Review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

“All the courage in the world cannot alter fact.”
– Wallace

SYNOPSIS: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years. – via IMDB

VISUAL FEST. AUDIO FEST. RYAN GOSLING FEST. Okay, now that that is off my chest, I am going to try to form whole, coherent sentences to express how much I loved this. I expected to like it, Villeneuve is super talented, and figured even if the plot fell a bit flat, visually it would still be gorgeous, right? Right, well, I got a story I enjoyed the heck out of and it was visually arresting to boot and Gosling… yes.

Back to trying for the coherent sentences… I loved the way this movie looked. The perfect dystopian future, and the colours used were awesome. The sound, too, is not to be underappreciated here as it was the perfect fit and just blended with everything and worked to build and maintain that heavy atmosphere. Gosling struts around all gorgeous, and delivers a very Drive-esque performance, and I liked it. He’s good at it. It was great to see Harrison Ford return, as it really ties the two movies together strongly.

I see this movie is getting a lot of praise and a lot of flak. Obviously I fall into the former camp. I was engaged throughout, and thought it was a good bit of writing that even people who have not seen the original movie will be able to follow this. The plot takes time to set up and play out, and while some people gripe that this makes the movie too long, I didn’t feel that. I was hooked throughout, watching both the story unfold as well as taking in that world that had been spun for us, simply amazing.

Blade Runner 2049 is carried by some solid performance. Gosling impressed me, as always, and Ford is Ford, which in my opinion works for this. Leto can’t really be overlooked, either, as his Niander Wallace is a right creep, and Robin Wright was fantastic as the hardened Lieutenant Joshi. I am not going to discuss every single character, just know that everyone contributed something to the story. I really enjoyed the story, too, as it was engaging and interesting. Sure, you can poke holes in the story, but I feel that it was presented quite well regardless and it flowed. It made sense to me, and the pacing was just right, so that works for me, personally.

I can wax lyrical about Blade Runner 2049 for quite some time, but I think I am going to wrap it up now. A delectable visual buffet with sounds that will draw you right in and some great performances, Blade Runner 2049 is a prime example of how to do a successful sequel to a classic movie, and is definitely something I am looking forward to seeing again, and not just for science.

Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

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“But we almost pulled it off despite what everybody thought. Worst part of it is they’re going to blame us for the whole thing. They can’t have people knowing the truth. We’re the patsies; the cover up. Don’t forget, we’re the bad guys.:
– Deadshot

SYNOPSIS: A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse. – via IMDB

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GRADE 6This movie is one of the films this year that got showered in hate. And a lot of it. I have finally seen it to form my very own opinion and, while I thought it was messy and a missed opportunity, it really was not the heinous film that it has been painted. There was quite a bit to like, but there was more to dislike, and that is quite the issue.

We know David Ayer has the goods – just look at Fury, if you want a quick, amazing example. He knows how to shoot a film, and weave a super engaging story. Suicide Squad did not do that, and it sucks, because there were moments in the film where you could almost see something brilliant hiding, something that could have broken free. I thought the film boasted some super sketchy effects, and it really just threw you out of the watching experience.

Let’s also look at the whole concept of the Enchantress. Why? I mean Amanda Waller creates the Suicide Squad, but in so doing creates the threat, and then her newly formed squad must end the threat? Come on. Let’s also not forget a group of psychopaths becoming besties in a matter of hours. As a psychology graduate, I had such issues with this. The music, too, was something that irritated me. Initially it was something I loved, great music choices, but ultimately it was something that grated on me because it felt like as many cool songs as possible were being squeezed in, and when the soundtrack becomes more important than the film, and overshadows what you are watching and pulls you out of the movie, you have done something wrong.

I gotta say though that the performances were pretty good. I thought Robbie and Smith worked wonders together, and were hands down the standouts of the film. One of my biggest issues with this? Jared Leto as the Joker. In the trailer I could already tell he wasn’t going to work for me, but I had no idea how terrible he was actually going to be. Every time he came on the screen, I felt that he was just killing the movie for me. Ugh.

Overall, the movie wanted to be something more than it was, and it was sad because you could see something awesome trying to escape the mess it eventually was. It didn’t break barriers tot he genre, and was quite predictable throughout. Not the worst watch in the world, and certainly not deserving of the hate, but it’s a decent, mindlessly entertaining watch.

 

Review: Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

 

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“Mr Woodroof, I’m afraid that you’re nothing more than a common drug dealer, so if you’ll excuse us…”
– Richard Barkley

In 1985 Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) is diagnosed with AIDS after getting shocked at his job. As an electrician and rodeo cowboy he refuses to believe the madness that he has thirty days to live. He is not homosexual and thus cannot be carrying such a heinous disease. Marching out he goes to do more research, and eventually connects the dots and recalls a prostitute he had unprotected sex with years ago. He is going to have to find a way to make things work. As though it is not bad enough that he has the news he has, it soon goes around and he is rejected by society, family and friends. It reaches as far as his job, where he is ultimately fired. The injustice burns him, and soon he also has nowhere to stay. More research leads Woodroof to the information on zidovudine (AZT), which is supposed to prolong the life of AIDS patients. He demands that Dr Eve Saks (Jennifer Garner) gives him some, and even offers to pay. She tells him it does not work like that. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only just approved it for human testing, and half the patients are getting the real thing and the other half are getting placebos, nobody knows.

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“Sometimes, I feel I’m fighting for a life that I just ain’t got the time to live. I want it all to mean something.” – Ron Woodroof

Refusing to accept that answer, he brokers a deal with a hospital staff member to trade cash for stolen AZT. Upon taking the AZT, Woodroof’s health worsens. This is not helped due to the fact of his cocaine use, and ultimately he ends up in the hospital again. His doctor, Dr Sevard (Denis O’Hare), demands to know where he is getting the illegal AZT. Woodroof refuses to share the information. While inside the hospital, he meets Rayon (Jared Leto), a transvestite and drug addict. He does not like Rayon, and treats her badly. Ultimately Woodroof goes out to Mexico to get more AZT and is instead treated by Dr Vass (Griffin Dunne), who tells him AZT is poisonous and prescribes ddC and peptide T, not approved in the US. Woodroof decides to use this to make money in the States and help other HIV-positive patients. He takes massive amounts back to the States with him and eventually gets Rayon on board with him to sell the drugs. Dr Saks is starting to notice negative effects from the AZT, and is told to let it go, it will not be discontinued. Woodroof is still alive, much longer than the doctors gave him credit for, so what Dr Vass gave him must be good.

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“None of those drugs have been approved by the FDA.” – Dr Eve Saks

Deciding ultimately that there is a more legit way to sell the drugs, Woodroof establishes the “Dallas Buyers Club”, where members pay $400-00 a month for their medication, as much as they need. The Club becomes so extremely. Rayon and Woodroof have come to an understanding, and Woodroof begins to respect her and understand her, and they develop a rather good friendship. After Woodroof lands up in hospital from a heart attack, Dr Sevard realises that all his AZT patients have moved over to the Dallas Buyers Club, and he is furious. Soon the FDA, too, gets involved with hassling Woodroof about his business and how he goes about it. Dr Saks and Woodroof establish a friendship when she sees that what he is doing is not a bad thing, and agrees that AZT is a problem. The more Woodroof works his Club, the more he learns about his disease as well as what is going on with it. The Club is starting to suffer at the hands of the FDA, and ultimately starts going bankrupt. Woodroof decides he will not let the FDA win.

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“The man with the most honey, attracts the most bees.” – Rayon

Will Woodroof and Saks be able to prove that AZT is dangerous? How long does Woodroof have before he finally succumbs to AIDS? How is he going to stand up against the FDA, which is harassing?

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“What? Hook me up to the morphine drip, let me fade on out? Nah. Sorry, lady, but I prefer to die with my boots on.” – Ron Woodroof

A 7.5/10 for Dallas Buyers Club. I know that is not what most were expecting, but there it is. I did enjoy the movie, it was very dramatic and well put together. Matthew McConaughey did a very good job portraying Ron Woodroof. I thoroughly enjoyed Jared Leto as Rayon. I heard so many good things about his role, and I must say that he did exceptionally well, and was the one character that I liked from the off. McConaughey did well in taking Woodroof from a totally unlikable tool to someone we rooted for, he made huge changes in his life. I am not sure how accurate the story that we watched is in comparison to the real deal, and I have also not read into it too much, but I must say that it kept me interested the whole way through. While not an awfully long movie (coming in at just under two hours), it felt really long, but not like I was wasting my time. I honestly feel that the characters carried this story far more than the story or plot development itself, which was extremely secondary in my opinion. I liked the way social issues were addressed in this movie, as well as how people can change and see things differently when something changes in their lives, it is excellent. There were bits that made me laugh and there were other scenes that made me angry. I liked the friendship that developed between Woodroof and Dr Saks, that was pretty cool, though I loved the friendship between Woodroof and Rayon. This was a solid film though and worth checking out.