Friday, October 14, 2016

Deepwater horizon (2016)

Yet another disaster movie based on true events! Deepwater Horizon is well-made and is worth your time - not sure about your money though! Comparing to the other disaster-movie-based-on-true-events movie that came out recently (i.e., Sully), Deepwater Horizon is the clear winner!

If you followed the news, you must know the story. Also being based on a true story, no one can question the chain of events! So what we can judge the movie on are characters and pacing.

The actors do a good job. Kurt Russell is amazing in his role as the site manager. You'd think Russell has been doing that job all his life! Deepwater Horizon cast also includes Mark Wahlberg, who stars as Mark Wahlberg on an oil rig! Well, Mark Wahlberg is always playing himself - whether he's scientist on a Transformer, a soldier, or a police detective!

The director of the movie (Peter Berg) is heavily influenced by Paul Greengrass (Jason Bourne). Almost every scene is filmed with a hand-held camera. It is a nice technique to use in action sequences as it helps audience immerse in the scene. But when two people are talking face-to-face about safety issues, shaking the camera does nothing but making you nauseous!

As someone who followed the actual events when it happened, I found the movie to be quite faithful to the reality. The pacing of the movie was pretty good - except for the last 15 minutes, where some of the characters where so annoying that I felt time had stopped.

In a season where there's a dearth of good movies, Deepwater Horizon is a decent option. I'd give it a 7.5/10.

Finding Dory (2016)

Finding Dory is an educational film for parents who have children with some learning disability. The movie tugs at your heart strings, but it's hard to forget it's not just an infomercial!

Riding on Ellen DeGeneres' celebrity status, Finding Dory keeps reminding the viewers that Ellen is a superstar. Particularly in the beginning of the movie, she keeps saying "Hi, I'm Dory!" with the exact same level of emotion (i.e., line delivery) as she would in an interview with another celebrity. There's no secret that the force behind this sequel was Ellen herself. But if you bear with her, after the 30-minute mark, she morphs into the character and delivers a heartwarming performance.

As a fan of the Fatman on Batman podcast, Marc Bernardin's story about how his autistic child was in love with the Dory character was repeating in my brain as I was watching Finding Dory. The movie is for sure a response to that community. It educates parents on how they should treat their children, and also encourages the said children to believe in themselves - just as "what Dory would do?".

The pacing is pretty good; the side-characters are funny (particularly the sea lions); and the visuals are amazing. As an educational video, it's a must see, especially for parents of autistic children. I'd give it a 7/10.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Masterminds (2016)

"Based on true events" is not necessarily a tag line that you would expect to see before a comedy. Masterminds is all stronger for it though!

Masterminds tells the story of the $17 million heist back in 1997. The movie is not filled with laugh-out-loud moments, but it still was very entertaining. I laughed quite a lot, not because of the story, but because I was a fan of most of the actors; Zach Galifianakis, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon have done amazing jobs on developing their characters. So if you're a fan of them, you'll appreciate the nuances in their performance. Audience members who are not familiar with these actors may have a harder time enjoying this movie. Well, the critics' ratings and box office sales are evidence that support my hunch!

Besides being a comedy with some thrills, Masterminds is a deep character-study. It depicts what happens when people are given opportunities beyond what they deserve. The movie's treatment of those characters was quite poignant.

Overall, Masterminds is an entertaining movie, and worth your time on a Sunday evening. I'd give it a 7.5/10.