that he also employed in his previous film Act of Valor and was equally distracting in that film. Fortunately, he used this style less in Need for Speed. I hope in his future endeavors he drops the first person view point all together.
The story was rather weak, it took parts from different Need for Speed games and was just enough to justify the film. Aaron Paul from Breaking Bad is an excellent actor and does what he can to pull this movie from mediocrity. I did like Imogen Poots in the film. And it is nice to see Michael Keaton being... Michael Keaton.
The film score for Need for Speed is really good. There are quite a few pieces from the score that sound like spiritual brothers to Danny Elfman's score for The Kingdom. But, overall the score by Nathan Furst stands by itself and is a great listen.
If you like cars, you'll like this film for the race scenes.