Elysium

elysium‘Elysium’ is the last gasp for the Sci-Fi genre at the 2013 box office, and while an ambitious first foray into Hollywood for ‘District 9’ director Neill Blomkamp, this film once again proves that Hollywood seems to come up a little short when it comes to giving audiences great Sci-Fi in the theatre.

While ‘District 9’ was a surprise hit in August of 2009 and went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, ‘Elysium’ tries to be bigger and falls short, and I think that falls onto the use of CGI and the Hollywood-ization of what could have been a great story.

As I watch more and more films, and am becoming more aware of what is going on in them, little things begin to stand out to me, and that has never really been more prevalent than in ‘Elysium’ when they show a scene of Matt Damon’s character’s ankle bracelet, and we see that he is wearing what appears to be a brand new pair of black Adidas running shoes.  How, in a dystopian environment 140 years into the future, a pair of Adidas running shoes still exists is beyond me, but I will tell you, this part deeply upset me and has dampened the film as well.

‘Elysium’ tries hard to be a more action oriented film but also retain the thought provoking nature of ‘District 9’ with the health care story that it carries, but it struggles to combine the two into one coherent arc.

In the end, I don’t see ‘Elysium’ matching what ‘District 9’ did at the box office, and that falls down to this movie trying to be big and too ambitious, much the trait of Hollywood today, instead of relying more on story telling and featuring something new.  In a summer of huge hit and miss films, Sony now has four $100 million plus misses on the books, and that is something that someone should take a good, long look at.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

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We’re The Millers

The 2013 summer film season has seemed a little light on comedies, but the second weekend of August sees the release of ‘We’re the Millers’ starring Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston in leading roles.

While not ground breaking in any way shape or form, ‘We’re the Millers’ managed to break the monotony of too many family friendly animated films and not good enough sci-fi fare that we have seen so far this summer by giving even cheap laughs were other films have failed so far.

The one thing that I have noticed more than anything lately in films is the fact that they are trying really hard to shove stories that make no sense down our throats, and ‘We’re the Millers’ gets caught in that trap big time, but despite that, the laughs and the overall plot are more than enough to make up for it.

Once again, this is a film that is worth a watch, but not necessarily in the theatre.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

2 Guns

2gunsIn a summer that has seen some large, tent-pole style films flounder at the box office, and some surprise hits from the comedy and horror genres, it has become a little more difficult to know what to expect when you go to the theatre to watch a film.  With that in mind, a film that could easily become a sleeper hit of 2013 is ‘2 Guns’ featuring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg.

During the summer blockbuster season, a lot of movies strive to find a good balance of action and comedy, and sadly, during the 2013 season, there have been too many movies that have failed to find that formula, but ‘2 Guns’ bucks that trend in what may be one of the better films of the summer.

This film is well within the wheelhouses of both Washington and Wahlberg, as neither is a stranger to this kind of film or achieving success in action-comedies, and that is definitely on display in ‘2 Guns’.

‘2 Guns’ proves that you can still make an enjoyable film with a smaller budget, even if you use star names. While some of the acting seemed a little out of place at times, thankfully neither Washington nor Wahlberg exhibited those traits, so the overall story of the film did not suffer.

While ‘2 Guns’ will not win any major awards come awards season in early 2014, it is one of the better action movies so far in 2013 and should be viewed just as such.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

The Smurfs 2

smurfs2Back in the summer of 2011, ‘The Smurfs’ came to life on the big screen in an animated/live action CGI film that featured an introduction to the long running characters that have appeared in comics, cartoons and animated films in the past.

A bit of a surprise hit considering its late-July/early-August opening, ‘The Smurfs’ did enough to warrant plans for a sequel from Sony Animation.  That sequel has hit and while it tries to honour the history of the characters by expanding on the back story of Smurfette, ‘The Smurfs 2’ is falling prey to the same over saturated family film market that hurt ‘Turbo’ in the middle of July as well.

Taking on a more international flavour, with the main setting of the film shifting from New York to Paris, ‘The Smurfs 2’ also shifted to an extended family style story line, one that definitely hit close to home for myself and my family.

The laughs were definitely still there, as evidenced by the consistent chuckles from my two young sons during the course of the film, especially my youngest son who is a huge fan of The Smurfs.  Mixing emotional tones at times, ‘The Smurfs 2’ managed to keep all four members of our family entertained through out the course of the film and that was quite interesting.

A sequel that didn’t change much but still generated enough family laughs to warrant itself, ‘The Smurfs 2’ is a fine film that is hurt by the over saturated family film market of the 2013 summer.  That being said, if you have kids that love The Smurfs, do yourself a favour and take them to see ‘The Smurfs 2’.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.

Turbo

turboThe summer of 2013 is going to become known as the summer of over saturation of family friendly films, and ‘Turbo’ is the third release to fall under that classification.  Joining ‘Monsters University’ and ‘Despicable Me 2’, ‘Turbo’ is aimed directly at young children, and some families may be exhausted after having releases every couple of weeks to start the summer.

The visuals for ‘Turbo’ are quite astounding, especially the scenes that are set at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Having watched many an Indianapolis 500 in my years, the computer generated version of both the track and the race looked fantastic.

As for the actual film itself, it was squarely aimed at children.  Taking my two young boys and listening to them laugh consistently throughout ‘Turbo’ more than made up for a real lack of sly adult humour that is usually put into animated films in this day and age.

Visually, ‘Turbo’ is one of the best looking animated films in years, but a weaker story that is aimed directly at children involving unknown characters in a summer full of established, well known and loved characters, will mean that ‘Turbo’ will require a strong life on video to prove its worth.  If you have young children, I definitely recommend ‘Turbo’, and if you have an oppourtunity to see it on a half price matinee, take advantage of it.

For all this and more, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer.  Cheers.