Selasa, 17 Juni 2014

22 JUMP STREET Movie Review JUMP STREET (2014)

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Wyatt Russell, Jimmy Tatro, Amber Stevens, Nick Offerman, Peter Stromare

Most movies adapted from television shows rarely work, especially when a new cast and new characters are involved. Who would have thought that 21 Jump Street would have worked so well that a sequel would follow? Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back for another case as Jenko and Schmidt, respectively. The old church at 21 Jump Street that served as the police headquarters in the first film has been converted back to a church. How convenient for them that there is also a church across the street at 22 Jump Street that can now pose as the police headquarters.
Jenko and Schmidt are assigned their next case and this time it has them going under cover again as college students at MC State College. A new synthetic drug called WHYPHY is being passed around like candy, and one of the students dies of an overdose. The boys are given a picture of the girl getting the drug slipped to her, but the only identifiable feature of the dealer is a tattoo on his arm. Schmidt feels left out of their partnership after Jenko joins the football team and fraternity as fellow teammates Zook (Russell) and Rooster (Tatro) take him under their wing. Schmidt decides to pursue the case at a different angle by dating Maya (Stevens) who lives across the hallway from the victim. you are thinking that this plot sounds exactly like the first movie, but now they’re in college instead of high school, you are correct in your assessment. I was a bit worried when I first saw the trailer as it looked like a carbon copy of 21 Jump Street. In theory, this film should not work. Comedy sequels that completely rip off the jokes and plot of the first outing are typically insulting to the fans. Nick Offerman’s police chief has a not-so-subtle speech toward the guys describing how the police department was so happy with how the first task turned out that they want to send the boys out again on a similar case but with a bigger budget. This is exactly what studio executives pitch after a comedy makes the big bucks at the box office. They want the original cast to come back and make the same kind of movie again. The Hangover Part II is a prime example of why this is typically a horrible idea. That movie was a messy insult as it was the exact same movie as the first one. 22 Jump Street does that exact same thing, yet succeeds and surpasses expectations. Screenwriters Michael Ball, Oren Uziel, and Rodney Rothman have written about this exact commentary in their script. There are copious jokes and references as to how they are ripping off the first one. Even Mr. Tatum makes a reference to the premise of his movie White House Down at one point.
Tatum and Hill have this unique chemistry that completely works and is the reason why this rebooted franchise succeeds. Having two cops that are complete opposites is by no means a new concept, but I think part of the charm and humor is grounded in how well they play off each other. While it may have been funny having Jonah Hill paired up with Seth Rogen or James Franco, it would be a completely different kind of story and tone all together. Schmidt and Jenko are exaggerated stereotypes of the images people label under Hill and Tatum. Hill wrote the stories for the films, so I can assume he played into his persona a bit and made Tatum that good looking but dumb jock frat boy that Hollywood has probably labeled him at some point in his career. Ice Cube returns as Captain Dickson whose moments with Jonah Hill provide some of the best laughs in the movie. I’ll forgive him for making Ride Along. Dave Franco and Rob Riggle are back for cameos as prison inmates who offer some advice and help to Hill and Tatum. directing team of Christopher Miller and Phil Lord are the men behind The LEGO Movie and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. The LEGO Movie is another film of theirs that I would not have expected it to be as enjoyable as turned out to be. The laughs are pretty consistent throughout 22 Jump Street which was a surprise and a relief. It's hard not to laugh when Jonah Hill gets in way over his head wtih some of the more dangerous aspects of his job. The movie easily could have gone downhill fast. The comedy isn’t all the clever or original, yet it delivers. This is the baffling thing behind the movie. Everyone involved knows we’ve seen frat movies, spring break scenes, shoot-outs, buddy movies, terrible sequels, franchises, and they make fun of all of that along the way. I give them major credit for pulling this off so well. Make sure to stay through the credits, for a hilarious sequence that left the whole audience in stitches. I’m not sure what was funnier, the sequence or how my mother-in-law completely lost it because she was laughing so loudly.

Rabu, 04 Juni 2014

MALEFICENT Movie Review (2014)

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Sam Riley, Brenton Thwaites

We all have an idea of who Maleficent is from the tale of Sleeping Beauty. Disney has taken one of the most diabolical villains and put a fresh twist on a character we all thought we knew. Maleficent (Jolie) is a powerful fairy who lives in the trees of a magical kingdom called The Moors that borders the human kingdom. She has two horns and gigantic wings enabling her to fly all over the kingdom, and her lively spirit fits right in with the other mythical creatures around her. One fateful night, her wings are burned off which sets in motion a vengeful plot against the person that committed the act.

Through the help of her servant Diaval (Riley), Maleficent learns that the cruel act was committed by the new king (Copley) in order to become the heir to the throne. As an act of revenge for his betrayal, she decides to put a curse on his newborn daughter, Aurora, who on her sixteenth birthday will fall into a deep sleep after being pricked by a spinning wheel. A kiss from her one true love will be the only way to break the curse. Even though Aurora is raised by three pixies, Maleficent continues to keep an eye on her from afar. She may not be as evil as she is often portrayed to be as a maternal side of her starts to appear after the innocent Aurora (Fanning) grows up and could be the key to peace between the two kingdoms.
Maleficent is similar to previous Disney live action movies like Alice in Wonderland and Oz, The Great and Powerful where they reimagine a classic story in a CGI heavy movie. Even though the trailers looked pretty promising I went in with a bit of hesitation as I didn’t want to be burned like I was with both of those wretched films. The naysayers should have no fear as Maleficent is leagues better than both of those, but it doesn’t take much. I wasn’t as bothered by the blatant use of special effects versus realistic sets and effects. The dark and gothic tones seem to work better with the CGI than the bright and colorful palette those other movies used. I still rolled my eyes at some of the Moor creatures and wish they would have treated the pixies a bit differently. They are a weird mix of animation while keeping the faces of Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Frankly, I would have been fine with them attempting the Julia Roberts in Hook approach. Jolie is the reason to see the movie. How can you NOT be Team Angelina? She brings this heightened, wickedly fun performance to Maleficent. She has a nice blend of being a bit scary and menacing, while not being too cartoonish or over the top. You can tell she is having a hell of a good time playing this character which makes the movie all the more enjoyable. The designers pulled out all the stops to give Maleficent the royal treatment as it is quite evident that so much care and attention is put into the character. The costume design by Anna B. Sheppard (Inglourious Basterds, Captain America: The First Avenger) is exquisite with its sharp and hard structure. The hair and make-up design compliments that quite well and still fits the look of the Disney villain we know and love. The lighting and shadow effects easily pull you into the mystery surrounding her. There is even an ode to the classic Maleficent silhouette.
The story is a bit simple, and I wish more attention would have been made to character development. It gets a bit lost as the attention seems to all go toward Maleficent and the special effects that were needed. I understand she is the title character, but I wish some of the other characters were written with the same juicy material Maleficent was given. It’s almost as if they didn’t want to pull any focus away from her at any point during the movie. Many of the characters like Sharlto Copley’s King and Brenton Thwaites’ Prince Phillip are pretty plain and generic. Elle Fanning brings that sweet, innocent, and angelic spirit about her that she always has to Princess Aurora. Yes, that is Vivienne Jolie-Pitt who has a cameo as the younger Aurora. There is no denying that she looks exactly like Brad and Angelina. Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville are all talented actresses, but I wish screenwriter Linda Woolverton would have gone even further with the ditzy and klutzy aspects about the pixies to make them the scene-stealers they should be. is a marked improvement over some of those other CGI heavy Disney live action movies, but it is still missing the mark at times. I recommend seeing the movie in 2D as the copious use of CGI special effects may be ruined with gimmicky post-production 3D crap. If it wasn’t for Angelina Jolie, this would have been another bloated CGI mess. I can’t imagine another actress in this role. A fair warning that the darker tones and approach will be too scary for little kids. It’s not as kid friendly as other live action Disney movies.
Director: Robert Stromberg