Pitch Perfect 2

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Rare is the sequel that betters the original film, and sadly ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ falls perfectly into this trap. I must first preface this by saying that the original ‘Pitch Perfect’, upon seeing it on New Year’s Eve 2012 it immediately became one of my favourite films of the year. While this was completely unexpected, I love that stupid film and was excited to hear that they were making a second.

As a result of that, I may have been looking forward to the sequel a tad too much and as a result it never could have lived up to my expectations. That being said, there are still some good moments in ‘Pitch Perfect 2’, but sadly not as many as in ‘Pitch Perfect’.

As someone that doesn’t necessarily watch these kinds of films, I can honestly say what kept me in the entire first viewing of both films was the songs and the a cappella nature of what we were seeing. Unfortunately, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ at times just piggy backed the story from the original film, almost beat for beat, much to the detriment of its audience. One can only hope that 2017’s ‘Pitch Perfect 3’ will be able to find a proper balance of following what has happened but giving us something new.

In the end, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ was an almost identical plot as ‘Pitch Perfect’ and as a result of the music not being quite on par with the original, the sequel felt like nothing more than a cash grab at times and as a result is my most disappointing film of 2015 so far.

As always, for all this and more insights, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers

Inside Out

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For those that truly know me, they know just how much I love the majority of films from Pixar. From all the way back to ‘Toy Story’ to recent films like ‘ Monsters University’, I am a fan of thirteen of the fourteen feature length films that Pixar have released to date. The downside to how they produce films is we can wind up with a year like 2014 where we don’t get a film from Pixar, but we do get two this year, and the first of those is ‘Inside Out’.

‘Inside Out’ spoke to me quite possibly like no film ever has before, and that is truly saying something. After we see films, my fiancée and I always ask each other if we enjoyed what we just saw, and when I was asked today, I looked at her with a tear in my eye and related how I’ve never really seen a film directed at me emotionally before.

Telling a story of how it is okay to be sad at times and now happy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week was interesting enough, but a story of how our emotions are actually individualized characters in our brains which work as a team to get us through our daily interactions in life is truly something to see.

After watching ‘Inside Out’ you will start to picture some of these emotions acting out during your day-to-day dealings which is quite humourous when you start to picture a red-faced Lewis Black yelling in your head. And this is what Pixar does best, that after you watch one of their films you will start to wonder if this is actually how things are.

Getting back to how ‘Inside Out’ actually spoke to me on a personal, emotional level, I will lead with this: at the age of seven, my family moved across Canada, from Calgary to Belleville, Ontario, in the process setting myself up for years of self-inflicted issues that I have never, ever truly dealt with. In ‘Inside Out’, Pixar sets up an eleven year old girl for a cross-U.S.A trip as her father moves for employment reasons.

Our emotions, which are our main characters, reactions to this and how it impacts the pre-teen girl they reside in is the main plot of this film but fully reached out to someone like myself who has gone through such a transition in life. The trick here though is that Pixar finally gives those of us who have never fully come to terms with this due to bottling things up to have a moment of self-reflection, and that is exactly what happened for me through the climax of the film and the subsequent car trip afterwards.

I have to thank Pixar for finally allowing me all of these years later to maybe finally coming to grips with one of the worst experiences of my life and realizing that, without it, I would not be here talking to each of you while having just enjoyed ‘Inside Out’ with my amazing fiancee and three wonderful sons. And I guess that is the whole point of this film.

I will end by saying this, ‘Inside Out’ is a bright, vibrant film that explores our societies recent change of outlook into emotions and even our mental health. It, as always with Pixar, is great for both children and adults, and I 100% recommend it to each and every single one of you.

As always, thanks for reading, and for more insights into not just film but life as well, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @kymayer. Cheers.

Interstellar

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During the past year, there have been many films that I chose to bypass seeing in the theatre, and I would have to say that the biggest of those was ‘Interstellar’. I will say this about the end result of that; I am glad that I passed on paying for a theatre ticket for it. To be completely honest, I found ‘Interstellar’ to be bland and, in the end, a science-fiction film that did not truly pique my interest.

I will give the film all the credit in the world for its visual effect. From a dying Earth to frozen landscapes and the universe in between, you can clearly see the budget that went towards that side of the film in full effect and ‘Interstellar’ benefits whole heartedly from this.

However, on the flip side of that is the sound editing. I had heard that the sound was not up to par in some theatrical visits of the film and I can say without a doubt that the editing and mixing, especially between the louder action sounds and the quieter talking scenes, did not mesh. At times I found myself missing key parts, and when you miss something or have to go back to listen to it again, it can take you completely out of the film.

The balancing act of this film however was a performance by Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey brought some real depth to the role of Joseph Cooper, and this is never more imminent than near the end of film in a scene with his daughter. I won’t go into a lot of detail to prevent a lot of spoilers, but I will say this, it tugged at my heart strings and was truly the one worthwhile part of the full film.

I really wanted to like ‘Interstellar’, but in the end I don’t feel it lives up to the hype surrounding it. As is much the case with films directed by Christopher Nolan, short of ‘Batman Begins’ I felt myself underwhelmed and wanting more.

If you are a fan of science fiction, I would say to give ‘Interstellar’ a chance, go in with an open mind and form your own opinion, but for myself, it felt like it tried to be too much science-fact instead of fiction.

Once again, sorry about the past year folks and thank you for welcoming me back. I will endeavour to put up reviews like this with some consistency moving forward once again.

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

Jurassic World

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Hey everyone, it has been around a year since I reviewed a movie, and for that, I am truly sorry. Life caught up with me for a bit, with a newborn, new job and what not cutting into my opportunities to see films in a theater. Yes, in that time I have still seen films, just not as much as I had been and I found it extremely difficult to use my time in this manner.

That being said though, I thought that with the new release of ‘Jurassic World’ that it would be a perfect time to get my feet wet again. Yes, I find the irony of being a huge Marvel Studios fan and bypassing two of their biggest releases in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, but in thinking about that I discovered a major reason why I am back now when I am: ‘Jurassic Park’ was my ‘Star Wars’ and a return to the island has excited me to return.

When ‘Jurassic Park’ was released in 1993, I was finishing up grade eight, heading into my first year of high school. I was on the verge of turning fourteen and was really starting to get into movies. I had also just finished reading the book from Michael Crichton, and I had always been huge into dinosaurs as a kid, so this really was lightning in a bottle for me.

‘Jurassic Park’ is one of the earliest films that I remember seeing in the theater, has been a multi-platform buy over the years and I even splurged on seeing in 3D two years ago because, natch, dinosaurs. Not only that, but it also helped revolutionize the kind of films you could make. There would be no ‘Avengers’ no, ‘Lord of the Rings’ without JP, and we should all be thankful that it exists.

Moving on to why ‘Jurassic World’ now has the biggest opening weekend in North American history takes a few things into account. Firstly, we haven’t had a ‘Jurassic’ film in eleven years, since the ill-fated and not nearly loved as much as the rest ‘Jurassic Park III’. Secondly, the red-hot Chris Pratt has become a true leading man that can pull in audiences with ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ and this film truly benefits from having him attached to it. Finally, rampaging dinosaurs truly never go out of style.

While it may not have really stuck its landing with critics, evidenced by it’s current 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, general audiences have not cared, which has resulted in an insane $209 million opening weekend which tops 2012’s ‘The Avengers’ for biggest weekend of all time in North America.

In the end, ‘Jurassic World’ is right up there in quality with ‘Jurassic Park’ as far as I am concerned. Director Colin Trevorrow paid a great homage to Steven Spielberg while also standing on his own in crafting a film that had great pacing, great mayhem and amazing visuals and the humour was well crafted and well timed. Truly, this film brought out my inner child again and was a exactly what I needed on the day that I saw it.

Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, various other humans and some great dinosaur mayhem, ‘Jurassic World’ goes down as my movie to watch so far for 2015, and that’s saying a lot as we have gotten both ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ and ‘Furious 7’ and both of those were pretty damned awesome as well.