Movie Reviews July 2015 part 1

I’ve been sitting on a lot of planes again, which gave me the opportunity to watch a bunch of movies, here is part one of the reviews:

Jupiter Ascending
Whilst the idea was remotely of interesting, (time being the most precious thing in the universe, rich people buying themselves time by “harvesting” the humans of “lower” planets and creating some sort of fountain of youth from their skin etc.) the idea was not new… It starts with “Logan’s Run”, where people have an expiring clock, various other flicks like “In Time” etc., etc. Aristocracy in space reminds of “Dune”, etc. etc. etc. Whilst with the first matrix movie the Wachowski brothers managed to create something interesting out of common SciFi themes, they did not manage to do this again with Jupiter Ascending. It just all bore the stamp of “seen it before” and that the damn passive lead-girl had to be rescued all the time was not a plus point either. The passive protagonist syndrome was huge in that movie, things happened to her all the time and she was reacting, not acting. The lavish design didn’t help one bit either. Yet again proof for the fact that special effects do not compensate for a sucky story. All in all the movie is a lessons learned in how not to do it. I’m glad I saw it on a plane (during a business trip) and didn’t have to pay money for seeing this movie.

Whiplash
Awesome. A must watch. A music teacher tries to push his students to excellence and maybe goes a bit too far. The brilliant acting of J.K. Simmons and also his young student Miles Teller made an already good story outstanding. As a hobby drummer I could also appreciate the drumming, which was bloody amazing and there was a lot of food for thought. Just how far, as a teacher, do you or can you go to push your students to excellence? Where is that fine line between tickling out the best in someone and making him or her excel and exceed or breaking that talent irreversibly. What does it take to be excellent in something? What drives people to perfection? This movie is a great character piece that leaves those questions for every movie goer to answer for him or herself. The finale was also highly impressive with the teacher trying to destroy the drummer but the drummer fights back. Great movie that deserves to become a permanent part of the private movie collection.

Grand Piano
Yawn. Nothing much else to say. Elijah Wood plays a grand pianist who performs on stage for the first time in five years after a burnout and he plays on the special piano of a fictitious maestro, composer and music teacher who built in a secrete key into his piano that the piano only spills out when a certain combination of notes are hit. A thief knows that and wants the pianist to play those notes to get the key. A rather complicated idea that might have had some potential, but the execution? The thief talks via phone to the pianist while he is on stage performing to a large audience and he texts and talks while playing horrendously difficult music. Hmmmmm…. I am learning piano at the moment and find that quite ridiculous. You do not have time to text and operate a phone while playing complicated sheet music… The acting was also not the best. Elijah just always makes that invariable distressed Frodo face. His wife was, sorry, unnecessary for the story. Another movie one does not need to see.

Premium Rush
This is a cool story about bicycle couriers in the chaotic and dangerous traffic of New York City, virtually risking their lives to bring important or not so important letters across town. The story revolves around a message that needs to get to Chinatown and has in its consequence that a Chinese immigrant lady can get her young son out of China. The letter involves a lot of money that a dirty cop wants to have and he pursues the biker in charge of delivery, a cool Joseph Gordon-Levitt whom I like more in the more movies I see him. Most of the movie is a chase, but it’s bicycle vs. cars and not your usual car chase plus it has some nice quirky biker characters, which are portrayed as a liberal subculture community. Towards the end it gets a bit longish and the movie could have been ten minutes shorter, but all in all a refreshingly different piece that you don’t see every day.

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